As Saro The Musical rocked Lagos

Posted: November 14, 2013 in art/entertainment

saro 6When last Friday, October 25, 2013, the curtain rose to announce the first ever staging of the much-promoted and expected grand Broadway-style showpiece, Saro The Musical, history was made in the anals of Nigerian theatre.

It was the beginning (or rebirth — such scale of production has not happened in a long while) of grand and ambitious theatrical dreams for the Nigerian stage, especially in the musical genre.

The setting of the venue, the huge multi-dimensional stage set, the colourful, expressive costumes, the elaborate light and sound input, plus the actors, dancers, musicians, stunts-men were showed that the scale and quality of vision of the producers of the show, led by Mrs Bolanle Austen-Peters, the Managing Director of Terra Kulture Art Centre, Lagos – was indeed a treasure.

The performers all dazzled in their lovely and colourful costumes as they thrilled the audience with an enigmatic well-choreographed dance steps, competent acting skills and exquisite fusion of jazz, afro-beat, hip-hop, highlife, juju, apala, and such other contemporary Nigerian music genres.

The very first staging of the musical that Friday brought over 2000 pupils and students from various schools in Lagos into the prestigious new Oriental Hotel Lagos. The second show as expected – being a Friday afternoon — recorded a modest crowd, a little more than half of the hall but the large hall was filled to the brim for the third show at 7pm, which was graced by the former governor of Lagos State, Senator Ashiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the state’s Commissioner for Tourism, Hon Disun Holloway.

Others were the actor-couple Olu Jacobs and Joke Silva; the popular actress, Dakore Egbuson-Akande, who also played an exceptional role of a hostess in the musical, among other dignitaries.

The Day 2 of SARO was even more eventful drawing an even larger number of pupils and students for the first show, yet a modest crowd for the second and a filled hall of dignitaries for the third evening show, including the Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, the international actress Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, the poet, activist, Odia Ofeimun, the dramatist, culture journalist, Ben Tomoloju, the famed filmmakers, Tunde Kelani and Femi Odugbemi; the Architect and designer of the Freedom Park and the Kalakuta Museum, Theo Lawson; banker, Kayode Aderinokun and some top celebrities including the cpmedian Teju Babyface, the on-air-personality Steve Onu aka Yaw, and others.

All three scheduled shows were sold out. The children’s show at 11am in particular, had a massive turnout of students from about 20 schools including Pine Field School Lekki; Edgewood College Lekki; Temple Schools Ilupeju; and Greensprings Lekki.

With all the great comments from the children, some adults were also asked about the effect Saro had on them as veteran actor and actress wife Olu Jacobs and Joke Silva remarked that the show is a good step in the right direction for theatre development in Nigeria.

However, while most of the commentary was on the positive side, some of the audience members were not impressed with the sound quality of Day 1 show, though they showered endless praises on the technical input into the play which led to its rich spectacle, some complained that they found it difficult hearing the wordings of the actors but by the second day, the troublesome sound had been effectively tackled by the technical team led by Teju Kareem and his team, and thus they Day 2 was such a spleen did experience for the huge audience.

The technical team had adduced the initial sound problem to the nature of the hall – which is a banquet hall meant for dinner and balls and not a theatrical piece with its special demands on good acoustics. “We have mastered the demon, however, and tomorrow’s show will be saved from the problem, watch out,” said one of the tech team at the end of the first day, promising a better, greater show for the second day – a promise that was indeed delivered to the delight of the large turnout of audiences for the three shows.

Remarking, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Edun, one of the witnesses to this great event, said; “watching Saro has brought the whole Lagos thing back to me. Lagos is actually a land filled with opportunities where people actually come, find their dreams and keep them. I think it’s so amazing having a Nigerian do this for us; we’ve seen Fela on Broadway, Lyla King On Broadway but Saro (in Nigerian Broadway), happens to be a classic one”.

For Kayode Aderinokun (poet, art enthusiast, a banker: “This play has raised the bar from where we used to know in dance drama. It has brought real quality and substance to the art industry in the country. We are quite appreciative of what Mrs. Bolanle Austen-Peters is doing because there is quite a lot of storage of talents but you need resources and results to harness them. The combination of resources, determination and talent is what crystallized in the work we had tonight. We hope that many more people will start thinking outside the box. I would like to see many more of this.”

Courtesy: Amauche Anierobi


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