There's a Wole Soyinka tribute going on at Terra Kulture in honour of the noble laureate's 73rd birthday. All through the month of July, there will be a stage adaptation of a Wole Soyinka play. The tribute entitled A Season of Soyinka started yesterday with a play - the only one not written by Wole Soyinka - called Who's Afraid of Wole Soyinka?.
The play, written by Wole Oguntokun, is a sharp and witty look at the Abacha regime, which satirises real-life characters and events. The eponymous hero never makes an appearance, although there are many references to him. The mention of his name always provokes a strong reaction from the characters, whether it is one of fear, admiration or dislike.
I went in not knowing what the play would be about and loved that I really enjoyed it. It was a shame though that there were so few people at the show that I attended. I've become keenly aware that the arts are generally considered to be a luxury and a priviledge to be enjoyed mostly by the elite. However, there are so many art events that I have attended that didn't cost the earth or were (even better) free. For instance, I went to the Committee for Relevant Arts (CORA)'s annual book and arts fair last year, which was free. Terra Kulture also has exhibitions on and these are free too.
For many artists who I have spoken to, financial gain - while necessary - tends to be far less important than the process of expressing themselves through their art and finding an appreciative audience. Therefore, it must be tough to pour so much passion into works that do not reach as many people as they could. Or perhaps I am wrong. I have also heard some artists say that even if no one read their books, listened to their music or saw their artwork, they would keep on producing them nevertheless because they have stories inside them that they need to tell.
Anyway, A Season of Soyinka continues at Terra Kulture every Sunday this month with 2 shows at 3PM and 6PM. You missed one great play, so please try and check out some of the others.
July 8: The Lion and the Jewel
Directed by Tunji Sotimirin
July 15: Death and the King's Horseman
Directed by Segun Adefila
July 22: Camwood on the Leaves
Directed by Lekan Balogun
July 29: The Jero Plays
Directed by Wole Oguntokun