Sunday, July 29, 2007

30 million Nigerians and other stories...

The Season of Soyinka ended yesterday, with people being turned back at the gates when all the seats were taken at the 3 o'clock presentation of The Jero Plays. Some offered to pay the full price and stand at the back of the hall. I'd never seen that kind of thing at a theatre before and it gave me cause to think.

There had been a heavy publicity blitz, newspaper and radio ads, and all the major television stations carrying news of the productions, At 9pm yesterday, NTA's Newsline showed excerpts from the Season and all night long, my phone rang. People in Abuja, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, some of NTA's vaunted 30 million Network News viewers, calling to wish me well, to say well done.

I am grateful to God. Very much so. And like Rudyard Kipling wrote, "If you can meet with triumph or disaster, and treat both impostors just the same...then you will be a man, my son".

I got the idea for the Season during a conversation I had in my car last year with a cast member. One thing that's been affirmed time after time in this period is that, whatsoever the mind can conceive, it can achieve.

My friends and theatre lovers stood by me. I'd like to thank the bloggers- Ore, Nyemoni, Nilla, lola, araceli, kiibaati, Babaalaye, 36", snazzy, funmi iyanda, and our most yoruba-centric female (some of whom came to several of the shows and all others who refused to introduce themselves),and the out-of-towners- Storm, Jola, Frances, jumi, toyin tomato, noni moss, cheetarah, sherri, Idemili, omosewa, catwalq, ~mimi~, izz, phantomwriter and the many, many others who wished me well.

ps. 36" isn't just talking when she speaks of long legs. I did a quick eye-measure as we spoke as I'd told her I would ;P


omohemi Benson said...

The play was fantastic!
I really enjoyed myself.

Roll call,
Daddy's girl,
Babs House,
Mrs.Somebody and Bijimi were all there.
I tried to look for you after the play to say hi, even though I saw you in the hall but you were missing,apparently busy.

We had a good time.

Uzo said...

Hey, I came around with Daddy's Girl, Olawunmi, Snazzy et all.You had so many people coming around to say hey, i just thought i would let you be. The play was amazing and i wish i brought my dad. He used to teach African Literature in one of our universities and he has taught the Jero Plays quite a bit.

Looking forward to the theatre series. I didnt get a chance to turn in my contact form but i definitely want to get updates on events.

Great work....

Anonymous said...

This female also blogged about the Soyinka season. No mention. Oh well, be like that, then.

Anonymous said...

Laspapi, I enjoyed the plays yesterday. I guess I will be comin around more often.

Ore said...

It was a great show yesterday. I wasn't expecting it to be so long, but since it was 2 plays in one, that made sense. I laughed so hard. I've never read the plays or seen them performed, but was so blown away by the sharpness of the social commentary and how (I assumed) it had been updated to fit into today's world.

Well done!

Jumi said...

Congrats on the success of your productions, Laspapi. Wish I could be there but, I am rooting for you! Next! The exclusive one for ToyinTomato and me. I dey wait o! If you fit catch wind!:) Have a great week!

Anonymous said...

Chineke, cannot believe I was first off the blocks. Soon they would start testing me for steriods. (Ni bo to ti ja wa?). God forbid Ben Johnson phenomenon!

Laspapi- 30 million Gbosas' to you. My brother , go on tour. All those people wey dey ring go wan see am live.
Congrats and more grease to your elbow (or should I say ....)

Unknown said...

Congratulations...well done. I'd say you should take a holiday but knowing probably have something else up your sleeve which you are about to unleash on us. Well done, you make many of us proud to be Nigerian

Araceli said...

So so happy for you and all the cast. It's a great feeling when you watch the making of a great artist. To the next level...

Eyin'ju Oluwa said...

Thats really nice. I'll be there live and direct next year by Gods grace. What's the new one(starting on my bday by the way, hehehe) going to be about? And happy bday, it passed already abi,i think u mentioned it somewhere, hope u had a nice day. I wanro see pictures or a clip or something, pretty please with cherries on top, thanks. Have a blessed week Laspapi, keep doing you. You're such an inspiration to me!

Cheetarah said...

Hey papi(I say this singing along with Jay z,uve heard it right?)
Hey just saw u in a tru love I got from naija, just dey yarn spiritual yarn,lol:) Check me out,I want ur tots on this one.
Good to know your play went well,sotai u bounce people sef! Nize1:)

KT said...

Not knowing that that piece of paper ought to be returned (which requested our information), I had burned time out by sketching on the back little pieces of the images of what I saw while the actors laboured out their lines on the stage(I don't mean this in a bad way). Now my good sir, how can I have my poor drawings back?

Great effort there. Looking forward to coming back soonest.

Anonymous said...


Ms. Catwalq said...

have u seen ur debut on my blog?

congrats. job well done. keep up the good work. Keep the great ones for when we work together

Noni Moss said...

