By Chris Onuoha
House of Oduduwa and Rejuvenee, in collaboration with Bolanle Austen-Peters Production, are starting off Queen Moremi the Musical, on December 2 in Lagos.
One of the many superlatives that are bound to arrive in discussions of Queen Moremi is the costume works the cast are adorned with in Ile-Ife’s native glam from the 12th century.
The artistry in the costumes is on display in an array of new character posters that show off the beautiful culture of the YORUBA in general. Queen Moremi’s costume is famously made from the royal kingdom of Ile-Ife.
Movie star, Omotola Jalade-Ekehinde, explained, “Throughout my journey rehearsing the role ‘Queen Moremi’, I experienced a glimpse of the torment she encountered when torn between neglecting her vow or sacrificing her only child”.
Another screen queen, Lala, who plays the character ‘Esiri’, the river goddess, chose ‘Ela Olurogbo’, Queen Moremi’s only son, as thanksgiving sacrifice for their successful defeat against the Rafia enemies.
Bamike Olawunmi (Bambam), a fast rising actress in the African movie scene recognized for her stellar performance in Child of the World, a documentary that lends its voice against societal abuse of the girl-child, makes her debut in theater.
Deyemi Okanlawon, playing the role of Obalufen, said being called to be part of ‘Moremi the Musical’ is amazing.
“The role I am playing is a strategic one because Obalufen is a strong character and very aggressive. He had a warrior persona. I think it is a wonderful experience because what the film does is that it gives you that special technique that you will not get on stage. On stage drama, you get different vibrant colours”, he added.
Theatre producer & director, Bolanle Austen-Peters, stated, “Selecting the cast to feature in Queen Moremi the Musical was quite delicate, fitting each character thoroughly was an ordeal as this isn’t fiction but the life story of a queen warrior”.
Ambassador to the House of Oduduwa Foundation, Princess Aderonke Ademiluyi, on her part, said, “Queen Moremi is a global representation of the present day queen warrior. Being a queen was never only to be behind the scenes, but also getting in the forefront of solving mystery battles which is pretty remarkable and we are not going to shy away from that.”
Other casts giving the historic stage drama weight are Femi Branch who plays Olugbo; Bimbo Manuel, Ooni Obawirin; and Rotimi Adelegan playing the role of Oranmiyan.
The musical drama is another milestone on the heroine and a huge effort invested in the global promotion of the Yoruba cultural heritage by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi.
The stage play is an adaptation from the heroic acts of Queen Moremi Ajasoro. She applied wisdom and bravery to defeat the raffia cladded firece Igbo men who tormented Ife people for so long. It will be showing at the Terrakulture theatre, Victoria Island from December 21 to January 2, 2019.
Meanwhile, the finalists of the Queen Moremi Beauty Pageant have started camp grooming before the finals.
The young ladies, who initially exhibited naivety, have brazed for the tough task ahead. Various roles to equip them with understanding of the cultural values of the land are handled by seasoned cultural experts at the camp currently going on at Ile-Ife. Within the two weeks’ camp experience, there will be evictions and final selection of qualified candidates who will be in Ogun State for the finals. They will be hosted by the wife of Ogun State governor, Mrs Olufunso Amosun, who becomes the model of Queen Moremi Ajasoro as pronounced by the Ooni.