Executive Producer, Joseph Edgar (left); Co-Producer, Olisa Adibua; Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Public relations (NIPR), Lagos chapter, Olusegun Mcmedal; lead actor, Yemi Shodimu and Director, William Benson at a press briefing to announce the staging of Isale Eko PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU
The Lagos State Chapter of Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, last Thursday, announced its endorsement and staging of Isale Eko, a satirical stage play designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Lagos State.
The stage play, supported by the Lagos State Government, has On-Air-Personality, Olisa Adibua, investment banker and columnist, Joseph Edgar, award winning entertainment journalist, Nse Obong Ekong and Nollywood actor, Ayo Badmus working to realise it. The fictional reenactment of 14th century Lagos, uses song and dance to tell the story of Lagos in the throes of slave trade, power struggle and romance.
Isale Eko has a rich cast, including Yemi Shodimu, Patrick Doyle and Yinka Davies and it comes under the directorial guide of William Benson. The play is scheduled to hold on Easter Friday, April 14 through Saturday 15, 2017 at MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos.
Chairman, Lagos NIPR, Olusegun McMedal, said the play is an opportunity for the chapter to join in the celebration of Lagos State at 50. His words, “We heartily endorse Isale Eko to add to the conversation surrounding the celebration of the golden anniversary of the creation of Lagos State. The script is bound to educate, inform and entertain its audience on the rich cultural heritage of the people of Isale Eko in an entertaining atmosphere.”
Producer of the play, Edgar, said the play would leave many asking questions, adding, “Isale Eko tells the story of Lagos in a unique way. It leans lightly on historical facts with a blend of romance, songs and comedy to give it a contemporary depth. It is a story that will drive into the audience a rash of emotions as they would cry at the seeming tragedy that befalls Akitoye, a leading protagonist, laugh at the comedic turn of Madam Tinubu, as she strategically plays a balancing act between the warring Akitoye and Kosoko ruling families and then get touched by the wonderful romance between the aggressive, yet soft Kosoko, who finds the Bini damsel irresistible.”
Also speaking was co-producer, Adibua, who said Lagos, being the seat of excellence and Isale Eko with its 400-year history, deserves to be celebrated. According to him, “Isale Eko remains one of the bowl of our civilization, with its early contact with European traders. It is the womb that gave birth to what is today known as modern Lagos and as such it’s story and history must be preserved and celebrated in all glory”.
Adibua hopes the play would help unite the country. He also highlighted some of the problems of stage performance to be lack of venue and poor infrastructure, adding, “We had to create a mainstream platform. The paly is about reviving the culture, educating our children and creating a high profile for Nigeria.”
Director and writer of the play said the play touches on issues in the history of the state from a perspective that had never been told, adding, “We capture modern day slavery, though not too serious as it plays on comedy, music and dance.
“With a 60-man cast and crew, Isale Eko promises to redefine the way people see Lagos. It will forcefully realign us with our rich heritage and tie the strings of unity with the portrayal of people with different tongues brought together by cultural exchanges over time. Dances from some part of the country would be performed on the stage with a beautiful tie-in to the story, making Isale Eko a must-watch for the over one million targeted viewing audience spread over Lagos, Nigeria and London, United Kingdom.”
The producers also strategically added historical, cultural sights like the Bight of Benin, the oba’s palace, the Badagry Slave Port and a host of other cultural sites in the play as a ‘pull factor’ to boost international tourism into Lagos. Furthermore, a team of mainstream U.K.-based journalists are expected to watch the play and tour these historic sites culminating with a visit to the Governor of Lagos State and the Oba of Lagos.
A team of British producers, led by a leading U.K. PR firm, Coco Orange and frontline Nigerian-born British entertainment entrepreneur, Tola Ogunbola, are working on staging the play in the United Kingdom later in November. The idea behind the U.K. show is to take a part of Lagos heritage to the over two million second generation Nigerians resident there, but who do not know their origin or are far removed from it.