Oy I wished you well also! :-) So glad it went well, heard rave reviews. Phew you can take a breather for a second now the season is over but soon i'm guessing it's on with the next project? Have you decided what your first show will be? Cant wait to see it once I come back.

laspapi said...

omohemi, thank you for being a part of it. I hope we meet in more relaxed times.

@ uzo- thanks for coming to the show, uzo. Wish you'd said hi.If you have your e-address on your blog, I can send notice to you of shows coming up. Hope to see you soon.

@ yorubacentric- let me tell you what happened here. I couldn't recall your blog name. I searched (with google) yesterday and this morning. Please don't be upset. I know its your first name against the word "yoruba" but you'd never left a comment and so it's been impossible.Even the search of "A Season of Soyinka" didn't give up the address. Please help leave a link? I'm really sorry...

@ babsbeta- you're one of those who refused to say hello :D
Thanks for coming...

@ ore- thank you very much, Ore. It was updated, the original thing is more than 40 years old (I think). I'm glad you liked the plays and attended several. Looking forward to seeing you at the weekly plays. Ebun now greets me with the word, "Emmanuel".

@ jumi- many thanks. I know you and toyin were rooting for me. I'll make actors of you both, yet. Just wait and see.

@ anon- thanks for the support. 30 million gbosas might be a bit loud. :D
ps. you weren't first off the blocks. Comment moderation can be like that.

@ jola- you just made a very dark man, blush. I have to start the work for the weekly shows now but I'll try to rest, seeing that I'll be bringing in other directors and cast members.

@ abujawalkabout- thank you, araceli. Many, many thanks for always believing...

@ omosewa- thank you for being you, child of beauty. You have a great heart. We're re-staging "Who's Afraid Of Wole Soyinka" next Sunday, then a few new plays...Happy birthday in advance. Mine was the 15th.
And yes, I'll put photos etc up soon.

@ cheetarah- thanks catwoman. That True Love's was like a couple of months ago. Coming to your blog.

@ igwatala- thank you for being a part of the show. I'll look out for your drawings, don't you worry. Looking forward to seeing you at others.

@ sherri- many thanks, sherri.

@ catwalq- I have an idea for a joint-movie project for you. We'll keep off the bollywood guys for now but I think it should work.
I'll come see the debut.

@ noni moss- thanks, noni. I've been moving around trying to get the team together. Heavy logistics. Looking forward to having you at the shows. I didn't miss the Whisperer, I'll put it up soon.

Lola said...

Laspapi, congrats to you and well done. sorry i really couldn't stay till the end but i thoroughly enjoyed myself. even though i've heard of the jero plays i haven't actually sat down to read, i have to confess here that i'm one of those whose actually afraid of wole soyinka's works (excepting his last book which i'm enjoying) but seeing the plays actually encouraged me to pick up the books which is not so little an achievement as it may seem.

anyway, great job!

PS - how did i miss snazzy?!?! and daddy's girl/olawunmi/36 et al?

Atinuke A. said...

Well Done!!!
The play had me in serious fits of laughter!!
Was nice meeting you(Even though I think you have mistaken me for someone else based on your comments).
Looking forward to Theatre @ Terra.


laspapi said...

Thank you once again for coming, lola. I'm glad the plays encouraged you in relation to Soyinka's works.
All those bloggers were there, o! A lot of them just wanted to be incognito.

@ atinuke- it was you! My brain went on hold the next day and began to vacillate between nike and other 'ke' names. I searched everywhere for your blog.
Thank you for coming and for the conversation after. I'll be taking a ringside seat on your blog now.

Anonymous said...

lmao@ the 36 comment.. lol.. that babe dont play... i'm sooo happy to hear your successes... i swear i'll be at one of the plays if its the last thing i do... front and center.. . no lie... lmao i love the anonymous who said 30 million gbosas to u.. i'm uppin that to 1 billion trillion gbosas.. lol i love that word...

Babawilly said...

I actually thought I came in first with a comment. Now I know its all premature celebration. Can't believe I am entered 7th as anonymous!
Its all good. More congrats ojare.
Charter Ekene Dili Chukwu & take the show on the road.
When una reach Birmingham, I go watch the show.
God bless

laspapi said...

@ Storm- I will present "Anatomy of a Woman" with you as the guest of honour if its the last thing I do. I intend to present it in September or October as well. Looking forward to talking to you soon, Storm. You take care.

@ babawilly- someday, babawilly, my plays will reach birmingham. You'll have to buy 10 tickets for each performance, then.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on pulling this off. I hope you continue to provide such an enriching contribution to the development of the cultural scene in Nigeria. Good luck in all your future endeavours!

laspapi said...

@ anon- Thank you for those words. They mean a lot to me.

jak said...

Congrats on ur success, I wish I could've been there to see it...

laspapi said...

thank you, damsel. I wish you had been there.