Friday, February 29, 2008

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Rehearsals for the V. Monologues- The Nigerian Story, yesterday, Thursday the 28th February at Terra Kulture. From left, Omonor Imobhio, Tunde Aladese, Kate Henshaw-Nuttall, Stella Damasus and Yinka Davies.

The Abuja leg of the shows kicks off on the 6th of March.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Terra Kulture in collaboration with Jasonvision
Yerima’s Feast

(Live Drama every Sunday)

Sunday March 2
The Wives
Written by Ahmed Yerima
directed by Kenneth Uphopho

Sunday March 9
Written by Ahmed Yerima
Performed by Renegade Theatre

Sunday March 16
The Angel
Written by Ahmed Yerima
Performed by Renegade Theatre

Sunday March 23
Hard Ground
Written by Ahmed Yerima
Performed by Renegade Theatre

Sunday March 30
The Sisters
Written by Ahmed Yerima
Directed by Wole Oguntokun

Venue: Terra Kulture, Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island
Time: 3pm and 6pm (Every Sunday)
Tickets: N2000 / Students with I.D. N1500

Theatre@Terra is produced by Wole Oguntokun

For enquiries and tickets, please call- 0702 836 7228, 0808 123 9477 or e-mail

Idemili - A play showing how tradition and religion pull in different directions. In the drama, a mother is convinced the goddess, Idemili, must be appeased or her husband will die, throwing her at logger-heads with her son, a high-ranking catholic priest who is totally opposed to the traditional system of beliefs.

The Wives - Everyone’s got something to hide. A wealthy man dies and many things about the dearly beloved patriarch hitherto unknown, are brought to light as his wives converge, unearthing family secrets and broken taboos.

The Angel - Otunba’s beloved wife lies dying in his home, forcing him to ponder on his own mortality. All hope seems lost until a strange figure makes an appearance and adds an incredible slant to the situation.

Hard Ground - Ahmed Yerima’s multiple award-winning drama is based on a family with conflicting interests in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria.

The Sisters - the battle between comfortable ‘truth’ and painful reality. The play unravels the deceit that characterises the lives of some of the high and mighty in society.
The death of a President provides an occasion for Sisters to re-examine their own lives.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The rehearsals of V. Monologues- The Nigerian Story continue.

A comprehensive cast list.

Kate Henshaw

Stella Damasus

Bimbo Akintola

Funmi Iyanda

Omonor Imobhio

Yinka Davies


Tunde Aladese

Jennifer Osammor

Kemi 'lala' Akindoju

Men- Olarotimi Michaels, Kenneth Uphopho
The Girl Whisperer

as published by

The Sunday Guardian of Feb 17

Men in Black

Every time I see our police officers, I wonder at who had the bright idea to kit them in black in the tropical sun of West Africa. These men, standing in the blistering heat, wear a colour any kindergarten-aged child could easily tell you of the top of her head, is the most undesirable to wear in our climate. In a land where heat shimmers of the ground like a force field, it often causes great discomfort to even walk in the sun, irrespective of what colour is worn. When the colour imposed is black, it‘s a suicide mission. The wearer is often visibly irritable and usually overtly aggressive as well. We do not have to go far to see the reason for this outlook. When you are being slowly cooked alive at your work post, chances are you will snap at anything that crosses your way and you will soon gain the reputation of being a very belligerent person. To top it all, the individuals who are already walking a tightrope caused by the weather are given guns to ‘control’ civilians. There can be fewer more deadly cocktails than this mix. Let’s face it, people in air-conditioned cars in our society experience road rage even in the comfort of their cool automobiles. It’s a wonder therefore that a tenth of the population of this city has not been decimated by these men in black just losing any kind of reserve they had and firing wildly into crowded vehicles.

