Late legendary playwright, Duro Ladipo, will have his play on leadership, Ajagun-Nla, performed at a date yet-to-be named. Ajagun-Nla is a historical stage play that dramatises the life of a legendary African war general, Orangun Fagbamila Ajagun-Nla, who fought gallantly to protect the Yoruba people and defend their territorial integrity between the 12th and 14th centuries.
The play sends powerful messages that are still relevant to society today, especially as it relates to the issue of floundering leadership in the country and the quest to find the Ajagun-Nlas of our time to fix things. Embodied in the play are messages of selflessness, patriotism, and sacrifice.
While speaking at a press briefing at the National Theatre, Lagos, last week, Duro Ladipo’s son, Ladepo said: “There is no way you can be a patriotic leader without sacrificing; this is what the story is trying to portray. The play was originally written as a script by my father, Duro Ladipo, but it was compiled in book form in 2014, and is now being used as study texts in universities that run theatre programmes here in Nigeria.
“It is pertinent to note that this play had been performed by Duro Ladipo during his lifetime.” Ladepo Duro-Ladipo also stated that the play serves a variety of purposes, some of which include the recognition of the fundamental key roles of arts and theatre in the society, where freedom of expression and democracy are paramount and where no one holds a monopoly of truth.
He added, “We are using this play as a reflection of what is happening in our society today. To remember and celebrate the heroes past in Nigeria, who have displayed the character traits of the hero of the play, Ajagun- Nla, and to showcase the beauty and aesthetics of not only Yoruba cultural heritage, but the black man all over the world.”
Although preparation for the play has begun in earnest and it promises to be an outstanding one, no date has been fixed for its performance. Ladepo said rehearsals kicked off immediately and the performance will take place during the Easter festivity period. The play has a large cast and will feature Bukky Wright, Yemi Solade, Kola Oyewo, Peter Fatomilola, Joke Muyiwa, Ayo Owebiye, and many others.
Ladepo added that beyond performing the play in Nigeria, “this time around, we want to first of all have it in command performance for some eminent personalities. I also want to use this medium to tell you that we will be preparing the play for the U.K. tour.”