Adebola Rayo: Kakadu- A cocktail of art and history (Y! Pop-of-Culture)

by Adebola Rayo

AdebolaRayo

It is easy to relate with the folks in Kakadu. You see Nigeria in it, Lagos and the lives that we still lead; the lives that we have led; the lives that past generations have led. You see the choices that our leaders have made and the effect that those choices had on the people.

I have seen a number of stage productions in Nigeria, even a few musicals – some Crown Troupe performances on much smaller scales, and the non-homogenous ‘Fela!’, which was as grand a musical as one could have. However, nothing prepared me for ‘Kakadu, the Musical’.

Kakadu is a journey, one very much like life: sad and deep, funny and intriguing.

It is 1965 and Lagos is a city of people who have migrated from different parts of Nigeria. The play is woven around the proprietor of Kakadu Nightclub, Lugard Da Rocha (popularly called Lord Lugard), four male friends: Emeka, Kola, Dapo and Osahon, and four female friends: Eno, Bisi, Amonia and Hassana.

In the beginning, they are young men and women living in Nigeria just five years after independence, and there is talk of the money that is being wasted by politicians and speculations about an impending military coup. But for the most part, they are carefree young adults, living the life, loving and clubbing.

Then there’s a military coup, a civil war and the story of Nigeria begins to unfold.

It is easy to relate with the folks in Kakadu. You see Nigeria in it, Lagos and the lives that we still lead; the lives that we have led; the lives that past generations have led. You see the choices that our leaders have made and the effect that those choices had on the people. For example, in the scene about the military restructuring: A police officer loses his job, is forced to send his family back to the village and eventually takes to drinking and, subsequently, to crime to make a living and feed his family.

Friends who never had a reason to be divided along tribal lines suddenly begin to ask whether they should be enemies or try to salvage the relationships that existed before the war. Two families — one Igbo and one Yoruba — that were friends before the war, fight their children’s inter-marriage.

It is a remarkable rendition of history through the lives of the people who lived through that time. I was impressed to see the things I had learnt in school or read in books as just historical facts brought to life in an evocative manner – so haunting that the lady next to me cried through the Biafra War scenes.

The storyline was well-balanced and delivered in a manner that was neither preachy nor optimistic of some utopic future/society.

The music was top notch. It was carefully selected; one could tell that a lot of thought had gone into the selection of the songs and the delivery was flawless.

The production did not have the faults typical of Nigerian stage productions. There were no microphone glitches. The stage was well built, the lighting was well used to set moods and it was a stellar production all round – a great way for me to end 2013 art-wise.

If the mark of a good stage production is its ability to hold the audience’s attention and evoke emotion(s) in them, then ‘Kakadu, the Musical’ was definitely a great one.

 

‘Kakadu, The Musical’ was:

Written by Uche Nwokedi, SAN

Produced by Winifred Nwokedi

Directed by Kanayo Omo

Musical Directing by Beneth Ogbeiwi

————————

Adebola Rayo is a full-time writer and editor with years of experience in print and online media, and publishing. Her works have been published in newspapers and magazines. She has two law degrees but has no idea what to do with them. In her spare time, she is a painter (of her nails). She runs an art site: www.artyliving.com and tweets at: @adebolarayo

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

 

I have seen a number of stage productions in Nigeria, even a few musicals – some Crown Troupe performances on much smaller scales, and the non-homogenous ‘Fela!’, which was as grand a musical as one could have. However, nothing prepared me for ‘Kakadu, the Musical’.

Kakadu is a journey, one very much like life: sad and deep, funny and intriguing. 

It is 1965 and Lagos is a city of people who have migrated from different parts of Nigeria. The play is woven around the proprietor of Kakadu Nightclub, Lugard Da Rocha (popularly called Lord Lugard), four male friends: Emeka, Kola, Dapo and Osahon, and four female friends: Eno, Bisi, Amonia and Hassana.

In the beginning, they are young men and women living in Nigeria just five years after independence, and there is talk of the money that is being wasted by politicians and speculations about an impending military coup. But for the most part, they are carefree young adults, living the life, loving and clubbing.

Then there’s a military coup, a civil war and the story of Nigeria begins to unfold.

It is easy to relate with the folks in Kakadu. You see Nigeria in it, Lagos and the lives that we still lead; the lives that we have led; the lives that past generations have led. You see the choices that our leaders have made and the effect that those choices had on the people. For example, in the scene about the military restructuring: A police officer loses his job, is forced to send his family back to the village and eventually takes to drinking and, subsequently, to crime to make a living and feed his family.

Friends who never had a reason to be divided along tribal lines suddenly begin to ask whether they should be enemies or try to salvage the relationships that existed before the war. Two families — one Igbo and one Yoruba — that were friends before the war, fight their children’s inter-marriage. 

It is a remarkable rendition of history through the lives of the people who lived through that time. I was impressed to see the things I had learnt in school or read in books as just historical facts brought to life in an evocative manner – so haunting that the lady next to me cried through the Biafra War scenes. 

The storyline was well-balanced and delivered in a manner that was neither preachy nor optimistic of some utopic future/society.

The music was top notch. It was carefully selected; one could tell that a lot of thought had gone into the selection of the songs and the delivery was flawless.

The production did not have the faults typical of Nigerian stage productions. There were no microphone glitches. The stage was well built, the lighting was well used to set moods and it was a stellar production all round – a great way for me to end 2013 art-wise.

If the mark of a good stage production is its ability to hold the audience’s attention and evoke emotion(s) in them, then ‘Kakadu, the Musical’ was definitely a great one.

 

‘Kakadu, The Musical’ was:

Written by Uche Nwokedi, SAN

Produced by Winifred Nwokedi

Directed by Kanayo Omo

Musical Directing by Beneth Ogbeiwi

 

Adebola Rayo is a full-time writer and editor with years of experience in print and online media, and publishing. Her works have been published in newspapers and magazines. She has two law degrees but has no idea what to do with them. In her spare time, she is a painter (of her nails). She runs an art site: www.artyliving.com and tweets at: @adebolarayo 

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