What does the discomfort of the police have to do with a column that deals with women’s issues, you may ask. That’s an easy one to answer. Many women in relationships are poorly clothed (in a figurative sense now) and ill equipped by their male partners and are given little or no tools to make the relationship work. These women are then expected to work wonders in making the relationship a happy, progressive one. The woman is expected to be a mind reader, to always be in a happy mood, to anticipate the needs of her ‘better half’ and to generally make home and hearth a very conducive place for habitation.

Much the same way no one shows concern and very little sympathy fort the regular police officer, very few care about the tools that have been given the female in the relationship to perform this magic. It matters little if the forces she has to face possess superior firepower, the necessary infrastructure and logistics support. All that is often demanded are results, failure not being an option.

In a relationship where the male has little interest in keeping the relationship working, he rarely lets the female know how she may go about getting the best out of the partnership. His demands are high but he never shows the way through which she can achieve these results. The female is left feeling frustrated, inept and unsure of what to do to keep her partner happy.

The whisperer advices women who are in relationships where they have not been aided with the knowledge of how to ensure a smooth running by their partners to reconsider. Except the female finds immense satisfaction in pain, you should only follow the things that give you happiness. Life is too short to spend around a person or situation that affects your moods negatively. If a mountain is too high, you must take its side, if a door too short, bend your head.

The reason for the very low level of productivity of the real men in black, if you take the time to be fair, is the fact that they have very little or nothing to go on. They are not trained well enough, have to buy their own uniforms, are underpaid, are poorly equipped, and are given little or no incentives, even though they have to lay their lives on the line every time they step on the roads.

The ill-treated woman is just like the men in black. She has to make up her mind if she wants to stay in the situation that gives her so much stress or move on and get on with her life and seek happiness in other places. For the eternally optimistic and those whose tumblers are always half-full, there might be better days ahead but the more realistic should know when they are fighting a losing battle. There are some situations we are not meant to be in, and if it does not feel comfortable, there is something the matter. If you try it on in several ways and it still does not fit, it is time to move on. It’s a beautiful world and there is so much beauty to take I, do not waste your time going down mazes that lead to dead-ends. If you go too far in, you might never be able to find your way back.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tunde Aladese. Writer, TV Producer is one of the 5 writers of V. Monologues- the Nigerian story. Tunde is also a member of the cast of the performances scheduled for March.

March 6- Shehu Yar' Adua Musa Centre, Abuja

March 7- Women's Development Centre, Abuja

March 12- The Muson Centre- Lagos

March 13- The Muson Centre, Lagos

March 19- The National Art Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos

March 20- Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos

The Monologues will be directed by laspapi

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Girl Whisperer

as published by the Sunday Guardian

of February the 10th

Put the blame on me

From the first time I heard Akon sing the lines, “even though the blame’s on you, you can put the blame on me”, it struck a resonant chord in me. I knew I was hearing a piece of philosophy that I've always strongly believed in, and often, I use that song as an affirmation of the proper thing to do.
Akon is an ex-convict but that matters little to me. Life’s truths can emanate from anyone- children, beggars, millionaire-ex cons, whoever. The world is a peculiar place. In his case, he caught a lot of negative attention for having frolicked on stage with a 15-year old girl in a club. Akon, apparently had no idea how old she was, and did things with her that only adults should partake in. After the brouhaha that attended him having 'played' with a child while entertaining on stage in a public forum, Akon sang his song, saying though the parents and the club that allowed her into an adults’ party should have been held responsible, he would take the blame. I like the face-on approach.

There are many men and women quick to lay blame elsewhere. We lie about our antecedents, our pedigree, our finances, our education, even our physical and mental attributes (in the cases where we have never met the prospective partner before) and then when he or she discovers us as we really are, we go berserk, threatening fire and brim stone, vilifying and slandering the man or woman who has abandoned us.
If you’re going out with a banker and you lie about your income, be prepared to be abandoned when he or she finds out that you earn only a tenth of what you claimed. It doesn’t make this departing partner shallow, you are the one who has brought your ‘shortcoming’ into issue by non-disclosure. You don't tell a prospective partner you've never had a child and then he meets a ten-year old midget in your living room one day calling you "mummy" and you start to stutter. If you had allowed the person to accept you (or reject you as the case might be) for whom you were, when you first met, your integrity would not be at stake.

