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Ajai-Lycett, Sotimirin explore theatrical notion of belonging

By JAPHET ALAKAM

IT is going to be a big treat as Live Theatre on Sunday, an avant-garde theatre project committed to the projection and presentation of spectacular stage plays on topical issues is set to treat theatre lovers in and around Lagos with the maiden edition of her Easter special tagged Belong.

The stage drama which will feature some of the best actors and actresses in the country, is written by Bola Agbaje, UK based Nigerian playwright and winner of the 2008 Laurence Olivier Award, directed by Tosan Ugbeye  and  produced by Oluwanishola Adenugba.

*A scene from the play when it was performed at the Royal Courts London
*A scene from the play when it was performed at the Royal Courts London

Belong which is described as the ideal Easter treat for theatre lovers will be showcased for three days; April 18-20, at the Federal Palace Hotel, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island by 2pm, 5pm and 7pm respectively. I the drama, Agbaje confronts Nigerian politics as well as racial identity.

Racial identity

It is a provocative, lively piece that will enliven the minds of its audience.

In the play which was first performed in Royal Park Theartre, London in 2012, the playwright draws on her Nigerian heritage in a satire about identity, politics, love, loyalty and the need to come home and contribute to the development of the country. It is a powerful agent to provoke social change, raise public awareness about some of the burdens the society has placed on its citizens.

Audiences will surely be treated to the diverse antics of a rich dramatic presentation featuring some of Nigeria’s finest thespians and celebrities including Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Bimbo Akintola, Tunji Sotimirin, Toyin Oshinnaike, OC Ukeje, Dolapo Oni,Opeyemi Dada and Emeka Nwachukwu.

The drama starts out in the London with Kayode (Toyin Oshinnaike) and Rita (Dolapo Oni).

Belong’s hero, Kayode, is an Anglicised Nigerian and aspiring Westminster MP who has apparently caused a ruckus in an election by his condescension towards the black community and vilification of his black opponent. Leaving his boutique-owning wife behind, he escapes the row by going home to his wealthy Nigerian mother only to find himself embroiled in domestic politics.

His mother has taken under her wing a young idealist who is also the protege of a corrupt chief who virtually runs the local community; when Kayode offends the chief and grasps the extent of his power, he decides to make a stand by returning to his Nigerian roots.

What is exciting is that playwright offers viewers multiple perspectives on the theme of belonging. Kayode’s wife Rita, despite her Nigerian grandparents, sees herself as unequivocally British. Her friend Fola, on the other hand, views Nigeria as a land of opportunity and scathingly says of Britain that “only white people belong in this country”. Meanwhile, Kayode is torn between his British life and his belief that only in Nigeria can he make a difference by opposing local political corruption.

The 75 minute-long piece tells of the challenges of being a diasporian, deals with love, and explores the theme of gained and missed opportunities. Furthermore, it questions the notions of identity as many people go through life questioning where they truly Belong.

Belong is supported by EbonyLife TV, MTN, Mansard Insurance, Myne Whitman Writes, Romancemeetslife, 96.9 Cool FM, 95.1 Wazobia FM, 99.3 Nigeria Info, Y!Naija, Timeless Magazine, Bella Naija, 99.9 Beat FM, 97.3 Classic FM, Maestro Media, City People Magazine, Entertainment Express, Maestro Media, OnoBello.com, eStar TV, RealstarTV on Startimes, etc.


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