Dede Mabiaku, Nobert Young,others dazzle in Olu Akengbuwa stage play[VIDEOS/PHOTOS]
For everyone that thronged the Agip Recital hall of Muson Centre, Onikan Lagos on November 3rd 2019, to watch Alex Eyengho’s historical play, “Olu Akengbuwa”, there was a general expression of excitement and contentment written on their faces.
Olu Akengbuwa (the 16th) was the last Warri monarch before the 88 years interregnum in Warri Kingdom. He was the longest occupier of the Warri throne and the wealthiest of all the Olus of his time.
The historical play, written and produced by Alex Eyengho, featured Afrobeat musician and actor, Dede Mabiaku, veteran actor, Norbert Young, Sobifaa Dokubo, Eliel Otote, Offiong Edet Anthony a.k.a Thin Tall Tony, Raphael-Niyi Stevens and others.
The audience were captivated as the performance reconnected the people with their past. Particularly, Chief Ayiri Emami could not hide his excitement after watching the play.
“The play captures what the Itsekiri people passed through for 88 years. One of the things I learnt from the play is being patient.One has to be patient in whatever one is doing. It is very important to hold on to your culture.
“Itsekiri is an old kingdom with a lot of history that people are not aware of. Itsekiri was in existence before Nigeria.The play tells you about our cultural heritage, where we are coming from.There is so much to be learnt from this drama.The issue of our history has to be taken back to our schools, from our Primary schools to the University.So that our children can learn more about our history and story”, he told TheNewsGuru.
Olu Akengbunwa is about the intriguing incidents that created a void in the historical trajectory of the Warri Monarchical system, when for 88 years[1848-1936], the Kingdom had no King. Historians link two of such incidents as immediate cause of the 88 years interregnum in Warri Kingdom: A curse placed on the Kingdom by a certain herbalist from Ife, Oyo Empire, and a pronouncement by Olu Akengbuwa against his son, Prince Omateye.
The audience were particularly enthralled by how veteran singer, Dede Mabiaku played the role of Olu Akengbuwa.
According to Alex Eyengho, the producer of the epic drama:”The play is about the Warri kingdom, Warri kingdom being the ancient kingdom that predates Nigeria.Though the play is about Warri Kingdom, the story-line is treating national and global issues.It focuses on themes like tussle for power, succession, desperation and scheming. These are the themes that have universal applications. We just tried to put this together through the theatre platform, interpreting these themes by using our culture and tradition.It is a universal story , not limited to the Warri Kingdom”.
Asked about the number of the cast and crew that participated in the stage play, Eyengho said:”The cast and crew of this play is over a hundred.I wouldn’t have been able to stage this play with 20 or 30 cast.It won’t work. You will see the loopholes.We plan to take it abroad, it’s a contingent. We staged it in 2015, 2016, 2017 and in 2018.
The first time we staged it was in Warri and the then Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan came to see it. He told us to bring the play to Asaba which he sponsored. We staged it right inside the government house. He did it as part of the handover ceremony to the incumbent Governor”.
On the growth of the theatre culture in Nigeria, he said:”The theatre culture was dead at some point, but it’s beginning to come back.You can see the turnout today.People are beginning to appreciate that the only way you can get total entertainment is theatre”.