The only instance I’d tell you to photo-shop the picture in a relationship is where the man asks how many partners you have had in your life. The self-destructing need for many women to be totally open on all issues causes them to want to foist this information on their partners. Trust the Whisperer on this one- for most men, even two previous boyfriends or intimate partners are too many. If you tell him numbers in their multiples, he will leave you, no matter how much he has reassured you he will stand by you forever when he was desperately seeking this information.

A man will spend his days and nights ruminating over this matter, thinking of how both you and the since long-gone other, contorted your bodies in the throes of passion, then his mind will blow because his circuitry is not wired to receive and process that kind of information, and then your relationship will hit the rocks, in that order. If you doubt the Whisperer, play a game of death and tell your man everything about that. What am I saying? Tell your partner everything that is fundamental to the relationship. It’s not helpful for your true love to find out after you have had three kids together that you’re really ten years older than you claimed to be and he finally understands why people have been saying "here comes Romeo and his mother, Juliet" everytime you passed. We shouldn’t be afraid to tell it like it is, for those who will love us will love us. For those who have problems with you as you are, let them go. It wasn’t meant to be and what will be will be.

I’m not suggesting you tell your partner about issues between your parents or your sibling’s marriage. That’s nobody’s business really and you might regret talking too much if you ever part ways with this person you told other people’s business to. However, if you have bi-polar disorders or you’re on medication for depression, please admit to it. There can be no worse sense of betrayal than finding out that a loved one only showed a small part of himself or herself.

There are people who will love us as we are. You also do not have the right to attempt to fit into someone else’s ideal partner when you clearly know you are not what is wanted. The Whisperer assures you that there are enough partners to go round everybody, and the odds tend to work themselves out in these matters. Squeezing one’s self into a compartment not built for one is the recipe for disaster. When a relationship turns sour, accept the blame if it is yours. It shows style and grace and the fact that you stand head and shoulders above the crowd.
When Old Sins Have Long Shadows

I was 'friends' with an undergrad when I was studying for a post-grad degree. I'd go to her room and sometimes meet her room-mate, older than her and her senior at the faculty. Years later, while driving, I saw this room-mate at a bus-stop. 'Old friend', I thought, first waving and then stopping the car to say hi, maybe give a ride. She had been standing talking to someone. I'd noticed an odd look on her face as my car slowed and she'd given a tentative wave back, the kind you keep for nuisances, (You all know that look), but I'd refused to accept it was for me.

So I stopped car, and looked for her. She'd disappeared, companion and all, and she didn't get on a bus or public transport, just 'vanished, transported, utterly transmuted' (courtesy- The politician in The Trials Of Brother Jero). Apparently, she didn't need a ride. My enthusiasm on meeting her had been based on my relationship with the ex, an old favourite, and the fact that she herself had been a friend of sorts then, certainly not someone you'd see later, who'd do a runner upon seeing you.

Apparently, she had no need to re-aquaint herself and I went my way. Fast-forward a few more years. Phone rings and laspapi picks up. It's a female voice saying "I'm from Aunt so & so, (a juggernaut and person of influence in the industry laspapi plays in). She says you're organizing "A Season Of Soyinka" and that I might be of use to you in so & so area". I say, "ok, come in to see me".

She does so the next day and it's the bus-stop girl. I tell her, 'I know you'. She feigns ignorance. 'You do?'. So I go through the charade of telling her who her roomie was and she recollects. "Oh, oh, oh, so very very good to see you"

laspapi: yeah, me too. I stopped to say hello to you at a bus-stop once and you took off

b-s.g: Me?

laspapi: yeah

b-s.g: something must have happened

laspapi: (thinking to self) yeah, the rapture. However, the angel took one look at your face on his way up and lost his grip

b-s.g: I hope the way I behaved won't affect my chances

laspapi: nah, nah. I'll call you if I need you.

