The Little Theatre was an island of sorts when this reporter arrived. Wading through the flood waters, it was interesting to find the cast of the “Rock On musical” who had defied the rains to be at the rehearsals inside the Artists’ Village, National Theatre, Lagos.
Ola Opesan, the director of the play was neck-deep in work as the drama is gradually brought to life. The musical is based on a Christian music reality show with every contestant showing his or her unique temperament. Co-written by Jane and Ola Opesan, ‘Rock On’ portrays what happens in churches, choirs and indeed the entire Christian world.
“As people serving in the household of God, should we hold ourselves to a higher standard than the standard out there,’’ the director asked rhetorically at the end of the rehearsal session that afternoon.
“Even though you are a member of a choir or the clergy and you are a part of the kingdom, is it because we are living on earth here that we shouldn’t hold ourselves to higher standards? What we are doing with the play is that we are posing it as a question that should the standards be different or are they the same? Those are the questions we pose to the audience? We can see from the play that quite a number of things that go on in this world happens also in the church,’’ he added, tactically avoiding to give details of the plot.
All 14 songs had been prearranged for the smooth-running of the production. An alternation between lines and lyrics usually happen during rehearsals. The director explained this music structure of the musical.
“Some of them are intros and they will be performed with live bands during the performance. There are singers, dancers and musicians. It is a live show. Many of them are trained musicians, many of them sing in the choir. We had an extensive set of auditions hence we chose those who could sing.
Most of them have acting experience and what we are doing is that even for those who have singing experience more than acting experience, we are working with them on enhancing their acting. It is good for many of them to be able to sing,’’ he said.
Rehearsals commenced at the end of June and resumed in October. Next month will be more intense for the cast and crew as they are bent on delivering a great show on November 24 at the MUSON Centre, Onikan.
“We are trying to project kingdom values and we hope we can tidy that up in the next two weeks. First and foremost, we want people to come and be entertained. There is some message or some questions raised at the end of it all. It is meant for those who have already been converted and yet to be converted Christians. We want to make sure that the entertainment sits right. The entertainment of course comes with kingdom values,’’ Opesan said.
The musical features Patrick Diabuah; popular OAP, ‘Chico’ Chukwuma Aligwekwe amongst others.
Opesan has over a decade experience in varied aspects of the theatre especially in technical theatre in the UK. He is also the author of “Nigeria in 101 Headlines’’, an easy-to-read history book on Nigeria.