Wednesday, December 01, 2010

"The Waiting Room"

There is a place where luck and the fates cannot save you. It is a place where natural cunning and innate intelligence must be put to the ultimate test. Where even the most street-wise will come face-to-face with his or her own mortality.

A Stage Play written and directed by Wole Oguntokun.

Starring Jumoke Lahdi Bello, Ijeoma Grace Agu, Gbenga Adekanmbi and Precious Anyanwu.Dates: Sunday Dec 5, 12 and 26.


"Wat's Dis All ABout?"

(An adaptation of the South African Classic - "Woza Albert")

Starring Similoluwa Hassan and Toyin Oshinaike

Date: Sunday December 19

Written and Directed by Toyin Oshinaike .

All shows at 3pm and 6pm every Sunday in December.

Tickets - N2500

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Will I ever blog again?; The Berliner and other Nigerian stories.

It's gotten really strange. From being known for compulsive writing, I barely put a word on ...ehr...cyberspace now.

What does one blame?

The column in the Guardian that is so good to/for me but demands a thousand words weekly?

A busier work/play schedule?

STARCOMMS intrernet access or the lack of it? (This is a good one to lay the blame on. The Starcomms board should be lined up and flogged. N15,950 a month for no access is just nasty but they keep advertising and the Standards Organization in this country or whatever outfit should monitor this travesty lies comatose. By the way, Zain/Airtel/Econet/Vodacom/Buddie/Celtel is guilty of it too)

Well, I'll give consistent writing a shot once again seeing I'm some distance from Starcomms now and the internet's like lightning here.

I was leaving Berlin a few days ago when the airline attendant who was German told me my name wasn't on the passenger manifest. I told her to check properly and she got up, went to a telephone and sniggered into it in her, I assume, thick Bavarian accent, "Oluwole Oguntokun". She said it thrice, finding amusement in my name with her colleague at the other end of the line. I looked at her, 6am in the morning and said to her hearing and those of her colleagues around her, "That's the way your name sounds to me as well". She didn't get it at first so I repeated it. I saw she came to the phone a gentler person.

So much for a new century. The world is still riddled with bigots.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The 4th Annual Season of Wole Soyinka

The Official Launch of the Ola Rotimi Foundation.

Grey Focus - Starring Curtis John Miller and Yemi Blaq. Directed by Imeh Esen.

Showing at Silverbird Cinemas - Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt from Friday the 20th of August.

Monday, June 07, 2010

presents "Who's Afraid Of Wole Soyinka?"

Oga, a military ruler has decided to remain in power by becoming the nation's next civilian president. He schemes and plots with fellow soldiers, get-rich-quick opportunists, perfidious politicians, musicians and sportsmen, eliminating all opposition in his way.

"Who's Afraid of Wole Soyinka?" is a humorous satire that chronicles some of the darkest periods in Nigeria's history.

Written & Produced by Wole Oguntokun

Directed by Sola Roberts Iwaotan

Every Sunday in June at 3pm and 6pm.

Venue: Terra Kulture, Tiamiyu Savage St, Victoria Island.

Tickets: N2500

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Western Europe and North America have crumbling economies, despotic leaders and unstable governments. Africa has always been the land of plenty, a stable prosperous continent, and Lagos, its most attractive city. Darren Campbell, a white male born and raised in the United Kingdom seeks his fortune in Lagos as an illegal immigrant.

Written and Directed by Wole Oguntokun

Venue - Terra Kulture
Every Sunday in May
3pm & 6pm

Monday, April 19, 2010

Four men, a Warder and his wife in a Maximum Security Prison...

Prison Chronicles starring Carol King, Kenneth Uphopho, Sola Roberts Iwaotan, Gbenga Adekanmbi, Precious Anyanwu and Kanayo Larry Okani.

Written and Directed by Wole Oguntokun.

Every Sunday in April in the Theatre@Terra.

3pm & 6pm.


