By Folorunso Fatai Adisa
Drama is very important in life: You have to come on with a bang. You never want to go out with a whimper. Everything can have drama if it’s done right. Even a pancake. — Julia Child
Starters on cue, take 1, take 2, ACTION/ROLL THE PLAY. Thespians’ WORK is our PLAY. The end product of their work is entertainment and education. Lately, most movies that are produced in Nollywood lack both entertainment and education as their features. They are nothing but dog breakfast. All thanks to Femi Adebayo and a host of other stars in the movie industry who are still sustaining professionalism.
Femi Adebayo recently released an “epic-thriller” titled “The King Of Thieves (Agesinkole)” that hit the cinemas a few days ago is a 1h:50 minutes movies. The movie is a product of deceit, avarice and conspiracy. Blind trust. Reincarnation. It is a movie that deepens its audience in some of the arts and cultural practices of the Yoruba nation such as: “bata dance”, “pipa aroko ” (signs and signals)proverbs, monarchical system of govt, communal life, hunting, “Ijala(hunter chants)” and so on.
Agesinkole centres around robbery and unrest in pre colonial Yoruba communities. At a time like this when substandard Yoruba movies are mushrooming, through collaboration with some of the finest is in the industry,Femi has just raised the bar with this lovely movie.
Unless African theatre shows an acute concern with urgent issues by interrogating and interacting with history, culture and traditions, our drama and theatre, as a vital arm of the cultural superstructure of the society, stands the risk of consigning itself into permanent irrelevance.
It opened with a scene at an art gallery where a story is told about a particular work of art that’s on display. And a narrator narrates the story. The opening scenery: rustic. The chants and costumes: captivating. And the sound is magnetic.
One of the means used to sustain the attention of the audience is the creative infusion of some current phrases that resonate with the youth, “ori nta e”, “tin nba mu e sowo ejere o gbe” and so on. Comedy was reasonably sprinkled on the needed scenes as and when due.
Distinction was clearly made between the task of a hunter and the task of a warrior. Also, I like that Oba Adegbite (Odunlade) used reverse psychology on the witches and wizards.Powerful lines that evoked emotion, it worked. He didn’t do it without comedy
In Agesinkole, ritual and folklore were exploited, both as technical frameworks and as conveyors of sociopolitical statements. It embodies the dominant aesthetic of a “complete theatre”— Drama, dance and music. Rich and reasonable dialogues.
Almost all actors were on the topmost part of their games. Ibrahim is that thrilling thespian with the lovely lines and brilliant body movement. The chants, the voice modulation. The action. All are amazing as usual.
Odunlade remains regal all through. Itele surprised me and, for me, he aptly mixed his role of a warrior with some touches of comedy, speech. Peju Ogunmola, Dele Odule and Aderupoko gave a good account of the revered class they belong to. Okunnu and Olaiya Igwe proved that they are natural comedians. Lateef Adedimeji has come to stay. Toyin Abraham Ajeyemi did commendably well too. Of course, Femi Adebayo is the featly hero whose sporty and spirited performance gifts the audience with a thrilling sensation.
Although there were minor and forgivable errors in the subtitling of the movie. I feel the scenes where snakes were summoned weren’t real enough too.
Overall, until today when I saw this movie, the last time I saw a captivating battle scene where incantatory prowess and drama were displayed was in “Ogbori Elemosho”. This particular representation of historical reality is a drama that grips its audience with costumes, aesthetics, performance, and other brilliant artistic appurtenances that transmigrate them from the real world to the theatrical world where they are gifted with the history of something similar to “Ogundabede”. Indeed, Agesinkole is a revival of epic movies in Nollywood.
Folorunso, Fatai Adisa writes in from Abeokuta and can be reached [email protected]