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Strelitzia, A Stage Play About Self-Discovery to Debut at Lagos Theatre Festival

Strelitzia cast during rehearsal

A stage play, Strelitzia, ‘an experiential journey to self’ is to debut at the 2018 British Council’s Lagos Theatre Festival (LTF) from March 1 to March 4.

Strelitzia cast during rehearsal

Donna Ogunaike, a theatre practitioner and poet, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that Strelitzia was about a theatre of emotions.

It is also a journey which would help its audience remember their emotions, she said.

It would help them to recover memories in need of repair, through its therapeutic effect, she said.

“Emotions are every man’s unique weakness; and over the ages, men have learnt to master their emotions.

“But when men lock away memories that evoke emotions, those emotions might become real problems, and that is what Strelitzia seeks to unlock.

“This is to ensure that people do not just master those emotions, but become better versions of themselves,” Ogunaike said.

NAN reports that the ‘Strelitzia’ is the only Nigerian theatre nominated to represent the country at the World Cultures Festival, in Hong Kong between Nov. 4 and Nov. 5, 2017.

Ogunaike, an energy lawyer, debuted her theatre production, ‘Love Like Slave’ at the 2016 LTF and she is one of the foremost voices in the nation’s poetry circuit.

She had participated in several landmark events, including the Lagos Black Heritage Festival, and the Nigeria’s First Cultural Trade Show (2014) tagged ‘Business Meets Culture.

She was also the only Nigerian female poet that featured in British Council’s video tribute at the 2015 edition of the International Women’s Day .

According to her, Strelitzia as a recollection of emotions from memories long forgotten, has received impressive reviews locally and internationally.

“Strelitzia is a therapeutic journey of remembrance that allows you heal even after dredging up memories which lead to forgotten emotions and hurt.

“These past experiences are usually the things that dictate who, where and what we are today.

“It is at the same time a captivating and liberating kind of theatre, it uses theatre in one of its ancient and intended forms as a means of achieving healing of self.

“Strelitzia is not a theatre that can simply be explained, it has to be experienced, and each person’s experience is different.

“Imagine flipping through a diary where you experience the memory of the point in which that entry of the diary was written.

In the last performance, we had people who saw it multiple times, while some became quite emotional.

“Strelitzia, walks you through experiences of a different time, allowing the audience to relate with the past,” she said.

On what the theatre audience should expect, she said that the performance comprises of six sequences, each representing a different human memory and experience.

“All scenes are sown together in a quilt of memory-evoking recollections of stories that will leave any audience in wonder and delight.

“It is an interactive kind of theatre that seeks to heal a troubled world.

“Strelitzia has the ability to help the audience free themselves from the pent-up inner tensions and trauma of the past, which may hinder their individual and group attainment of freedom.

“Its approach to freedom is to take the audience through a psychological journey facilitated by music, film, poetry and images that could free the clustered human mind and ultimately lead to self-rediscovery,” she said.

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