The 9th Jos Festival of Theatre 2015 is scheduled to open in the tin mining city on Tuesday March 10th with opening ceremonies, dances and speeches rounding up with a performance of August Wilsons’ monumental story on the struggle of a Black young man, King Hedley II who has come out of prison and is back home with his mother and wife. He detests his mother whom he accuses of abandoning him to the care of his Aunt Loiuse. Elmore, the mothers’ boyfriend of many years, appears but King has a grudge to grind with him – the last time Elmore passed by their town, he sold him a defective wrist watch. Tonya is pregnant but does not want to have the baby as there is no guarantee that King Hedley II will not go back to jail leaving the child fatherless. King disagrees because with his childhood friend, they are about to open a video shop. In the end, Elmore reveals to them all that he had killed King’s father and that the man whom King had always thought was his father was not. In the build up to either forgiveness or vengeance, Ruby, King’s mother shoots him in error.
The next play being offered is Adinoyi Ojo Onukaba’s Body Parts where a group of unemployed young men create jobs for themselves by selling their body parts. They had already sold one kidney but they were duped of the proceeds by a wonder bank where they had hoped to double the money. They sell the second kidney but the family they sold it to has a history with the unemployed men dating back two decades.
The third play is Jacinto Benavente’s The Bonds of Interest. Two young men delight in duping people. They have fled their town and arrive in another town posing as rich men. They have come to scam the town’s richest man by marrying his daughter in the hope that when the rich man dies, they would inherit his property and wealth and pay off their debts. The plan backfires as one of them instead of pretending to fall in love actually falls in love setting in motion a chain of events where the law eventually catches up with them but they are able to bribe their way through pledging their soon to be inherited wealth as collateral.
The fourth play is Barclays Ayakoroma’s Castles In The Air which examines the age-old prejudices against inter-tribal marriages. Aminu has been asked to get a wife and if his wife is able to conceive and give birth to a son in the next one year, they will be given N10m. The challenge is to get Aliyu to agree on who to marry as he is a youngman about town and his father’s friend, Chief Emotari comes into the picture with his niece, Stella. Eventually the plan backfires as the unfortunate happens to the person who should have provided the money to the couple.
The final play of the festival is Sefi Atta’s Last Stand. General Mashood is on his death bed. He has had three wives – none of them is living with him. He is being cared for by his sister. He desires his son to be his heir. His son has refused the offer leaving his daughter, a lawyer whom he considers weak to be in charge of his estate. He has already changed his will several times but time is fast running out – what does he do and how will the issue of his estate be resolved.
There will be workshops and dialogues during the daytime with all performances starting at 4.30pm. The venue of the performances is the expansive premises of the Alliance Francaise, Jos. The festival is receiving major support from the US Mission Nigeria alongside Grand Cereals Limited who has supported the festival from inception.
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