Lagos-based Thespian Theatre Troupe rallies seasoned dramatists to stage Ola Rotimi’s The Gods are not to Blame, AKEEM LASISI writes
Seasoned dramatists that include Tunji Sotimirin, Wale Macaulay, Yemi Solade and Safy Bello, are set to give a new life to Ola Rotimi’s popular play, The Gods are not to Blame.
They are currently on the set of the play being produced by Ayo Jaiyesinmi-led Thespian Theatre. The play, which is also featuring lady talking drummer, Ara, and a crop of other younger artists, is the troupe’s offering for the yuletide. It will be staged at the MUSON Centre, Lagos between December 27 and 28. While Sotimirin directs the play, Lekan Balogun is the production manager.
The Gods are not to Blame is the story of Odewale, who is destined to kill his father and marry is mother. He does everything humanly possible, but the prediction comes to pass, making the play adapted from Oedipus Rex to be one of the most popular tragedies to hit the stage.
But Jaiyesinmi and Sotimirin say the version of the play that the audience will watch at the MUSON Centre is going to be different from what they might have seen before. Although they are retaining the philosophy of the work, they are toning the tragedy down with comedy, a spectacular dance and more.
“We are presenting an adaptation of the play,” she says. “Thespian Theatre has staged various plays since we started in 2003. We feel that at this point in Nigeria, what we are going through deserves to be reflected upon. Some people have said that in 2015 Nigeria will be no more. But the debate has been on since the time of Ola Rotimi. The question is: who is to blame? As tragic as the play is, however, you are not coming to see a dirge. We have laced it with comedy, dance, poetry and more.”
The theatre proprietress, who says some corporate organisations that include First Bank, Leadway and Healthplus are supporting the project, adds that the performance will be a fusion of the stage and cinema.
According to Sotimirin, the play will be very entertaining so that the audience can get the best of the seasons.
“We are featuring a lot of spectacles and it is good that we have professionals who can translate this to an impressive show,” he says.
Solade is excited to be in the cast, saying despite the fact that he keeps a very busy schedule, he is glad to be part of what he calls his first love – he stage.
He says, “As we all know, December is a month loaded with a lot of activities. But I cannot shy away from the theatre. People who know my antecedents can appreciate this. I was trained in the theatre in Ife – Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife – and I have always done The Gods are not to Blame. I used to play Aderopo, but I am now one of the thieves.”
While Macaulay, Ara and Bello also thanked Thespian Theatre for giving them an opportunity to be part of the production, Lijadu notes that he is surprised at the intense talent being demonstrated by younger actors in the cast.
He says, “This is very encouraging. The younger ones I see here can play any role fantastically. It is glad that there are some organizations inspiring that.”