Friday, March 21, 2008
When The Dust Settles
A Director's Notes
The first run of V. Monologues-The Nigerian Story ended yesterday.
I heard many opinions-
chude jideonwo (The Future Awards) sent a text- "WELL DONE!!!! Dis is the best thing I hav EVER EVER EVER watched in my life. This was genius. Well done Wole. It was TOO MUCH!!!!!" Chude criticizes without sentiment. His comments/write-ups/bust-ups on-line and on the pages of newspapers with art he finds displeasing are legendary.
funmi iyanda called it "sublime".
a gentleman walked up to me after one performance and called it a once-in-a-life time experience. It was humbling to hear such things but maybe the most humbling were the men and the women in the audience who walked up to me after and simply said "Thank you".
2 cities, 5 venues, 6 performances, 6 standing ovations, many congratulations; tearful, laughing, chanting crowds.
It was a mix of several things- superb acting, a superb script and ahem...a superb director.
I am honoured that Hafsat Abiola-Costello and Amy Oyekunle, founder and Executive Director of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND) chose me to be Artistic Director for this project. That KIND's accountant, Mr.O was always so forthcoming, that Wynyfred and Peju of KIND let me be myself.
I am glad I chose the proper writers for the Nigerian story- Myself, Tunde Aladese (who also performed), Princess Olufemi-Kayode, Ijeoma Ogwuegbu and the irrepressible blogger- Storm a.k.a. Overwhelmed Naija Babe who was in Nigeria last December/January.
I am pleased I selected the proper actors who did more than I could have hoped for. It was team work on their part, a collective pull.
"It doesn't matter which horse wears the garland as long as the wagon gets to town". We found the town, girls!
I am humbled that audiences responded like they did everywhere.
There was a gentleman who was reported to have written on the internet that it didn't "reflect our values" here. That was said of an abuja performance that had the entire Nigerian audience chanting "more, more" at the end of a 2-hour show. If he indeed wrote that (I didn't bother to look at it), it could be considered a little patronizing. Seeing that he's a white man. Chude was one of those who read that piece and lowered his expectations before seeing the show.
I know people write for varying motives. I cannot be bothered with that cultural expert's for it is either he knows nothing of our people or thinks a Nigerian audience not intelligent enough to appreciate art the way he does.
True Love Magazine in it's April issue has a page on me saying "I am Man of the Moment". The words of Rudyard Kipling come to me at this time- "If you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat both impostors just the same, then my son, you will be a man". We found triumph in this one. I am glad.
I wrote the stage play, "Anatomy Of a Woman", and have been writing the Girl Whisperer column for the Sunday Guardian for close to a year. And now this. If I had known then, what I know now, that most important of relationships wouldn't have floundered.
But when my first child comes, (don't ask me how I know it will be a girl, I just know. And no. No one's pregnant), I'll tell her- "I worked with some great women in the V Monologues project. When you grow, you must become a V. Warrior too".