Nollywood Topguns Return to Stage with Esugbayi drama

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Yinka Davies

Yinka Olatunbosun

One of the best things to happen to Nigerian theatre this December is the star-studded drama, “Oba Esugbayi”.

Sequel to the box-office hit, “Isale-Eko”, this production stars Nollywood’s greats such as Femi Branch, Yemi Sodimu and the singer-songwriter, Yinka Davies. Produced by Joseph Edgar, the show will have two productions per day from December 23 till 25 at the Agip Recital Hall, MUSON Centre, Onikan. The 1hr 30mins show is directed by William Benson and sponsored by MTN Foundation with support from Maryland Mall.

Esugbayi drama straddles reality and fiction as the producer explained during a recent media briefing at the Maryland Mall.

As an investment banker, Edgar’s idea for developing new theatre audience is founded on the need to use the theatre as a means of educating young people about their history in a very entertaining and sustainable way.

“We’re building a community of theatre investors. We’re trying to change the narrative for funding the theatre,” he remarked.

He also observed that the new generation is obsessed with food, fashion, football, music and sex.
Hence, developing theatrical production that can compete with these elements of popular culture requires creativity in developing rich content.

For Esugbayi, the audience will be thrilled by the Calabar cultural embellishments in giving the play an artistic interpretation.

In his remarks, Yemi Sodimu commended the producer’s effort at revalidating history and culture through the production.
“I like anything that can add value to our traditional culture. It’s a whole attempt to take the theatre from the level that it was to a greater one.

“The total budget for this production may not be up to what some actors in Nollywood get. But in theatre, it’s a huge one. It’s a lot of sacrifice, almost suicidal. The industry can only be grateful to people like these who have decided to put their heart into theatre,” Sodimu said.