New Telegraph

ETC 2022: Footprints of David in thrilling performance of The Rejected Stone

After its successful premiere and tour of campuses of universities in the South West that offers theatre and allied courses, with ‘The Rejected Stone’, the acclaimed theatre troupe, Footprints of David (FOD) Art Academy again got a rousing reception with its performance of the same play during this year’s edition of Eko Theatre Carnival, a multi-disciplinary festival.

Initiated by a notable dancer, choreographer, actor, poet and director, Segun Adefila, fondly called Oriade, the ETC 2022, an eight-day feast’ of lavish artistic and cultural menus that is mainly domiciled in the Shomolu- Bariga-Akoka axis but with extensions to other parts of the city.

Thus, for the teeming theatre community in Lagos, it was opportunity to savour the breath-taking performance by the Footprints of David’s stage presentation of ‘The Rejected Stone’, a play written by Lekan Balogun. Directed by Seun Awobajo and choreographed by Rilwan Rasheed, ‘The Rejected Stone’ is about a young girl named, Igbayilola (Esther Ogungbàmílà) who lost her family at a very tender age and increasingly got abused and maltreated by her step-mother, Niniola (Eniola Balogin) and and stepsisters. She receives succour from Olokun, who brings about a positive turn in her destiny.

Following Olokun’s advice and help, she is later considered suitable to marry Prince Oranmiyan, after successfully passing through the ‘sandal test’.

But beyond staging of the play, it was a rich harvest talent, creativity and brilliant performance by youngster, especially the lead characters, Esther Ogungbàmílà as Igbayilola; Eniola Balogin as Niniola; Somtochukwu Okani as Oranmiyan; including Muiz Adebayo as Odua (king); Waris Rasheed as Narrator; Ideraoluwa Rabiu as Rolake; Sodiq Adenaiya as Olugbon; Shada Awotunde as Aresa; Aduragbemi Àpoyin as Akoda; Mariam Olawale as Àdùnní; Hikma Abdusalam as Amope; Bisi john as Olokun, and others.

Speaking with New Telegraph at the end of the performance, a Professor of Theatre, Film and Cultural Studies, Lagos State University (LASU), Tunji Azeez described the performance as topnotch, adding that Footprints of David deserves support both from governments and corporate bodies as well as individuals. “For me, today’s performance is top-notch as usual. I know the troupe very well. The level of concentration of the kids, their artistry and professionalism, you won’t expect that these are kids.

It’s a good adaptation, but it is one thing for you to have a good play; it is another thing for you to have it delivered well. I think, today what the kids did is topnotch from all point of view,” he said.

He added, “I think the Footprints of David is a troupe that needs support both from governments and corporate bodies as well as individuals. If you imagine the fact that this young man, Seun Awobajo, is taking children off the streets, off crimes, vices and all forms of criminality, then this is a troupe that should be supported by everybody – governments, corporate bodies and individuals.”

On the argument about its adaptation from the Cinderella story, he said: “That’s one thing that we forget. Most times, because we don’t actually document our own folklore, we see everything that we do as from the West.

Yes, while I agree that there is a Cinderaler story that the world knows, but we must remember that in Yoruba folk tale there is a story exactly like that, of a child who is being maltreated by the parent or an ophan who is been maltreated. Even in this contemporary world we have such storiey, in most traditional African folktales’ we have them.

However, because we do not document them, we do not promote them the we should do, the way the West is doing, we see it as an adaptation of Cinderela. Stories are usually universal; it is a universal story that we can relate with. Of course, we have that Cinderela story, there is no doubt that the writer has taken elements of the Cinderela story, but also blended it with African mythology, as we see Olokun, we see Sango, Oramiyan.

 

All of those show that there is a blend of the worlds. The the story tells the story that is human and that anybody in the world can relate with.”

 

The Eko Theatre Carnival, ETC, debuted in 2016 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Crown Troupe of Africa. The objective is to use the instrumentality of the arts in all of its dimensions to mobilise the community towards collective goals of unifying the diverse peoples and cultures for communal sharing and social, economic and environmental advancements

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