The Head, Academics of the Training School, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Dipo Kalejaiye has stressed that drama is a mirror of reality and the actor needs to transport his viewers from the point of illusion on stage onto a state of reality in the larger society.
Kalejaiye made this remark recently at the Lecture Hall 2 of the NICO Training School Complex, National Theatre Annex, Lagos, during a practical session on the course, Nigerian Cultural Industries, where three of his plays were dramatized by the Diploma students.
The objective of the event, according to the erudite lecturer, was to make students see and feel the expectations and frustrations of drama, and commended their performance as they dislayed mastery of their lines.
The first play, titled, “The Conversion,” depicted the cultural dilemma of Chief Elemo, who, on conversion from traditional religion to Christianity, marries a literate and younger second wife that doubles as his Personal Assistant/Bible Teacher.
However, with time, the new wife exhibits her intolerance and inordinate ambition to become the only wife, exhibiting lack of respect for elders, as she even slaps the first wife, who happens to be old enough to be her mother.
At the end of the day, these shocking attitudes identified with the new religion give Chief Elemo food for thought and a rethink of what cultural values to hold on to as relevant to his immediate society.
The second play, “Simbi,” was adapted from Yoruba folklore about a beautiful damsel, Simbi, who prefers to blindly love a stranger instead of marrying the prince and other desirable men from her kind; but she discovers, too late, in the course of her cultural misadventure, that all that glitters is not gold.
The third play, “Deer Woman of Owo,” delves on the importance of guarding priceless cultural values, which can be lost forever if not carefully protected. It is the story of a woman deeply loved by an Owo king because of her good behaviour; but she was lost to the jealousy of the two other Oloris – the palace wives of the king.
Commenting of the third play, “Deer Woman of Owo,” Festival Arts Specialist and Lecturer, Mr. Law Ezeh, stated that an annual festival, called, the Igogo Festival, is still held in Owo kingdom in honour of the departed Deer Queen of Owo till date.
There is no gainsaying that, good performance and excellent delivery of the messages behind the dramas by the highly motivated students, adorned with colourful costumes, left in the audience deep and positive impressions about the importance of Nigerian cultural values.
The theatre experience during the Lectures/Drama Session, which students have tagged: “September Acts to Remember,” was indeed a slice of real life.
NICO Training School