Now you walk into the darkened auditorium of the University of Lagos and wonder why you did not stage your just concluded ‘Isale Eko’ play in this beautiful hall. The last time I found myself in its bowels was when I got invited by the Professor who diagnosed Kanu Nwankwo’s heart problem who had invited me to come listen to her inaugural lecture. She had taken a portion of my first book as part of her lecture and then like they are meant to do, she took permission from me to use it and wanted me to come listen.
This hall was beautiful, well apportioned with wonderful acoustics. But will the crazy island people come to Akoka for a play? I doubt; that dream died there. It was Gbubemi who invited me, the short guy who remains one of my closest friends. I have never seen him on stage and I felt it was a duty to come and laugh.
His Book club – I used to be a member but do not know what happened sha. I was putting up Wole Oguntokun’s play – the Anatomy of a woman. A script which attempted to explore the deep crevices and complexities that make up a woman, throwing up her choices and seeking the assistance of the audience in seeking the true path towards fulfillment. If you ask me, the journey will always end in futility because even the women themselves do not have a clue as to what they want.
Well, the play started and immediately the flaws jumped at me. The positioning was poor, the delivery was subliminal and the costumes were run off the mill. But as the play unfolded, I suddenly remembered that these were not professionals but amateurs who wanted to have fun but still sending a message as they did. These were committed and really strong Nigerians who still had the presence of mind to make this huge sacrifice of bringing reading back to our clime. Once this realisation hit me, I relaxed and began to better enjoy the experience.
Titi stood out. She was tall, elegant and commanding. She was beautiful, her eyes staring straight into my lust filled heart. Her chest heaving with the sensuous movements that could only mesmerize a hedonistic fool who could only drool and not touch. Her failings on stage drowned by her sweet carriage. She had the regal composure and grabbed the spotlight with the ease of hot knife piercing through a cowardly morsel of butter. She was my queen that night as she turned her colleagues into clay footed gargoyles whining at her feet.
The story did not matter, the stutter did not matter, the essence of the story flew out of the window and all I could see was her smooth skin and illuminous hair seating on her frail head like a gilded crown. She dwarfed them all and all I could see was Gbubemi, Mash all paying homage to royalty a princess from the Akoka Lagoon.
Her stage boyfriend was unforgivable. He should have been behind the stage handling the props. He was flat and I am sure a nice guy but the stage was not for him. I leave him; he would soon be my friend so I pity him. Gbubemi was also a revelation and if Titi was not on stage, would have been the star. His costumes were perfect, his casting was sweet and his delivery was on point. He even got the Yoruba, semi-literate accent on point. He was a marvel.
Adebishe directed this play. He did well. I loved the angle he came from in telling us his story and his casting was almost perfect save for the boyfriend and Mash who most time looked like he should be watching the world cup instead of being on stage.
On the whole, it was a beautiful experience even with the glitches it offered the audience a progression from the little skits from the children up to the Unilag Creative Arts department skit to the matinee of the day which unfolded Titi.
Well-done guys, don’t mind me, I remain proud of you guys, na Gbubemi no gree give me Titi number, that’s why I yab una small. Teheeeee.