Legendary show business impresario Olisa Adibua partnering with investment banker and newspaper columnist Joseph Edgar are bringing on stage an exciting stage play about Lagos titled, ‘Isale Eko’ as part of the celebration of Lagos on the 50th anniversary of the creation of Lagos State. Working with a stellar cast of producers including Nseobong Okon-Ekong, the award-winning journalist and Editor of THISDAY Glitterati, the influential society pull-out of THISDAY Newspapers and versatile actor Yemi Shodimu who was recently in the powerful movie, ‘93 Days’, the production is a fictional showcase of 14th century Lagos in an excitedly written play which uses song and dance to tell the story of Lagos in the throes of the slave trade, power struggle between influential families and an abiding yet illicit romance. Isale Eko berths at the MUSON Centre in Onikan-Lagos this Easter
Using a mix of modern day music and pop culture, the story of ancient Lagos is told with the flair only a talented writer and stage director, William Benson. Some of the most iconic actors like Jide Kosoko, Patrick Doyle, Abiola Atanda popularly known as Madam Kofo have signed up to be part of this production. Others that have been approached and would soon be joining the cast include the very beautiful Adesuwa Etomi fresh from her box office smash, ‘The Wedding Party’ and the very much sought after, RIchard Mofe-Damijo whose good image has been recently through the Opa Williams film ‘The Three Wise Men’.
Isale Eko tells the story of Lagos in a way that has never been told. It leans lightly on historical facts while placing a fictional romance in the story, giving it it’s needed depth and comedic twists and turns. It is a story that will drive into the audience a rash of emotions as they would cry at the seeming tragedy that befalls Akitoye a leading protagonist, laugh at the comedic turn of Madam Tinubu as she strategically plays a balancing act between the warring Akitoye and Kosoko ruling families and then get touched by the wonderful romance between the aggressive yet soft Kosoko who finds a Bini damsel too ‘hot’ to resist. All these would be served to the audience with the sweet sounds of modern day Nigerian love songs allowing the audience to swallow this appetizing feast with the ease.
Isale Eko is the acknowledged downtown homestead of the indigenes of Lagos which now spreads across different communities with a variegated heritage of over 400 years in Central Lagos.
Executive Producer of the play Olisa Adibua said he believes that Lagos being the famed Centre of Excellence and Isale Eko deserve to be celebrated in this manner. To the producers, Isale Eko remains the bowl of our civilization, with its early contact with the Europeans. It is the womb that gave birth to what is today known as modern Lagos and as such its story and history must be preserved and celebrated in all its glory.
Already a British team of producers led by leading PR firm Coco Orange and frontline Nigerian-born British entertainment entrepreneur, Tola Ogunbola are working on staging the production in the UK in November. The idea behind the UK show is to take an authentic story and heritage to the over two million second generation Nigerians who do not have any idea of their heritage or their story with a view to triggering inward tourism. By raising such awareness, there is possibility of pitching Lagos on the international tourism map using these Nigerians as the first trigger.
The producers of Isale Eko are also using the play as a ‘pull factor’ in these times of ‘Made-in-Nigeria’ campaign to boost international tourism into Lagos in particular and Nigeria in general thereby helping to broaden the revenue base of government with this inflow. For this reason, the producers have strategically placed and made mention of cultural sites in the play. Places like the Bight of Benin, the Palace of the Oba of Lagos, the Badagry Slave Port and a host of other interesting cultural sites have been sporadically mentioned in the play.
A media tour of Lagos by a team of mainstream UK-based journalists is being organized to take place at the same time the play is being staged at the MUSON this Easter. The Media team would not only watch the production but would spend five days visiting interesting cultural sites and also visit the office of the Executive Governor of Lagos state and the Oba of Lagos in his Palace which would be getting more than passing mention during the production.
The producers of Isale Eko have also announced a working relationship with Ripples Nigeria, an influential online news media. Ripples Nigeria would be supporting Isale Eko especially as it strives to reach our leaders in preaching the values of cohesion, unity and much more importantly the need to look inward by boosting the country’s tourism potentials.
Sam Ibeneme its Editor-in-Chief explained that Ripples Nigeria’s involvement with the Production and alluded to the fact that our heritage as Nigerians remains largely untapped. He decried the neglect of the tourism sector by both private and public sector operators especially at this time of harsh economic realities. He averred to the strong believe in the potentials of home grown tourism in attracting the necessary international attention working with the ever growing entertainment sector which this year hit N1billion in box office receipts.
With a 60-man cast and crew, Isale Eko will aggressively redefine the way we see ourselves. It will forcefully realign us with our rich heritage, our culture, our story telling, our people and our music. It will tie the strings of unity with the portrayal of the abiding link between our people, who though different in tongue have been brought together by history and cultural ties over time. Dances from all over the country would evolve on stage with a beautiful tie in to the story, making Isale Eko a must watch to the over one million targeted viewing audience spread over Lagos and the UK.
WILL SMITH GRAPPLES WITH GRIEF
Collateral Beauty, a psychological movie that explores the essence of love, time and death shows a very grief-stricken Will Smith grappling with the loss of his daughter.
Smith played the character, Howard, a creative, charismatic, advertising executive who spends lots of time writing letters, not to people but to “things” as a means of therapy. When his notes bring unexpected personal responses, he begins to understand how these constants interlock in a life fully lived and how even the deepest loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.
His realisation of the essence was spurred by his colleagues, who in a desperate move to save the advertising company hired actors to portray Death, Love and Time in an effort to show that Smith’s character has gone off the rails. In sum, his peers strive to steal the company away from him. Through it all,
Smith’s character has some heart-to-heart conversations with Death, Time and Love.
While the movie dwells heavily on the emotional and psychological side of life, comical relief is provided by the bubbly thespian Helen Mirren who played Death.
At the end of the day, Smith was not the only recipient of the collateral beauty but his colleagues as well as the paid actors.
Directed by David Frankel, the film features an ensemble cast of Will Smith, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, Michael Pena, Naomie Harris, Jacob Latimore and Kate Winslet.
Its first private screening at Genesis Deluxe Cinema, The Palms, Lekki, Lagos in December 2016 witnessed a large turnout of people ranging from filmmakers, distributors of the movie to the average movie goer.
CEO of Blue Pictures, Mrs. Joy Ilibeno-Odiete said, “I am hopeful audiences will discover this terrific film that is well done and uplifting and has a great message of hope and connection.”
The movie is currently showing in cinemas across the country.