Day 7 of ongoing LAGOS BLACK HERITAGE FESTIVAL 2014 presents LANKE OMU -- a reinterpretation of Kola Ogunmola's decades-old classic, "Lanle Omuti (The Palmwine Drinkards)", directed by Tunde Awosanmi and produced by Tunde Kelani

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Day 7 of ongoing LAGOS BLACK HERITAGE FESTIVAL 2014 presents LANKE OMU -- a reinterpretation of Kola Ogunmola's decades-old classic, "Lanle Omuti (The Palmwine Drinkards)", directed by Tunde Awosanmi and produced by Tunde Kelani Time: 7pm Venue: Freedom Park, Lagos Gate: FREE “Lanke Omu the Palmwine Drinkard”: Palmwine Drinkard, Omuti Re-discovered (A Note from the Artistic Director, TUNDE AWOSANMI). The Palmwine Drinkard: Omuti was premiered on the Nigerian stage, precisely the Arts Theatre of the University of Ibadan, in April 1963. It was a product of that versatile actor and renowned practitioner of the Yoruba folk-opera, Kola Ogunmola, who adapted it from Amos Tutuola’s novel, The Palmwine Drinkard. At birth, the drama was not only expressive of a dominant theatrical style which had become a force and a definitive icon of Nigeria’s post-colonial – the opera – it joined other Yoruba operatic experiments on the formal stage such as Oba Koso and Obaluaye to register the adaptive and experimental spirit of the theatre practitioners of the age. And, of course, Kola Ogunmola’s achievement was that his invention helped in pioneering the adaptation of novels to stage. This performance edition of the classic fifty-one years after its original invention could be aptly regarded as a ‘re-invention’. It is a resurrection of Kola Ogunmola’s genius as exemplified in the Yoruba libretto and also a re-discovery of a tradition that has been overtaken by the now pervasive non-operatic dramatic mode. Our re-interpretation has kept faith with the original non-realism. Operas and operettas are convenient hosts to dramatic visions of the fantasia mode and that is the reason Lanke’s dream has offered us the latitude to journey as far as India and Brazil in search of his palmwine tapper. Brazil, especially, gives us a chance of culturally re-uniting with our kinsmen in the Diaspora in the spirit of a cardinal objective of the Lagos Black Heritage Festival. I have relied on some contemporary and popular Yoruba musical forms like as vehicles of transition from scene to scene and establishment of certain locales. This device has helped quite a lot in overcoming, to a reasonable extent, the threatening monotony perceivable in the operatic delivery of the original performance. The drama’s rich and diverse imaginative landscape has also accorded the design an unlimited explorative leverage of creating a fusion of realistic, non-realistic, symbolic and expressionistic graphic aura for the production through set, light and costume while dance has been simply capitalized upon as the transitory capital of identity depiction of various locations of Lanke’s voyage in dreamland. Like Lanke’s dream, the play has taken us through a journey of self-discovery and re-discovery. Social commentary temptation, then, has become inevitable in a 21st century interpretation of a fantasia that presents dreamland spaces that are obviously parallel to certain actual human spaces. The audience would, therefore, find an exciting but disturbing metaphor of our Nigerian space in ‘Ilu Ika’. It has, definitely, been a joy creatively collaborating in an environment of understanding, commitment to quality and hardwork with Tunde Kelani as producer and the team of exceptionally talented artistes that I have been privileged to work with on this project in diverse relevant capacities. This presentation represents for me the first phase of a hopefully robust performance research dialogue with Ogunmola and his text. This year’s performance of the Palmwine Drinkard is coincidentally unfolding in the month of April and that makes it fifty-one years since it first hit the stage. It is to his pioneering status, irresistible artistic genius and memorable presence, then, that this re-invention is dedicated

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