With Wale Ogunyemi’s classic, Langbodo, ready for production to mark the Democracy Day 2011 ceremony of the President-elect and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Nigerians are reminded that for the country’s developmental efforts to be sustained, unity must be attained.
The Artistic Director, Professor Bakare Ojo Rasaki, who stated this when the Executive Secretary of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma, visited the rehearsal venue at Cyprian Ekwensi Cultural Centre, Area 10, Garki, Abuja, noted that the choice of the play was informed by its striking themes.
Professor Rasaki, who is the Director-General of Abuja Carnival and the Head, Department of Theatre & Media Arts, University of Abuja, said given its thematic relevance, the play being produced at the instance of Abuja Royal Theatre, is appropriate to usher President Goodluck Jonathan to the position he won with a landslide victory at the just concluded April 16, 2011 Presidential Elections.
Professor Rasaki, who is a dance specialist, said: “Wale Ogunyemi’s Langbodo is a play loaded with striking messages that are evergreen. Nigeria must be united for us to achieve sustainable development. Abuja Royal Theatre is determined to make that statement. The Inauguration Ceremony of President Goodluck Jonathan is a good time to remind Nigerians of this.’’
Langbodo adapted from Wole Soyinka’s The Forest of a Thousand Demons, which is itself the translation of D. O. Fagunwa’s Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole, dramatizes the story of seven powerful hunters. They embark on a mission to Mountain Langbodo to get an item that is of great importance to their society.
The risk involved in the adventure brought them – Imodoye, Akara Ogun, Kako, Olohun Iyo, Elegbede, and Efoye – face to face with king of birds, Ogongo and Agbako, terrifying creatures, yet they were not demoralized in the selfless service to their people. They were sent by their king, an errand they never objected, because of their patriotic spirit. Other themes in the play include altruism, adventurism, fearlessness, and so on.
As a result of its relevance, Langbodo, rich in total theatre, replete with dance ensemble, music and dramatic effects, has made appearances in many national events. It is also embellished with humour, suspense, surprise, spectacles and interesting characters. It was the play that was staged in the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture FESTAC 1977 that took place in Nigeria. Then, the play was directed by Professor Dapo Adelugba, a doyen of Nigerian theatre, and the production won the gold prize in FESTAC 77.