The much anticipated stage play Isale Eko came alive on stage last week to the delight of theatre goers who came in their numbers to enjoy a thrilling stage performance of the compelling story set in 14th century Lagos.
Each passing scene of the stage play dramatised by a sprinkle of established actors and others who put up thrilling performances elicited, a positive feedback from the audience which revealed tremendous acceptance and a yearning for an encore.
Dramatists such as Femi Branch, Yemi Sodimu, Adesuwa Etomi, Yinka Davies and Hafeez Oyetoro alias Saka using a mix of modern day music and pop culture to herald each scene of the fictional story written by talented stage director, William Benson.
Every scene, move, song, dance and word by the dramatists narrated the Lagos history in the most acerbic yet humorous and thrilling way that stunned the watching audience.
Isale Eko tells the tragedy that befalls Akitoye, the leading protagonist, the balancing act between the Akitoye and Kosoko ruling families and the romance between the aggressive yet soft Kosoko who finds a Bini damsel too ‘hot’ to resist.
It was a story of how present day Lagos went through the days of slave trade, its administration and politics, while trying to furge a relationship with its close neighbours and supposed protectors.
Read also: History retold as ‘Isale Eko’ goes on stage
Speaking after the play, investment banker, Joseph Edgar, who co-produced the stage play with radio personality Olisa Adibua, said his love for the arts was the motivating factor that made him bring ‘Isale Eko’ alive on stage.
“I have a natural inclination for the arts; don’t forget that I grew up at a time when the art profession was not seen as profitable as parents believed that the art form cannot put food on the table. I have always had interest in the past, especially with writing and that somewhat spurred me into the production of the play ‘Isale Eko’.
“I love the theatre and I am crazy about it; I try to watch stage productions every day of my life and I thought that as an investment banker I could pull resources together for a stage play like ‘Isale Eko’. When people watch your production and they tell you thank you for your effort its a major turn on for me, that was the major inspiration for me putting the stage play together,” Edgar added.
However, Edgar noted that the show wasn’t much of a success financially as ticket sales were not that encouraging.
“It was a success financially in terms of what we got from corporate organisations and government, but in terms of tickets sold, it was not successful. Though, it was a full house, most of the guests that attended the show were linked to corporate organisations that sponsored the stage play. Ticket sales wasn’t that much encouraging as it cost us close to N26 million to stage the play, and we got about N15 million from ticket sales in two days,” he said.
Edgar also informed that the London leg of the stage play is on the cards and the play will be staged sometime in November or December this year.
“The play will be staged in London in the month of November this year and it is going to be a mixed cast as we are going to fly some of our local cast over. We are already getting positive feedbacks concerning that move as we have a PR firm holding forth for us there as there are great expectations from theatre goers for ‘Isale Eko’,” he added.
‘Isale Eko’, the stage play thematically cuts through all strata of society also significantly marked the beginning of peaceful co-existence among neighboring communities and the end of slave trade.
It leans lightly on historical facts while infusing fictional romance, giving it its needed depth and comedic twists and turns while the drama lasted on stage.
Ripples Nigeria, a front-line online news platform, was a media partner for the event
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