By Prisca Sam-Duru
The number of plays staged across the country, especially in Lagos State in recent times, is an eloquent testimony that theatre is finally bouncing back to its glorious position.
It was therefore in a bid to intensify efforts geared towards reviving the theatre-going culture of Nigerians that Eroz theatre opened to the public last weekend at Eroz Place Borokini Dada, Aga, Ikorodu, with the staging of ‘Bending and Bonding’.
Designed in such a manner that keeps this fresh oil on theatre glowing, plays with high capability to affect people’s lives positively, will be staged at 6 pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, beginning from March 2020.
Written by Paul Ugbede and directed by Babs Ademoye, ‘Bending and Bonding’ produced by Austin Awulonu, parades array of highly talented artistes including former Big Brother Naija Housemate, Mr OffiongEdet Anthony, popularly known as ‘Thin Tall Tony’ as Pastor Chike Oluwa, Kelvin Alozie Dede as Dele, Mary Abishai Akam as Itoro, Irene Chiadika as Aunty Kike and Edna Konwea as Aunty Amaka.
The five-man cast play, ‘Bending and Bonding’ is a hilarious drama, a satire of the battles couples go through in marriage and how they try to solve them. Itoro and Dele are going through a marriage crisis. For Itoro, their ‘grace to grass’ lifestyle, engineered by Dele’s reckless economic lifestyle must stop if the marriage must work. To ensure his marriage doesn’t hit the rocks, Dele is determined to put behind him, his past mistakes by disappointingly, venturing into the same path that would definitely see history repeating itself. While Dele’s wife Itoro is lured into joining a women liberation group, she is misadvised by her big aunties to divorce her husband. As the scenes unfold, the couple tries to find a solution to their marriage and the solutions came – through two very unlikely and unpredictable means.
The side-splitting action-packed play highlights issues which include suicide, sex, finance, religion and infidelity. Beautiful scripting by Paul Ugbede with amazing acting, make the spellbinding performance worthy of being the opening play of the first theatre in Ikorodu. It was hard to pinpoint the actor who was on fire on stage but I’m not sure many have seen Tin Tall Tony in such an impressive performance before. Mary and Kelvin were a perfect match; there awesome acting was full of energy and passion thus, believable. The effects were also well coordinated. For instance, As Itoro dashes forward to kill a rat, the prop saw the audience impulsively jumping up to escape forgetting it was a mere effect.
Speaking shortly after the maiden performance on Friday, February 6, 2020,
Thin Tall Tony, said he was excited to be part of the very hilarious play adding that whatever we saw on stage was opposite of his normal self. “The play, ‘Bending and Bonding’, is one of a kind. It’s very interesting and it’s a simple play that emphasises the need for there to be a lot of communication among couples. As families sometimes, we assume a lot. If there is a situation in the family, we need to talk about it and clear our differences, and we should be able to do that as early as possible before things get out of hand. In other words, if we detect that there is a problem, communication is key.”
Eroz Theatre is an opportunity for us also to bring elites here in Ikorodu to come out and experience theatre. Most of us have worked with well-known production houses on the Island in Lagos and outside as well but a lot of people leave here and go to the Island, pay money to watch plays when there are many of the talented artists residing here in Ikorodu. So, coming up with this initiative to give people in Ikorodu better run for their money and class too, I am really excited about it.” He added.
Also, the Producer of the play, Austin Awulonu said the purpose of taking theatre to Ikorodu was to contribute to keeping theatre alive so as to contribute to the economy as well as encourage artists. He expressed satisfaction with the high level of professionalism exhibited by the cast while commending the Playwright, Paul Ugbede for such astounding script.