Saturday, 13 April 2019

Before We Accept “The Proposal”

By 'Joba Ojelabi

“Logistics”; the most probable reason when a Nigerian event doesn’t start on time. So much that any experienced Master of Ceremony knows that the first thing to do at an event is to apologize for “starting behind schedule” and if the MC is euphemistic enough, the cause would be “logistics” or in other words, “reasons beyond their control” which leaves any rational mind wondering how feasible this is. How does the organizer of an event in a continent not known so much for natural disasters claim that the organization of an event simply went beyond their control? And this phenomenon becomes so recurrent that it gets it own name; “the African time”. Luckily, Falz, Dike Chukwumerije and the Simply Poetry team has shown us that artists and organisers of Shows can actually be true to time; that if a show is slated for 4:00pm, it can actually start by 4:00pm. Sadly, this was the first failure of Joshua Peter’s “The Proposal”. The first show was slated for 4:00pm but would not start until about 30 minutes after, leaving the early birds not with good seats, but with subtle aches from standing outside Oduduwa Hall longer than planned.

However, as often is with entertainment shows, the thrill of the show helps the audience forget any prior inconvenience and so when the play opens in the sitting room of a Yoruba man, for many, it begins on a clean slate. “The Proposal” just as the name implies walks us through the adventures of a man seeking the hand of woman in marriage, or as the Yoruba more poetically describe the act; a man seeking to harvest a flower from another man’s garden. Interestingly, the play does it with a three-man cast, one location (obviously) and a blend of music, dance and drama.

Another point to note in the musical is the passion with which the actors play their parts. So much that even when the ‘technicalities’ of microphones and speakers or the dreary parts of the script somehow manage to dampen things, it is still hard to ignore the intensity with which all three actors make the best of their roles. However, the thing about singular locations is that at some point, it starts looking unnecessarily long and at this point, “The Proposal” relies on the tool of comedy to keep the audience engaged. Of course, comedy almost always works and like some previous works of Joshua Peters, this one certainly does. The Show also makes an attempt to blend non-modern and contemporary music in its discography, an effort that might not earn all the five stars.

The Production is said to soon commence tour and hopefully, it gets the attention it deserves. For in all, “The Proposal” joins a class of emerging pieces of work that are enough to draw the attention of millennials to the many wonders of the “stage”. And in a time when Cinemas and Laptop screens are the in-thing, “The Proposal” might just be the kind of thing we need to give some life to the arts… 

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