• Sunday, December 03, 2023
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Kakadu: Telling the Nigerian story


The play ‘Kakadu’ that creates the recently independent people to unite and live as one country, called Nigeria, as they come out of the shell of colonialism. The play, which is a simple musical and dance story about the post-colonial day, centres on the young people living in Lagos. Irrespective of where they come from or tribe, Lagos has a way of accepting them all as one body.

The play whose setting is Kakadu, a popular social hangout spot of the 60s, builds and fosters relationship and friendship. Kakadu is like a tradition to all in Lagos to attend, as if it was to be an initiation. It was a place of pilgrimage, which must be attended in other to be a qualified Lagosian.

It starts with the hustling and business of Lagos city, the headlines of the newspapers carry sad news, the problems the people face while the government officials enjoy. It tells what happens after independence, just before the coup that took place.

The story of Kakadu is used as a soothing way to tell or teach our present generation of what happened in the past of this great country. The theme of the play is about: the ills of the society, the fostering of unit irrespective of tribe, it represents the vision that is Nigeria.

The story is centred on the lives of friends from different tribes and backgrounds, living in Lagos, both male and female, all in search of love and happiness. Ethnic origins are not an issue, but soon the war breaks and everybody has to run to their own ethnic parts for safety.

Kanayo Omo, the director of Kakadu, says in two words that Kakadu is: “The Future.” This production opens up quite a lot of things, but something is missing. It is as if we were younger and we ask our parents what it was to be like back then. It’s about going into your mum’s closet or old bottom box that has not been opened for years. Or asking your dad what it was like before he became a big man, what it was like to walk the street, go to school, what were your hopes and expectations.

We are using this opportunity to bring the past and the present on the same page, using the best deviance to bring together dance and drama. It’s an opportunity for us to reach out to the young people. We have some seasoned actors here to share their experience with the younger ones, and even more so the values that they give. Kakadu is a metaphor used to represent the Nation.

Norbert Young, a veteran actor who plays Emeka’s father, says: “I know that a lot has come out of nothing; a lot of creative work has gone into it. It’s the first of its kind in Nigeria, and I’m sure it would make a big difference in the entertainment scene in Nigeria. We have very good actors, very good band, very good dancers, very good choir; from what I have seen so far, it can only be described as very good.”

Tina Mba, an actress, says being a part of Kakadu is a privilege, saying “I get to play my part in the Nation building. Kakadu musical is any actors dream, because you can dance and act. Kakadu represents life, that is Nigeria which represents who we are and who we can be. The production for me is ready.”

According to Patrick Abuah, who plays the role of ‘Emeka: “When I go through the first part of Kakadu, I wish Nigeria was still like that (pre-colonial). Where everybody lives as one, irrespective of where they come from.”