Itan: Celebrating A Marriage Between Two Worlds | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Itan: Celebrating A Marriage Between Two Worlds

Posted: Mar 27, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Yemi Adebisi, Lagos


Those who watched Kurumi and the likes of those evergreen plays that were directed by foremost writer, cultural ambassador and veteran journalist, Ben Tomoloju would definitely have a swell of time again.

This is because the executive producer/chief executive officer of Thespian Family Theatre and Productions, Ayo Jaiyesimi has concluded all arrangement for ‘Ben T’ to direct Itan, meaning The Story, the latest stage play from the archive of the organisation.

In a recent press parley, Jaiyesimi said the new concept requires the touch of such an experienced personality because of its uniqueness.

“It is a play that is based on the generational conflicts that we have in our modern day world. Incidentally I wrote the play. It is a marriage of two worlds that we belong to.”

The two generations, according to her include human resources world and the traditionalist generation. Her curiosity afterward is the strategies to be put in place to manage the various generations to produce expected results.

Her words: “In the words of my daughter, she will say we need to discuss and we need to negotiate. And that is the world that we are in now. If you look at the children that are using I-Pads and you say there is confusion, the confusion has not come yet.

“The world in 10 to 15 years is going to be different from the world that we see now and from the human resources perspective, what has been my passion is that how are we building a generation, a world, a community and enterprise that is future proof?” she said.

The playwright insists that theater is passionately Nigerian and that stakeholders in the arts should snatch every opportunity to display the rich content of Nigeria’s culture with specifics, hammering on the uniqueness of its songs, dance and drama.

She however assured that the organisation has selected the best casts.

“When it comes to our culture, the people that we usually work with are specially chosen. As a youth mentoring organisation, we tend to monitor the young people that come to our stage. So we choose people that we are very proud of. That was what informed the choice of Ben T to direct this play. I must say I am very proud of him, its being exciting working with him,” she said.

Ben Tomoloju, who has just authored a new Yoruba folktale, said he was determined to use the opportunity to bring out another evergreen edifice out of the casts.

“We have been running theater in Nigeria from various perspectives as activists, academics and just to mention one-as professionals. But we have actually been worried that theatre is not getting the necessary boost within the ambience of the larger economy. The public enlightenment of our theatre except from the effort of the media has been rather low because the other supplementary levels of propagation and campaign have been generally lacking.

“There are votes for the projection of theatre but where the votes go, we do not know and so we must pitch our tent with the new entrepreneur. We must work to see that we share their vision and we also help in propelling this vision so that they are not alone,” he said.

Ben T stressed the need to fine tune a marriage between the two generations through the works of arts before certain cultural talents and peculiarities would go on extinction.

“I would not want to go into books but the present has to dialogue with the past. TS Eliot said for a long time most of the critics in Europe were focusing on the poet of the time, but the big mistake Europe made especially Britain was that they did not know that every work of arts derived from the tradition before it. And the best way to adjudge a good work of art is how much the artist has taken from tradition and how much he has added to it. And so Itan takes from the tradition and looks from the past, examines the present and projects into the future.

“So it is a journey of the mind and as the journey of the mind it has a compelling force of making people to think forward and not backward, which is where the issue of intergenerational conflicts comes from. Indeed there is no drama without conflict. And the intergenerational conflicts as she has outlined are quite manifest in this age and time, we cannot resolve it. If we resolve it we might end up being static. But it can channel the way forward. The old man insists that things must be done this way. The young man is asking the old man, ‘if this was the best you can offer, why have we found ourselves here?’”

He said the play is billed to establish an intergenerational legacy.