A long promised Broadway-style musical production by BAP (acronym for Bolanle Austen-Peters) Productions hits the stage during the yuletide season. Okechukwu Uwaezuoke reports
There are certainly of good reasons to look out for Wakaa! Not the least among them is the antecedents of its creators, BAP (acronym for Bolanle Austen-Peters) Productions. Indeed, BAP Production’s creative insight, which ensured the successful run of this latest Broadway-style musical’s precursors – Saro the Musical 1 and its revised version Saro the Musical 2 – remains its best assets.
So, the news is that Wakaa! the Musical premieres next month during the yuletide season at the MUSON Centre in Onikan, Lagos. “With tremendous interest in quality Nigerian Musical productions from foreign media houses, we believe that the Nigerian Theatre industry can be a major tourist attraction, job and wealth creation driver and tool for socio-economic development,” enthuses a recently-issued press statement from BAP Productions.
Precisely, the much looked-forward-to production, whose main sponsors are MTN, Africa Magic, Dormanlong, will be staged from Wednesday, December 30 to Sunday, January 3 at the MUSON Centre’s Shell Hall.
The details of the production schedule show that there would be two performances of the musical (3 pm and 7:30 pm) on Wednesday, December 30. This schedule will be repeated on Friday, January 1 and Saturday, January 2. But on Thursday, December 31, the two performances will be by 1 pm and 5 pm. Meanwhile, there will be three performances on the last day – Sunday, January 3 – and they are billed to hold by 1 pm, 4 pm and 7:30 pm.
The storyline of Wakaa! the Musical swirls around the life’s experiences of six young Nigerian graduates – Tosan, Kike, Ngozi, Ahmed, Rex and Alero. It offers glimpses of both their trials and triumphs, as stomp into the society full of expectations. Despite their diverse backgrounds, they stand on a common ground after graduation. A wager between the six develops into a twist as they are hit by the realities of life and the folly of their choices. Their eventual reunion brings the tale to a full circle.
In the production, Tosan is depicted as a head-in-the-clouds jingoist, with radical revolutionary views of a corruption-free Nigeria set on the path to greatness. He falls in love with Kike, who has been described as an “extravagant and frivolous girl from a rich home.”
His brilliant ideas and strategies help his uncle become a state governor while he gets appointed as the latter’s special adviser on youth affairs. A beautiful house, a luxurious car and a personal security team are part of the perks of his office. It comes as no surprise that he asks Kike’s hand in marriage, which turns out easier than he imagined.
Then, there is his cavalcade of great ideas on the governor’s pending tray. Their realisation should turn the lives of the people of the state for the better. But then, the governor complains about lack of funds, which he blames for restraining his plans for improving the lives of his people. Tosan naively believes his uncle. Thus, he is oblivious of the fact that his proposed projects provided the excuse for his uncle and associates to siphon money. Soon, he suffers hard times, no thanks to his idealistic pursuit of his anti-corruption mission and change mantra.
His partner, Kike, meanwhile has other ideas about life. A pampered and over-indulged daughter of a wealthy Nigerian businessman, she desires nothing less than marrying a wealthy man, travelling around the world, shopping in the best and most expensive shops outside Nigeria and taking life one luxurious day after the other. If she sticks to Tosan, it is not just because of his good looks and smartness, but also because he seems to have a very bright future. Perhaps – who knows? – she could one day become a first lady.
The other female character in the play, Ngozi, offers a more appealing persona. She is serious humanitarian and kind-hearted medical doctor, who returns to her rural roots to give back to the community. Once a victim of child labour, she is determined to use her education and position to not only combat the plague, but also tackle the related child-trafficking as well as actively partake in all other forms of community service and development. She meets a motor spare-parts dealer, Cletus, whose virtual illiteracy poses a challenge. But that is only when one gets past his coarse exterior, beneath which lurks a passionate idealist.
Flip over to Ahmed, the get-rich-quick, I-must-check-out of-Nigeria type. His dream trip to England becomes a reality after he has mopped up his entire life saving plus the assistance he gets from his online date, Cassandra. Meeting the latter in person turns out to be one of the many disappointments he encounters in his new environment. Indeed, she is not that beautiful sweet lady he met on social media, who he has been dating for well over a year! Cassandra is both in person and character a lie.
Then meet Rex, that flamboyant, happy-go-lucky dancer with the first-class illusion of himself as an artist and a promoter of art. He is a parvenu, the rich-in-waiting type. Knowing the sting of being poor early in his life, he has sworn to make it and to make it at all cost, by hook or by crook. This is even when this involves swindling some unsuspecting youths.
With their money, he moves from where he used to live in Festac Town to a nouveau-rich suburb, Ajah. He also buys himself a car and thus his social profile rises. He makes friends with only the rich and worms his way into their lives and their pockets, ripping them off without them knowing it in the process. Losing Kike to Tosan hurts his ego, hence he vows to either get her back or marry a girl from a wealthier home than hers.
Finally, there is Alero, the backstabbing friend who is envious of Kike and is willing to do anything to take her place.
“Wakaa! the Musical takes you on an emotional roller coaster and is a strong satire of Nigeria’s politics,” the organisers’ press statement adds.
The family-orientated two-hour stage musical performance of drama, comedy, live music and dance explores the scheming, intrigues, betrayals and games people play in life.