Ebi-Bulu as Gift on Children’s Day

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Yinka Olatunbosun

Children always dream of exciting things on May 27. Snacks, extended playtime and out-door leisure have characterised their holiday. Traditionally, in Lagos, children enjoy Story Theatre with Grandma Wura every year on Children’s day. This year was no different. Young ones arrived in droves at the Terra Arena for the Ijaw musical titled, “Ebi-Bulu’’ which means “Good Heart.’’

The production which ran through the weekend preceding the Children’s Day was based on an original story created by Proud African Roots titled, “A Man of Character.’’ It is a story of chivalry and morals, set in a fictitious community in the Niger-Delta. The hero of the drama puts up a hard fight against the monster that threatens the lives of his people, even in the face of betrayal from his kinsmen.

The production which ran through the weekend preceding the Children’s Day was based on an original story created by Proud African Roots titled, “A Man of Character.’’ It is a story of chivalry and morals, set in a fictitious community in the Niger-Delta. The hero of the drama puts up a hard fight against the monster that threatens the lives of his people, even in the face of betrayal from his kinsmen.
Directed by Israel Meriomame Wekpe, the play is a complete theatre; a collage of theatrical elements such as colourful and detailed costumes, masks, puppetry, make-up, dialogue, songs and cultural dances. The narrator, the bespectacled Grandma Wura (Bola Edwards) was clad in her golden silk long-sleeved blouses and ankara circle skirt. After the performance, she emphasized the importance lesson in the musical.

“Ebi-Bulu mirrors the present state of our country Nigeria. The script was developed through research and an introduction of new characters with various genre of songs in order to make the piece come alive,’’ she said.
“The fact that his play rests on singing, dancing and acting more than stretches the reality that today’s acting requires a tripartite ability and training,’’ Wekpe said.

The production was a product of commitment from parents of the child actors who made this story theatre possible.
“I salute the amazing parents who stuck through the rehearsals and road traffic to ensure that the children got all the training they needed to be part of this historical mind-blowing event,’’ Edwards said. By the way, she usually stays in character while still adorned in her costume whether on-stage or off-stage as dictated by professional ethics of theatrical performance.
Ebu-Bulu was written by Patrick Edwards and translated to Ijaw by Charity Omaghomi.