The buzz about the stage play, The August Meeting, enveloped the news cycle since February and was a must-see for theatregoers. The Lagos Theatre Festival, supported by the British Council, brought the show at the Muson Centre in March. Written by Paul Ugbede and produced by Kenneth Uphopho and Chioma Onyenwe, the play revolves around the women who dared to redefine their future in the aftermath of the 1929 Aba Women’s Riots.
The August Meeting has a strong feminist slant, and it has continued to gain momentum with its resonating message of feminism. The play opened at the Lagos Fringe Festival at Freedom Park on November 18 and now it will begin its tour in major zones in Nigeria. Next stop is Abuja, at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre on November 23 and 24, in Enugu on November 28, November 29 in Awka, December 1 in Owerri and closes in Aba on December 2.
Asked about the play, producer Chioma Onyenwe responded, “The August Meeting is a play borne out of the idea that feminism in Nigeria is not a new construct and is rooted in our history. There are women who stood for what was right and fought together for equality. Unfortunately, history is not being taught in our schools anymore, so there is an urgency to use this medium to remind us of who we are as a people and what we can achieve together.”
The August Meeting examines themes that are extremely topical such as gender equality, women participation in politics, monopolised power, women as second-class citizens, motherhood, family and domesticity. It highlights the problem with patriarchy and the need for women empowerment. The production boasts of some popular names in the Nigerian entertainment industry. There’s Gloria Anozie-Young of Glamour Girls fame who plays Nwanyeruwa and erstwhile powerful vocalist Ego Ogbaro, popular for singing alongside Lagbaja. Ijeoma Aniebo and Inna Erezia are no strangers to theatre and have appeared in some of the biggest productions in Nigeria and they play the roles of Nwugo and Ikonnia respectively.
The star of the show, though, is Africa Magic’s Jemeji cast member Odera Orji who plays Mgbeke. In a review for the Guardian Life, Franklin Uhobude writes, “Odera delivers an amazing performance from start to finish, one that leaves you waiting for her to speak at every point.”
If you happen to be in Abuja from 23 to 24, give The August Meeting a watch.