Soyinka in Ghana, As home theatre finds a lasting space

by Kole Odutola

The covid pandemic was no respecter of persons especially the frequent flyers who lived half on land and the rest in the air. The events took place but was from behind the comfort of homes and screens. All that some well-traveled and hot in demand public intellectuals was a slight ease and life found a new normal. It was no surprise that on September 26th Professor Wole Soyinka was in Ghana as a guest of the Writer Project, Ghana. As you know When Soyinka speaks the inkpot does not leak for nothing, it links the nib with a surface in readiness to mirror a phase in a writer’s dream. The horrors of the past fight the terrors of the present in what should lead. The event in September took place at the Goethe institute grounds, Cantonments, Accra. It was a book chat where he had gone to promote his new book, Beyond Aesthetics: Use, Abuse and Dissonance in African Art Traditions.

Ivor Agyeman-Duah, a Ghanaian academic, economist, writer, editor and film director, who has worked in Ghana’s diplomatic service and has served as an advisor on development policy, was the anchor of the event. He brought his diplomatic skills in asking the professor pointed questions. It was while talking about his cousin, Fela,that that the prof said in jest “you women can be dangerous” facing the audience out of our view. He was referring to how Sandra changed the course of Fela’s music while he was in America.  You may say it is an old story. His audience still found it interesting. When it came to the turn of the theme of his book, he said “art can divide society, at the same time art can make us laugh. Then someone in the chat box wanted to know to what extent could we hold artists responsible for the effects of their art? el.tayo_ofosuah one of those active that evening, responded that she guesses to the extent of how they interpret it to us the consumers. But the beautiful thing about art is we take it in in different ways, even ways that may be more powerful that what the artist intented. Truecoaster, another participant, add her two cents “well, art has a way of taking on a life of its own, and creators can’t always predict the possible effects.”

“something they have no control over”

‘truecoaster “I’m finding a similarity to “to what extent can parents be held responsible for their actions of their children”? There’s definitely some responsibility in the creation process”

el.tayo_ofosuah added her voice “I always say that there is a time when children become their own person! No matter the bond or relationship, we are different”

While the side textual conversation was ongoing, Professor Soyinka oblivious of what was happening in the chat area said “Artists should not be tied to any society

Ivor Agyeman-Duah pointedly told Professor Wole Soyinka that the women are happy with him. This was the opportunity to toot his gender credentials. He went down memory lane to talk about how Buchi Emechata ran to him when she was been terrorized by her folks and how one of the Ghanaian female writers was unhappy with him because of one of his book.

As it is usual with Goethe institute events, it ended with refreshments and the prof had opportunities for a selfies.


On Sunday October 4, 2020: Digital theater has come to stay

Kininso koncepts  Productions invited a few friends from Nigeria, Europe and USA  to join the panel session of her just premiered home theatre series. The topic was “sitting pretty and reinventing stories for digital consumption.”

The panelists consisted of Anike Alli-Hakeem; Professor Ahmed Yerima;  Nike Jonah, (Co-founder Pan African Creative Exchange (PACE), South Africa;  Ayoola Jolayemi, a creative Entrepreneur/project manager; Inge Ceustermans, General Director-The Festival Academy Belgium; Jahman Anikulapo, Program Director LABAF; Friederike Moschel, Director Goethe Institut, Nigeria; James Tyson, Theater and Dance Program Manager-British Council London and Gill Robertson, Artistic Director-Catherine Wheels Theater company, Scotland.

As you can notice, it was a very well appointed panel and each proved their worth.

The main questions for the evening was to explore what Digital Theater will be like after the pandemic. Will the consumers embrace this aberration? What is the most feasible business model for Home Theater? These were no easy questions but yours sincerely as one of the few gatecrashers wanted the participants to have a non-episodic reading of this historical times. I wanted them to apply the lessons of changes of one media form to another. How did the artists relate to the transformations? For instance how did Chamber musicians relate to the recording of music into vinyl and then into compact discs (CDs).

Unlike other Zoom meetings, the participants here spoke and hardly typed much. Ms. Oladotun Osafile, a Freelance Projects/Production Manager and Owner at Titanium Productions, was interested in the profit making conversation started by Dr Kole with regards to radio. She added for all to read that as creatives, there is the tendency to ignore the business end of show business

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