(I lied)

The following year, my phone rings again.

b-s.g: it's me, again

laspapi: yeah?

b.s-g: I hear you're directing the monologues. I can be of help.

laspapi: sorry.

So now it's getting to be a pattern. I differ from her, slightly, here. If I do not like you, I will not try to work/play with you.

However, I'm wondering how many things have passed me by because of some wrong whether real or imagined, I might have done someone else eons ago; how many things, big or small, are hinged on an impression, a rash word, a hasty reaction...Old sins have long shadows.

laspapi's philosophy- as much as possible, live peaceably with all men.

Still, this is for those I haven't paid back yet. I'm gonna get you.

If you want to preach at me, go write your own post.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Girl Whisperer

as published by

The Sunday Guardian (Life)

Feb 3, 2008

The Lord Of The Rings

There is a legend that there exists a place called middle earth, a land where women have conquered after many a bloody battle, and made theirs. In this place, women of all creeds and from different backgrounds live and reign supreme. It is a land where no man dares tell them what to do, where the word of the woman is law and judgement is passed on erring citizens. There is only one situation that poses a threat to their peaceful and harmonious existence. That one situation is brought about by a peculiar kind of man known as the Lord of the Rings.

All the women who once knew this land of peace and who have since been removed and forbidden from re-entry like Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden say that this man is a deceiver, offering things he cannot give.

His method is simple- He looks for a woman who is at peace with herself, the life she lives, her friends, her work and he offers her that most important thing to many women- A wedding ring. It is a very strong-minded woman who can resist the call to the altar, the hope that people will line the aisles and cheer as she walks in tandem with the man of her dreams. Some deep instinct to nest makes women lose all ability to reason when they meet a proposing man and the scoundrel who can put on a fa├žade of sincerity will get away with anything (including murder) where these women are concerned. This philanderer (a man that makes love without serious intentions) understands the lure of the ring, of the white dress, of the wedding invitations, of the guest list, and he plays on it like the professional he is.

The Lord of the Rings with unerring accuracy locks on the woman who is under pressure, from family or friends or the society, and with the precision of a heat-seeking missile proclaims he can meet her need. Often the woman gives all she can, in intimacy, in her finances, emotionally and any other way. When he has had enough or is tired, he walks away and starts afresh with another damsel in distress. The Lord of the rings rarely gives up his strongest bargaining chip- the offer of a future together.

The unprepared woman is torn apart by his cold-heartedness and sheer indifference but if you open your eyes, you can tell a Lord of the Rings when you see him coming. We live in a society that has made marriage an end in itself and puts immense pressure on women to marry at any cost and very early too. Women who are ordinarily suave and confident become blubbering wrecks as they pass the age of 25 without husbands-to-be and by age 30, they stay up at night, depressed insomniacs, unable to function properly. A husband has to be gotten however he may be and they often have to settle for less because they are under pressure.

Once, an older female relative asked me the age of a good female friend. My friend was 28 then and I told my relative so. “What?” she exclaimed. “And she’s not married?” She must be a prostitute”. This was said in Yoruba. Her warped logic reflected the larger society. An unmarried woman of 28 is almost past her shelf age and sell-by-date according to this school of thought and there must be something seriously wrong with her if she cannot corner a man and lead him by the nose to the altar. Societal pressure to fulfil the condition has led many women to take on men they would never have ordinarily considered and the reason for the high mortality rate of many marriages becomes obvious.

You are asked to lower your standards, not to buy that car yet, not to get a masters’ degree or move into your own apartment because you might price yourself out of the market.
The Whisperer advices, be all you want to be and do not allow anyone to put your plans on hold. We all have one life to live and we should make the best use of it. If you end up marrying the wrong man, you will have a long time to regret it. Take your time, the fact that a woman does not dance at the same pace as her companions does not mean there is something the matter with her. She might merely be listening to a different drummer.