Carol Adoghe King, Prison Chronicles, Wole Oguntokun

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Wole Oguntokun is directing Aime Cesaire's "A Season in the Congo" for the Lagos State Government sponsored "Black Heritage Festival" - April 3rd - 9th.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Up and about in 'Gidi. The picture of the "reddish" car was taken in England.

It was birthday time for the stellar actor Bimbo Manuel and the cast and crew of the Ultimate Face-Off -The V Monologues v. The Tarzan Monologues took a break from rehearsals to celebrate with him.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Girl Whisperer

as published by the Sunday Guardian

of 14th March 2010

Archie and Veronica

If you have a hard time comprehending why there are two names as my column title, you missed out on an experience that was a major part of the childhoods of many people all over the world. It was the comic simply known as “Archie” featuring a young man of the same name and his friends. They were all students of the same school, Riverdale High, lived in the same small town and wore bright, colourful, smart clothes, styles which I tried to copy several times when I was in my early teens but never quite succeeded in. As an adult now, it strikes me that the clothes “designer” for those comics was adult and the style pre-meditated, not anything easily accessible from the junk I possessed then.

There was a love triangle in the comic book series with Archie having a permanent crush on the dark-haired, rich beauty, Veronica Lodge and not realizing how much Betty, her friend, cared for him. Betty was a blond-haired girl of about the same age, no less good looking than Veronica and my personal favourite. (For all those who take issue with her hair colour, feel free to substitute blond with Ghana- Weave)At that time, all I wanted to do was meet a caring girl like Betty and live life happily ever after. As I write now, it strikes me that was probably the desire of the creator of the comic book series as well.

They had a company of friends too, Jughead who loved food, was rake-thin but could eat hamburgers like others eat very light biscuits. Moose, hulking in strength and who would do anything to protect his lovely girl, Midge, from the attention that other men might give. There was Big Ethel, who had a crush on jug-head, she was probably the least good-looking in the Riverdale community (it was a community where everyone was stunning) and Dixon (?) I think, the egg-head who was a whiz in the sciences. I almost forgot Reggie, Archie’s arch-rival (excuse the pun) for the affections of Veronica. I was never able to comprehend why Archie just never gave up on Veronica, leaving her to Reggie and starting a sunny life with Betty Cooper. I suppose that is the way life really is. We never really appreciate affection when it comes too easily, preferring the one we have to cut swathes in jungles for or climb rocky, precarious hills to reach. Veronica was not a simpleton, neither was Reggie malevolent in his smugness but I always thought they suited each other and that Archie was better off with Betty.

Many of us have over-looked the most amazing people because they gave themselves too readily to us. It’s an amazing thing about life and sad to say, speaks volumes of the level of development of a man, for instance, who thinks less of a girl because she was the first to express her affection. By the way, “Girl” for the Whisperer covers any female from ages thirteen to ninety. There are many women who are... well, advanced in age but are still involved in, or seek loving relationships. This is legitimate. Your life does not come to a screeching halt because you have children or they go on to have their own children. There are thirty-six year old grandmothers for those who care to know.

So on to the Betty Coopers that abound in so many lives and whom we do not care to give a second look because they expressed the way they felt about us before we spoke. I do not think less of any female who expresses the way she feels about a man before he indicates his intentions. Some men border on being obtuse and like wheel-barrows need to be pushed to a point where they will come to the realization that the lovely person whose company they had always found so enjoyable might have a thing for them. This has happened to the Whisperer many times before.

Now, no one is compelled to start a relationship with another merely because the other party expressed an interest in a relationship or in keeping the relationship “exclusive”. You might not like the person “that way” but if you do, it should not be to the girl’s advantage that she raised the matter first. The Whisperer’s submission is that you do not lose respect for the person who dared tell you she “liked” you. It is a fact of life, people caring for each other, and the man who feels uneasy about being told this should submit himself to therapy. People like people. And sometimes we have an uncontrollable urge to tell them so before we lose the moment. Carpe Diem. I think I spent my entire life looking for Betty Cooper and I must have found her several times in different people when I was in my teens. People are so beautiful at that age, untainted by life’s vagaries and bitter experiences.

