For about an hour, live theatre enthusiasts were feted to a rich theatrical piece by the acclaimed Kininso Concepts Productions, a Lagos-based professional theatre/ entertainment company that uses the art to communicate to people and the world at large. The play titled ‘Cream Body,’ besides its rich theatrical resonance, seeks to educate and sensitise the general public on the need to appreciate and value their natural skin type and colour. Cream Body premiered on March 18.
It was one of the performances at the just concluded Lagos Theatre Festival 2O21, which was held virtually between March 18 and 21. Lagos Theatre Festival (LTF), the largest performing arts festival in Nigeria and West Africa, was created to promote theatre in unconventional spaces.
Through the festival, theatre makers and producers are supported to expand their practice beyond traditional theatre spaces by creating work that Arts responds to any given space. The festivals was founded by British Council in 2013, as part of its fostering exchange, collaboration and strengthen relationships between Nigerian and British artistes, through the presentation of high quality Nigerian and British theatre.
British Council handed over the running and management of the Lagos Theatre Festival to an independent board in 2019. Since its inception in 2013, Lagos Theatre Festival has hosted six festivals, with 260 productions, 50 workshops and over 420 shows. This year’s edition of the Lagos Theatre Festival, the 8th in the series, was on the theme ‘RECKLESS ART,’ and all the events for the festival were virtually delivered following the government’s restriction on large gathering owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The play Cream Body was significant given its thematic thrust, which is in line with the cardinal objectives of KINISO Concept. In an interview with Saturday Telegraph, the Chief Executive Officer, Joshua Alabi, who doubles as the director of the play, revealed that ‘Cream Body’, with a crop of talented artistes, includ-ing Julius Obende, who played the role of Run N Shine, Aniefiok Inyang (Spirikoko), Oluchukwu Ukachukwu (Naked Weapon), Nnamdi Agbo (HR) and Princess Obuseh as FK (Full Kit), “addresses skin colours, bleaching, toning, pigmentation, colourism, identity as we pay special attention to our skin and identity. ‘‘Shunning stereotypes, prejudices and biases based on skin colour eradicating those demeaning utterance we use especially against women believing their skin colour or body feature equates to their brain capacity.”
According to him, the play was inspired during their research work on ‘SKIN TONE’ with the Theater O.N Berlin as part of her 2020 edition of the Fratz International Festival. “It was generally addressing the topic of skin colours, bleaching and toning, black and green knuckles, colourism and racial discrimination, identity etc. ‘‘Cream-Body sprang from that concept and the piece, though a comedic and with hilarious undertones, focuses on the intricacies, effects, and attitude of skin bleaching on men and women and how it affects their identity generally,” said Alabi, who is a creative strategist, ideas and content developer, storyteller, trainer and consultant.
“At Kininso-koncepts we look at situations around us and transfer them into performances (dance, drama, music, poetry, drums ensemble etc) that even the handicapped people would understand with the aid of dance, drama, music, movements and poetry making it accessible at conventional and unconventional performance spaces. “Our vision is to have a standard repertory theatre just like our foreign counterparts whose government believes in the Art as a tool for reconstruction. ‘A nation without theatre is a voiceless nation,’ he added.