Friday, June 24, 2011

Tears In the Rain: When Artistes Wail!

Tears In the Rain, a dance drama from the stable of Jiimbay Production and the Society for the Performing Arts in Nigeria (SPAN), was recently staged at the Civic Centre, Lagos, and was held as part of Jiimbay’s Corridors to Power project.

The cast include Maxwell Mathew, Frank Ogogo, Queen Itiku, Okafor Chibuzor, Ndidi Okocha Esther Morakinyo, Uche Onah, Slvia Nwachuckwu, Frank Konwea, Ugo Obiayo, Kngsley Obiaka, Blessing Idireti.

The piece starts with the personal life and experiences of the artistes. Poetic monologues are deployed to give the piece a wholesome experience. The monologues are intermittently broken with good music and richly choreographed movements.

The scenes portray the plight of Nigerian artistes: Their story, struggles and experiences and their determination to survive. The piece reveals that the only motivation for them is their love for the arts with little to show in terms of material prosperity or societal respect.

According to the choreographer, Anthony Offiong, Tears in the Rain often go unnoticed, because in the rain you cannot see the tears unless you look very closely.

As every action has its effects tears in the rain shows the ripples caused by the decision taken by those in the corridors of power. It is their decisions that result in tears in the rain. It is the policy makers in the corridors of power who failed to provide funding for the arts because arts is not important to them. It represents the struggles of every Nigerian who has artistic talent but is unable to express it because of lack infrastructure, proper funding, and an enabling environment where the creative arts can thrive.

The Corridors of Power project aims to use the medium of the creative arts, especially dance to make an impact in people’s lives.

It is time for the government to listen and act.

Founder and Director of SPAN, Mrs. Sarah Boulos said she was inspired to produce the Tears in the Rain after watching its premiere in March. She noted that the stage piece has the potential to change lives and affect people positively.

“It was a memorable experience for me. So, I said we could present it again. Our focus at SPAN is to produce life-changing stories. JIMBAY started something very new. Tears in the Rain is the connection between the audience and the artistes,” Boulos said.

She added “As you know, our objective is to impact and empower society positively with life-changing messages and core values rooted in respect, faithfulness, integrity, compassion, fruitfulness, meekness, growth and social responsibility. Our vision is to establish performing art centers where the richness, faith and diversity of Nigeria’s culture and tradition can be nurtured, preserved and showcased for all to see and experience. SPAN further aspires to be a hub of creativity where our community finds a place to escape, be inspired and be educated. Our hope is to challenge mindsets to be empowered to serve our nation and affect our environment to provide a promising future for the generation to come.”

Boulos disclosed that apart from the presentation of the play this year SPAN has embarked on a chain community projects under the tag, Art for Change.

The project will be journeying into some undeserved regions in Lagos to bring the performing arts to their neighbourhood not only to make them feel wanted and cared for, but also to educate and empower them for various career opportunities. SPAN is alreadt set to open performing arts community centers in Ijegun, Mushin, Surulere, lkeja, and Ikoyi.

For Anthony Offiong, “our hope is to use this stage performance change people’s way of thinking and generate a greater appreciation for the artiste and his art in our society. We want to see artistes being valued and respected more and having a more important role in decision and policy making for our great nation and continent.”

The Administrative Director of the group, Ugonwa Obiayo, said the outfit Corridors of Power project was endorsed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) last year.

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