You know the feeling you get when you’re in the middle of a very interesting gist with friends and someone interrupts? That was how I felt at the end of Single in Gidi; the director’s voice was a rude intrusion into what was a discussion between friends, a web of intimacy that was built strand by strand over an hour and half period.
Single in Gidi is a blog. Or it was just a blog until somebody adapted it for stage. It takes several blogposts and turns them into lines for a stage play.
Single in Gidi (the blog) covers topics like dating, relationships, love, heartache, confusion and the joys of romance in the chaotic city of Lagos. Single in Gidi (the play) has much the same elements: conversations about the above topics. It also has five and a half great actors that sing, dance and breathe life into the words.
Most of the action takes place in a cosy living room set: ankara covered sofas and chairs in the middle of the hall – the stage is occupied by audience. The acting is relaxed with occasional bursts of passion that drive home painful or important points. At the beginning it was like the regular stage play – actors acting, me looking in; I wasn’t quite conscious of being drawn into the action until I said out loud, “Calm down na,” at a particularly fiery explosion from Omoye. Having a bagful of asoebi you bought at exorbitant rates that you can’t wear anywhere else will do that to you.
There were moments when I wanted to take Austin in my arms and tell him he was going to meet a woman that would love and support him and she was seated in the audience. I’m not sure if that is a product of his ‘fineboyness’ or how convincingly he plays the heartbroken lover. A combination of the two I think. Going on stage would have been a little awkward though; I didn’t see security around but with the wiry strength Timi has, he’d have easily carried me off the stage if I’d tried.
Who is Omoye? Who is Austin? Who is Timi? There’s also Leelee, Meg and Tosin who is the ‘half’ referred to earlier. A guitarist, he was grafted into the play to provide music and so does not have many lines. The other five are actors of repute and have appeared on television series and stage plays in and outside Nigeria.
I don’t know many guys that’d sit around for an hour and half talking about single issues; the male cast doesn’t either. They exit and enter the stage, rejoining the conversation without breaking the flow. That for me was brilliant. Also, the occasional missed line, talking-over-each-other moments, missed handshakes did not detract from my enjoyment in any way. They enhanced it, making the conversation more genuine.
See me see trouble, I say you go marry me o. Yemi Alade was on the stage as was Bob Marley and a few other musicians, helping the actors drive home their points and providing a break from the talk; a kind of interval.
Single in Gidi is an apt representation of ‘the things wen dey pain single people.’ The actors laugh at themselves and are sad and angry while the audience just laughs through the entire thing.
Single in Gidi was written by Sheila Ojei and directed by Kenneth Uphopho of Saro, The Musical fame.
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