The Arts

April 27, 2019

ASA was born to awaken the sleeping theatre — Agoma

ASA was born to awaken the sleeping theatre — Agoma

By Emmanuel Elebeke

The atmosphere at The New M & M Event Centre, beside Nicon Luxury Hotel, Abuja on Easter Monday was charged and full of performance by some popular Nigerian solo artists.

It was a festival of solo performance tagged Africa Solo Awards, ASA, organised by an art enthusiast, Awayitoma Agoma, a theatre Art lecturer at University of Abuja.

The event featured special performances such as: Molue (Classic) by Tunji Sitimirin; The Prime Minister’s Son by Greg Mbajiorgu; Karenas Cross (first female Solo in Africa) by Benedict Binebal; the best of stand-up comedy, Spoken words, Storytelling, Music and Dance by Awaritoma Agoma.

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Also featured at the show were the Solo awards which had Tunji Somitirin, Greg Mbajiorgu, Alibaba, Benedict Binebai and Dike Chukwumerije as recipients for their outstanding display in the solo world. Late Funsho Alabi (aka, King of Solo) acting and Mohammed Danjuma were also honoured posthumously at the event.

Speaking on the concept, the coordinator of the festival, Awayitoma Agoma said the idea came as a response to revive the sleeping theatre which had not been acknowledged and celebrated as it should in the Nigerian art industry.

With the solo performance re-enacted, he expressed optimism that the theatre would take its rightful place in the art industry as itself does not need too much publicity with the kind of performances.

He said: “it is a festival of solo performance, performance by one person. We noticed that the theatre that has been sleeping had this kind of spectacular performance and it has not been acknowledged, recognised or celebrated.

“It was once muted that we should be able to project the solo form and see how we can use it to support the rebirth of the sleeping theatre. With the solo form, we believe the theatre itself does not need too much publicity with this kind of performances we have seen today from Tunji Sotimirin, Greg Mbajiogu, and Benedict Binary.”

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Agoma who described the solo form as high economical and a minimal theatre, said, “theatre is for one, who can move out any time and perform anywhere, there is space enough from carpet. So, we believe that that one man actor does not need the appurtenances, that load a theatre craves for in elaborate lightening, costume, sound.

“That one man up there can be able to conjure that image he wants his audience to see  in his performance and I believe everybody should be able to let that happen and make sure that the solo actor is given prominence in the business theatre all over the nation.

“The performance is quite economical, it is unlike  convention drama with  20 to 30 casts, elaborate sound, consumes, scenery, all these we  do not see in solo performance.”