The much anticipated 2022 Muson Festival kicks off in grand style on Friday, October 21 with the cast and crew of the Festival Drama– Childe Internationale, set to mesmerise the audience with impressive displays on stage and to set the right tone for the entire festival duration.
The play will run three sessions. Beginning from Friday, October 21st by 6 pm, Saturday the 22nd will feature two shows– by 12 pm and 6 pm, at the Agip Recital Hall, Muson Centre, Lagos.
One of the events of the festival’s opening ceremonies, Childe Internationale is a play written in 1987 by Africa’s first Nobel Laureate—Wole Soyinka. The Muson Festival Drama sponsored by Chevron, is produced by AI International and directed by Julius Obende, a tested and trusted thespian.
While briefing the press on Wednesday, Obende said the choice of Childe Internationale as the 2022 Muson Festival Drama wasn’t hard to make. He said: “when the call came to propose a play, I didn’t think twice. I knew Wole Soyinka’s Childe Internationale would do just best because it’s all encompassing in the context of satisfaction and education. The state of the country is stressful enough, so I will do a play that would make people relax, laugh and at the same time take home vital lessons.”
The artistic director of AI Production– Obende, spoke further on the themes, audience expectation and the conflicts that help to realize the play’s full potential on stage.
“The theme(s) best suit this time that we are in, especially when a former governor blames the American, Canadian and other countries for offering Nigerian youths visas to come into their country to study.
“It is to show their gross irresponsibility and negligence towards, not only the academic sector, but many other sectors in the country. To think that even in the play and in real life, their children never attend universities here but rather go abroad, all these are what they still use as campaign manifestos. They make cheap promises and that’s where it ends. In the play, we get to see the consequences of these gross irresponsibilities,” he said.
The cast and crew consist of veterans and emerging stage actors like; Dr. Tunji Sotimirin of the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Lagos, who will play the lead role of a father whose Afrocentric outlooks on life are at variance with his daughter’s. Other members of the cast and crew include: Uchechika Elumelu, Edgar Eriakha, Oluchi Odii, Stanley Okeke, and a host of others.
Dr. Tunji Sotimirin said “the play’s message is especially urgent now that the phenomenon of ‘japa’ (leaving for greener pastures abroad) is a topical issue in Nigeria and all over Africa.” The veteran thespian and academic also added that the audience should come with high expectations and that the twists and turns of the play will be more than satisfactory.
Obende observed that some plays are best left in drama form but that in ‘Childe Internationale’: “I infused some music and dance where necessary to enhance the play. The play promises a long time experience and some catch phrases from the actors that would never leave your head.
Obende added that the audience would learn how not to allow negative western influences destroy the sanctity of the family structure and society. Noting that, the African man may need to discipline his own family in order to protect his home and society from a kind of impact that may put him in a sorry state, remove his pride and render him incapable of controlling his home.
Seasoned with humour and satire, Childe Internationale is timely at a time the ‘japa’ syndrome is becoming endemic and more especially in the phase of corrosive effects of westernization. The play’s concerns are aptly in sync with the 2022 MUSON Festival theme (Resurgence) as it helps to explore the intricacies of culture clash or the variance that exists between African ideals and that of the West, by placing two interesting generations side-by-side to convey fascinating yet nuanced details.
The fundamental message is the need to reaffirm belief in oneself, in our cultural heritage (country) and in humanity in general in the wake of the devastating consequences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the crux of the Muson Festival this year!