When Kesiena Obue set out to introduce her stage play production to the world, she suffered a minor setback. Originally, the title of her production was conceived as ‘Heartitude’, but this changed after a trip to the publisher who mistakenly emblazoned thousands of materials with ‘Hertitude’. It was until that moment that she realised how the combination of the words ‘her’ and ‘attitude’ aptly describes the three strong female characters the story centers on.
The play opens to the nightlife marked in Rume’s (Maryann Ivy) nightclub that doubles as a brothel, and continues with the arrival of her sisters, Ogor (Martha Orihiere), a renowned Nollywood star facing a scandal in her relationship; and Kesiena, an overbearing elder sister who marries for wealth and status. With all three viewing live through different kaleidoscopes, they suffered the same heavy blow of their father abandoning them at an early age. They try to complement for their loss at any cost with the men in their lives.
Nuanced with contemporary afro pop culture, high-end fashion, and neon lights, the audience quickly identifies with all three characters, however different they appear. Whether it is the naivety that guides Ogor, or Rume’s gullibility when it came to seeking love, or the sanctimonious way with which Kasiena delivers sarcasm to stamp her authority, each moment with them unravels a deeper truth behind their flawed characters, and the need to keep up with appearances.
One of the major themes of the play is betrayal. An eerie quality that is quick to surface from the weak bonds of their sisterhood. Even when it seems they could thrive using each other’s forgiveness, a bigger bombshell is revealed. There are certain moments however, when their conditional love for each mended fences; but this is often short-lived in the face of sibling rivalry.
With such young, passionate thespians that embody the essence of the play on the stage of the National Arts Theatre, the show suffers a bit of technical difficulty in sound output, but this is professionally managed to give a seamless performance. Another point of excellence was reached with choreographed dance interludes; a brilliant way of engaging the audience as the acts retires to change costumes. ‘Hertitude’ is still open to the public till January 5, 2020.