By Okpu Anthony
ALL is set for the stage production of ‘Brittle-ing Diamond’, as part of Project Nigeria@60: ‘The Future Is Now’ — a series of activities put together by Open Doors Series to celebrate Nigeria at 60.
Written by Ahmed Yerima, produced by Ayobamidele Aladekomo, directed by Niji Akanni, ‘Brittle-ing Diamond’, performed by the Segun Adefila-led youth-focused group, Crown Troupe Of Africa, reflects on the sacrifice of the military in Nigeria’s political trajectory, spotlighting its role in helping to sustain and consolidate democracy.
The production note for the play, as articulated by the Executive Producer, Teju Kareem, states: “It was the military that rescued the First Republic from its descent into chaos. But for its intervention at that critical period in history, the entity called Nigeria would have disintegrated – barely five years into its attainment of self-governance from the colonial powers”.
Kareem continued, “The Nigerian Army, like the nation it helped to rescue, has had its own plethora of challenges; much of which arose from the nature and structure of the country and the idiosyncrasies of its military personnel. For instance, through its protocol and operations, it helped to stabilise the polity and preserve the unity of the nation, the Nigerian public, in the process experienced the good, the bad and the ugly effects of military rule, especially in those years when trained military personnel became overtly involved in partisan politics, and like politicians, became manipulative of the perceived weaknesses in the system and participated in wasting or mismanaging the resources of the Nation.”
According to the technical theatre specialist, the military, however, “redeemed itself by returning the country to democracy thereby reinstalling our hard-earned independence. And by its continuous sacrifices in the theatre of war, the Military has helped to sustain and consolidate democratic governance in the last two decades.”
‘Brittle-Ing Diamond’ puts a mirror in the face of Nigeria as it clocks its 60th year after independence. A re-work of ‘Mirror Cracks’ by Ahmed Yerima, the Brittle-ing Diamond has been refocused to examine the impact and relationship of the Nigeria Military with the Nigerian populace.
The play also takes a critical look at salient issues in the military such as post-traumatic stress disorder. The re-work of the play is done specifically for the 60th celebration of the Nigerian nation; the themes were selected in a series of workshops which involved the producer, Ayobamidele Aladekomo and the Executive Producer, Teju Kareem.
An all-women producing project
PROJECT Nigeria@60, an initiative of Open Doors Series, is anchored on six women producers strength of Lilian Amah, overall producer; Dr Razinat Talabi-Muhammed, Associate producer Adjudication; Ayobamidele Aladekomo, Associate producer: Theatre for Nigeria @60; Haneefat ikharo, Associate producer, Essay: The Future is Now; Foluke Michael, Associate producer, Painting for Unity; and Lynda Amadi, Associate Producer, marketing; with Teju Kareem, the CEO of Zmirage Multimedia company, as Executive Producer.
Crown Troupe of Africa is a dance-theatre company which came to light and was professionally established on June 1996. It engages in the integrated arts of dance, drama, music, and visual arts with inclination towards the rich African cultural heritage. The Troupe is a total-theatre company comprising artists whose forte is the creation of new but socially relevant works.
The company is made up of young people who share a common belief in the viability of the Arts as a tool for social re-engineering, a major motive of their dedication to creating works that are socially relevant, thought-provoking and empowering.
Led by the award winning Segun Adefila, Crown Troupe is famous for their ground-breaking, unique and innovative rendition of works which are flexible enough to be performed in conventional and unconventional performance spaces.
Adefila is known to actively seek out young people in mostly poor environments to mentor and train them into performing artistes.
Stated the producers of the theatre project: “One of the purposes of the production of this play is to also activate a mentorship programme even in the arts, by combining veteran and young actors, experienced and new producers, experienced digital operators and budding ones alike to create a production that will be solely on zoom and enjoyable to the audience in the comfort of their homes.
“The overall virtual theatre experience is to tell the story of all heroes that have sacrificed their lives to the military and most importantly their civilian families.”