For many reasons, Veronica Lodge is never short of the attention of men. She comes from a wealthy background, is self-assured and used to having her wishes met at every turn. She is also not as openly affectionate as one might desire. Unrequited love does it for many people. Not so for the Whisperer. You had better be loving me at the same time. Life is short and I no longer have the time for people who give love as if it is a currency that you cannot spend.

The self-effacing Betty Cooper will always run into trouble. Sometimes you should stand up for what you want, for what you believe in. Ask for the moon and get it, is what i have heard. When we do not speak up, things tend to pass us by. The Whisperer loves women, it is the only reason this column has gone on for three years. It is not an untoward interest in the opposite gender (well, not always) but a wholesome love for the female form. For the way their minds work, for their beauty, their intelligence and their capabilities.

The world would be a more beautiful place if all communities were like Riverdale, but that is an impossible task. I will try my best to make my immediate surroundings a place of calmness, a place of beauty, and hope that others try to do the same with their spaces too.

It really is a wonderful world, when we allow it to be.

Wole Oguntokun

Sunday, March 07, 2010

The V. Monologues v. The Tarzan Monologues - The Ultimate Face-Off, Wole Oguntokun, Kudirat Initiative for Democracy, Hafsat Abiola-Costello

Broadcasting Legend Adesua Onyenokwe, Wole Oguntokun and Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction Winner Chimamanda Adichie take time out for pictures after the 6pm maiden performance of the V Monologues v. The Tarzan Monologues. Professor Wole Soyinka was in attendance at the 3pm show.

The Ultimate Face-Off - Chimamanda Adichie and Wole Oguntokun iron out issues after the premiere of the V Monologues v The Tarzan Monologues.

Ego, Adunni and Bimbo Manuel stop for a chat before rehearsals at laspapi's offices a.k.a. The Play Station

Rehearsals. Ireti Doyle, Carol King and Kate Henshaw strut their stuff.

Kate Henshaw-Nuttall takes on the responsibility of "Mama Put" after the premiere of the Face-Off @ Terra. Night time- March 7, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Peter Pan Factor

The Girl Whisperer

as published in the Sunday Guardian

of February 14, 2010

In many ways, I believe I bear a resemblance to the Walt Disney character, Peter Pan, based on the play, “The boy who wouldn’t grow up” written by J.M. Barrie. Peter Pan lived in Never Land with his friend, Tinker Bell, could fly where he wanted, time did not exist for him and he battled pirates all day long. Many men lived this life of adventure as children. Their tragedy is that adulthood comes and they no longer are able to find “Never Land”. I heard Kevin Costner on television say once, ‘when a man loses the child in him, he loses everything’.

An old secondary school mate came into my offices one day and saw a play-station console but couldn’t believe it was for me. I did not disabuse his mind. I suppose there are some of us who believe that because adulthood brings added responsibilities, we should live our lives like people who never found pleasure in looking at the clean sand at the ocean’s edge. For me, the world must always remain a place of beauty, a place where joys are strong and as simple as you can make them. I have not forgotten how to laugh even though I pay bills now and sometimes stare with hostility in confrontations with the tax men of this state government.

I told my friend, Adeola the Pharmacist, a few months ago how I felt about being Peter Pan. It is a unique place to be. The Whisperer still reads comic books, loves to play Wii and Play Station and plays actual football every Friday night in Ikoyi. By the way, if as a woman, you have ever said the reason you love a man is because he makes you laugh, you have a bit of Tinker Bell in you.

