Beyond The Garb: Theatre seeks socio-political, cultural rebirth

A new stage play which interrogates the burning issues of socio-cultural and moral rebirth, and looks at the fight against corruption via persuasion, opened on March 18, at the National Theatre, and will run from March 25 till 27, with a special command performance in commemoration of World Theatre Day 2017.

Titled Beyond The Garb, the play is written and directed by Mrs. Ayo Jaiyesimi, and produced by the Thespian Family Theatre and Productions. According to Jaiyesimi, who is the CEO of Thespian Family Theatre, the 70-minute total theatre performance is their own way of keying into the change initiative in the fight against corruption in the country. “Our play this time is Beyond The Garb.

What lies beneath the little garment? For those who know Thespian Family Theatre and Productions, our plays are tied into a theme that either has impact on the community or something that the government is trying to do or some change initiative or the other. That is what we are trying to key into,” she said.

“So, Beyond The Garb, actually, is us trying to take a look at the situation that we have right now. We are talking about corruption; we are talking change, trying to change paradigms and perceptions.

And when we are talking about that, especially when you go out on the street, you will find out that everybody is good; everybody is either blaming the government or the next person for what is happening, but not looking at ourselves and see the role that we could play in transformation, change and anti-corruption.”

‘Beyond The Garb,’ is made up of some dialogues that were brought out through certain professionals. It also goes to a village called Orurimeji where they are trying to hold a coronation.

The people are happy that there is going to be a coronation but they kicked against the person that was to be crowned because the person is coming from the city. Left to them the people in the city have not done any good; they believe that the subsisting inflation is due to the fact that the people in the city are not managing the economy well.

However, somewhere along the line, after listening to the discussions, the storyteller, a lawyer, then says “yes, we think that the people in the city have not done too well but let’s look at ourselves,” she added, stressing that except the people look inward and allow the change to start from them, there will not be progress.

Beyond The Garb is “deliberate considering the time we are. For instance, we are quick at pointing accusing fingers at others such as the police on the road, but we don’t examine ourselves. So, we are using theatre to look at the fight against corruption via persuasion,” she said.

The play which also shows the police encounter with Paulinus (Omololu Sodiya) and his lover girl and the intervention of a fake prophet captures the many prophecies and deceits of our time.

Also, the play brings to the fore the get-rich-quick syndrome shown by some Nigerians, it also deals with the attitudes of the policeman who surrenders his loot from the road block to a fake prophet in order to make it big.

Beyond The Garb is rich in humour, with musical interludes featuring songs and dances drawn from major ethnic groups spiced the presentation. The cast include Teco Austin, Owumi Ugbeye, Samuel Perry, Stanley Okeke, Michael George, Joy Amata, Victor Sunday, Adesina Adejoke and Agunpopo Olamide.

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