Theatre at Unimaid

I wanted to say a word or two about the theatre performances I have attended at the department. Basically, the arts programme here is organised in a way that students have to attend classes in all arts disciplines during the first and second year of their studies, only during the third and fourth are they allowed to specialise in the practical areas. Hence, there are students attending drama classes in all years and every one of them has to present a performance as part of their practical examination. Only the fourth year’s students do not act anymore but are expected to direct the plays of the years below them. Hence, they were three performances on three different evenings. And, I have to confess that I enjoyed the one of the third year students the best, which probably had as much to do with the plays – yes, they chose to rather short ones instead of one long one, Kwesi Kay’s ‘Maama’ and ‘The Game’ by Femi Euba – as with the performances. I guess third year students simply have more acting experience than those in the years below. Also because the course is not compulsory anymore there is a smaller group which, I assume, results in greater attention being paid to individual performers during the preparations. One thing I noticed, however, was that none of the plays was located in a northern Nigerian, let local (Borno State) context. Mr. Ododo, a guest lecturer currently on sabbatical from the University of Ilorin, explained that there are only very few plays situated in or by authors from the north and of these he considers none really worth performing. He diplomatically suggested that this is set to change with the expansion of university education, including the establishment of further drama departments. However, I am wondering what kind of plays there are and whether I would agree with him that they are not worth tackling. Also, can it really be so hard to establish a co-operation with the English department at the beginning of the year and try to put something together, just from student’s experience of their immediate environment? I mean, they have performed plays written by students of the university before.
And, finally some photos, each from a different play. Notice the white man in the photos in the middle. Weird, is that how Afro-Brits or Afro-Germans feel when they see whites dressing up as blacks? Funny feeling.

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