Some Prominent arts enthusiasts have been treated to an exciting preview of Nigeria’s first indigenous music drama: SARO The Musical at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Leading the pack was Lagos State Commissioner for Culture and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Mr. Disu Holloway, renowned actress, Taiwo Ajayi-Lycett, Joke Silver, culture advocate, journalist and impresario, Mr Ben Tomoloju, Tuface Idibia, and Prof. Ahmed Yerima of the Redeemer University.
Saro is a story of four young men who came to Lagos in search of a better life. It is a story of hope. It is also a story about love and jealousy.There is a 75-man cast composed of a 25-man orchestra and other actors.
The first three scenes depict a typical example of what a non-Lagosian experiences when he arrives in the city. Executive producer of Saro, The Musical Mrs Bolanle Austen-Peters who envisioned the project said that until recently, music drama has been imported to Nigeria. She said that the play is created to cause an effectively music drama revolution in a production accompanied with a lot of effects that is conceived to compete favourably with America’s Broadway Musicals.
She said the production of the play started in the last three months, and she wrote the story with the help of two script writers. She said that she was amazed at the quality of people that came forth after the audition.
Mrs Austen-Peters said she and some organsations like Terra culture were able to pull the project through. She said that because she realised that when she called for sponsorship from corperate bodies, they hesitated but these organsations will pay one million dollars to bring a foreign act.
“Every day we gather to rehearse, about 70 people have to be catered for; from feeding to transport fair. Theatre performances cannot go far if you do not have the right facilities in place,” she said.
She said that corporate organisations need to support the project so that at one point, the play would be shown outside the country.
Prof. Yerima said while watching the play, he remebered when he was still performing on stage, adding that it was a wondeful piece.
Mr Holloway disclosed that the Lagos State government is doing its best to support the art. He said the play was well timed, noting that Lagosians are too busy running after so many things thereby forgetting that they needed to contribute to the growth of the city by supporting projects like this.
Mrs Ajai-Lycett, who lamented the poor funding of art described the project as a welcome development. In her words, “I hope that Nigerians are going to have more of this. Africa culture is very large and it makes Africans have a lot of story to tell.Nigeria taught the world how to dance. This drama will help the audience to have a re-think about the happenings in the society.The government and the people will have to do something about it. After showing Lagosians the mirror of their lives, we should ask these questions of how can we take a step forward. How can we support more of the art?” she said.
Founder of EbonyTV, Mosunmola Abudu said the play is a reflection of the society, noting that it shows that a lot of work needs to be done to change the ills in the society.
The two directors of the play are Gbenga Yusuf and Kenneth Uphophoso. Technical Director (Lights and Sound), Teju Kareem (Zmirage) and Music Director, Ayo Ajayi (MUSON Centre). The cast parades other reputable names including Kemi Lala Akindoju, Paul Alumona, Linda Anumba Nwanneka, Eferoghene Awusa, William Benson, Okafor Francis Chibuzor, Awele Dekpe, Patrick Diabuah, Adesuwa Etomi and Anthony Offiong Edet, among others.