The pan-Nigerian Poetry Festival which explores the theme, â€œPoetry, Laughter, Arts and Youâ€Â acronymed â€œP.L.A.Yâ€ has finally secured the goodwill of GTBank as sole-sponsor.
In this connection, the Project Producer and Artistic Director, Ben Tomoloju, has been contracted to stage the event on Thursday and Friday, October 29 and 30, 2009Â at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Plans for this festival kicked off nearly a year ago based on the contention that poetry as a form of art deserves to recapture its essence as a performance medium. In the study of Oral Literature, for instance, the â€œoral-momentâ€ of the traditional poet – griot or bard- is a major feature of study and his or her characteristic dependency on a retinue of singers, dancers and drummers shows the exciting interface between poetry and theatre.
Illustrating with homely examples, the producer, Ben Tomoloju, draws attention to the acts of the late Mamman Shata and horse-riding Hajiya Lolo Bida who were traditional poets in their own rights, but celebrated their poetry with musical accompaniment.
This tradition is particularly robust in the Yoruba Ijala, the huntersâ€™ play, which explores quite a wide range of themes across praise-chants, naming, wedding, age-group and burial ceremonies and in diverse forms; the comics, the tragic and the satirical.
Among contemporary Nigerian poets, some leading lights such as Odia Ofeimun and Niyi Osundare have demonstrated a significant knack for performance poetry. They usually read, recite or chant to the accompaniment of songs and music as a re-affirmation of the interconnectedness of these artistic genres.
AmongÂ the new generation poets, poet-journalist, Akeem Lasisi, is quite outstanding. His poetry is not only inspired by traditional Yoruba poetry, but also has evolved a metalanguage for its stage realization.
These and many other juicy enactments which also incorporate the peculiar acts of Folu Agoi, Dagga Tolar, Iquo Eke, Sage â€œHas.sonâ€ and peculiar rap artistes are the offering at P.L.A.Y 2009.
According to Tomoloju, all participating artistes have been duly contacted and a number of them from the Nefretiti Group, Crown Troupe and Solar Band are now working at the Artsville Theatre Camp, Jakande Estate Bungalows, Ejigbo, Lagos. The main presentation of the festival is Eddie Aderinokunâ€™s â€œMeridian Hourâ€ while a special segment will be dedicated to Mabel Segun, the matriarch of Childrenâ€™s Literature.