By Enock Etimighan
The Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, was the Guest Playwright at the Korean Cultural Centre in Abuja at the second edition of Play Reading Party, organized by Arojah Concepts and Korean Cultural Centre last week .
The Play Reading Party is an initiative that selects a play and hosts the playwright to a reading and interactive session based on the themes/subject matters of the play. The January 2011 edition featured Barclays Ayakoroma’s, Dance on His Grave.
In his welcome address, Mr. Suh Jeong Sun, the Director, Korean Cultural Centre, Abuja, Nigeria, observed that the second Play Reading Party was the first major event the Centre was hosting this year. He informed participants that the first edition was organized on November 6, 2010, by the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and was supported by the Centre, but that the second edition, which featured Barclays Ayakoroma’s Dance on his Grave, was sponsored by the Korean Cultural Centre and Arojah Concepts, an Abuja based Theatre Company.
The event opened with a poetry reading from Ko Un, a famous South Korean Poet, who came so close to winning the Nobel Prize in Literature last year. The first, “Evening,” was read by Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma, while two other readings, taken intermittently, were by Chukwu Ugochi Mary “Seosura, Again” and the last by Adesewo Fayamanbay, the Assistant Secretary-General of the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP).
As a prelude to the interactive session with the playwright/guest, Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma, on his play Dance On His Grave, three scenes of the play were unfolded at the event which featured ace actor Francis Duru as Olotu and Nita Byack George as Alaere, among other respected Artistes.
In Dance on His Grave, the women of Toru-Ama decide to take their rightful place. They drive home their point through ‘the weapon of stubbornness.’ The men think they could nip the revolt in the bud by flogging sense into the heads of the women but failed.
In his remarks, Ayakoroma thanked the organizers and most especially the artistes who interpreted the play to the audience, adding that he was motivated to write the play amongst other things after witnessing an event the Rivers State Women In Nigeria (WIN) organized in Port Harcourt to commemorate the International Women’s Day, 1988.
Reacting to some of the issues raised during the interactive session, and in particular Mr. Kabura Zakama’s question whether Ayakoroma writes for “Art for art sake?, Dr. Ayakoroma said his style and approach to tragedy in Dance on His Grave, comes with “a message that comes in light and in-fun mood,” stressing that having raised vital issues, it is left for the society to see whether the play has a message.
Expectedly, observations and contributions were made as the event had in session notable scholars and Theatre Practitioners like: Prof. Catherine Acholonu, Alhaji Yussuf Abdallah Usman, D-G, National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Dr. Seyi Adigun, the Directors of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), members of the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), members of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Nollywood, Arojah Theatre, Korean Cultural Centre, and of course, members of government and private Media and Theatre organizations.