I do no talk of childish men in this article but of men who have not lost the child in them. I stare in wonder at little children when I see them; the incoherent babble they make that has so much meaning to their own ears, the spontaneous laughter that comes at seeing a bubble rise in the air, sheer happiness at life itself. You see two eight year-old boys walking along a road in deep conversation, one’s arm around the other’s shoulder. What is the conversation about? The stock exchange? A missing politician? No, they talk about life itself and its greatest pleasures- things such as loyalty, truth, honesty, genuine friendship. Children do not stab each other in the back; if they are your friends, they do not make snide remarks when you leave the room. They genuinely and totally believe in you, believe in love and in the world’s goodness. There are no attempts to second-guess you, no bid to intercept a move or some act of perfidy they might suspect. A child tells it like it is. “Adults” should too, and not hide treachery behind “diplomacy”. There are women who say the trouble with some men is that they refuse to grow up. If growing up means I forget how to laugh and become full of guile, I’ll leave “adulthood” to you.

Where did the inspiration for a Peter Pan article come from? The Whisperer is a playwright as well and produces plays weekly on Victoria Island. That itself is an indication of a Peter Pan state of mind. However, I write today because of a female (when have I not?). I lost contact with this one a long time ago but had written about her many times in the past. I liked to describe her as still waters, a female with such a calming effect on me, it appeared almost unnatural. However, she seemed to disappear off the face of the earth, vanishing completely without the faintest trace. I looked for her with ancient tools (word of mouth) and space-age tools (the internet) but not even google could show me where she was.

One day out of the blue, she sent mail to me. You must remember that nations had been built and destroyed in the time we had not seen each other, but that day, I put on my laptop and there she was asking how I’d been. We got talking (she was married and appeared quite happy in her situation) and we agreed that we’d meet for a coffee the next time I stopped by the country she now lived in. A couple of weeks ago, I went in pursuit of theatre lighting equipment to the United Kingdom and gave her a call to say I was around. We then fixed a day we would both be free to meet. That day, even though Manchester United and Arsenal were playing a football match, I knew nothing could stop me walking by “the still waters” and at least taking a glass of orange juice in some pub to catch up on old times.

What struck this Peter Pan when I met her was that she was no longer the twenty-two year old woman I remembered. She was a grown woman and mother and even as we sat over drinks, I could not quite fathom it. In retrospect and with “adult eyes”, you might ask, “What did you expect?” Would she have stayed the same forever? She had stayed the same actually, only she looked, well, older than a twenty-two year old. I suppose somewhere deep in all our minds is the deep-rooted belief that we have not changed since we were twenty-one or twenty-two and therein lies the danger of being a Peter Pan. Even though one must not lose the essence of youth which is the greatest elixir you may ever find, we must always remember to synchronise the passage of time with our situation. We must remember that our true natures might stay the same but our physicality changes. My friend that I met with again was still a very-good looking woman but she wasn’t Tinker Bell who never grew up, age-wise.

The people we love, sooner or later, will have grey hair, add a few pounds to their body weight, and be less active than you once remembered them to be. This is the truth about life but you can have the last laugh when as Peter Pan or Tinker Bell, you hold dear the memories you once shared, and you continue to love as time goes by.

Its unprecedented. February & March in the Theatre@Terra.

The Tarzan Monologues every Sunday in February.

The V. Monologues v. The Tarzan Monologues every Suday in March.

Directed by Wole Oguntokun

Time - 3pm and 6pm

Venue- Terra Kulture

Tickets - N2500

A Day in Gidi

Pic 1 - Disposing of the Waste Disposal Van - Lagos (Monday the 15th).Pic 2- The heatwave in Lagos forces a shower break. Pic 3 - Abuja's driving school. Pic 4 -Kola 'Kolabo' Krakue says farewell to Astro Turf after the game on Friday the 12th of February. He is now out of the country. Pic 5 - A sign outside St Dominic's Church on Herbert Macaulay Road, Yaba.

Friday, January 01, 2010

There is a place where luck and the fates cannot save you. It is a place where natural cunning and innate intelligence must be put to the ultimate test. Where even the most street-wise will come face-to-face with his or her own mortality.

It is The Waiting Room. And in all those seated there, only one will walk out alive.

Written and Directed by Wole Oguntokun
Venue: Theatre@Terra (Terra Kulture), Victoria Island
Dates: Every Sunday in January
Time: 3pm and 6pm
Tickets: N2500