Directing That Big Play With A Big Mind By: Victor Abayomi

…breaking the shell of limitations with determination and passion as a student director.

By:

Victor Abayomi (B.A Performing Arts, Kwara State University, Malete)

Recollecting how successful the festival of plays for the year 2023 at the prestigious Department of Performing Arts and Film Production, Kwasu was, the thoughts that swells up in my mind is the background of these productions. By background, I mean the processes. But this article will center only on the production process of Femi Osofisan’s Esu and the Vagabond Minstrels as I was privileged to drive the vehicle of the production.  A director, to me, is a driver. But consider being on a long journey without passengers in the vehicle. How boring and uninteresting! One of the first things that must always knock the door of your mind is  that you  cannot do the magic alone as it is a collective art. The vehicle you are driving cannot function well if all the parts are not intact. This is why you must put OTHERS FIRST when it comes to directing to make your journey go smoothly. Though, you will certainly encounter gallops on the way to staging your big play, they are the secrets to good success. The director who wants to succeed in the art must be INTENTIONAL. Intentionality propels the determination to strive through the many challenges that encompasses directing. He must ask himself, “What do I really want?”.

This question alone, costed me a lot. My rest, time, money and peace. You don’t have to do something evil before your peace get seized as  a director – it is simply an art that automatically makes one RESTLESS but only if you are intentional about it. Being intentional gives you a focus and target of which you must pursue and this starts with the choice of your script. For everything you do, there must be a motive behind it and this includes the play to be directed by you. So, you may want to ask yourself, “Why should I direct this play?” but don’t ever ask yourself, “Do I like the play?” or “Is this play worth my time?”. Such questions create space for self-doubt and keep you cool in the heat.

I have not directed up to five solid plays since I started to develop a flare for creative arts from secondary school but directing Esu and the Vagabond Minstrels was more like directing ten plays at once and this is because I was intentional about it. I wanted to make it grand and unique. I was in a big competition. A competition with myself. I wanted to challenge the phenomenon and make a statement that  the student director could arrest the minds of the audience even with his little experience and by God’s grace, it happened just as I dreamt. But I did not only sleep and dream. I worked towards it with passion and courage in spite of gripping fears. We (My group members and I) started to look for plays from August, 2022. The list for groupings was released in July precisely on the 22nd which doubled as my birthday. That morning, I got a message from my very good friend and course mate, Tobiloba Idowu, which read “The department has given you a birthday gift. Congratulations Brother” I paused, obliviously thrilled. I looked through the list and I was soon about to blow up my head as I leaped for joy. I was elated beyond doubts and was looking forward to work with my group members especially Queen Akinduro, who had once been my stage manager for a class production and Muinat Adebimpe, who  assisted me in directing an excerpt of Laolu Ogunniyi’s Riders on the Storm two years ago. The first thing I did was to create a WhatsApp platform to bring them together as we were preoccupied with school work at that time but things were falling apart already. It began with clashes of interest in portfolios. (Stage Manager and Property Manager). When it got to a point when no one was ready to ‘surrender’ I suggested the medium of voting to resolve the issue. It was an open ballot and everyone voted for their choice. But this didn’t sit too well with my initial supervisor, Mr. Rasheed Lateef so he intervened by asking me to write the portfolios on paper, squeeze it and ask the “aspirants” to pick. That was how we reached a conclusion on portfolios and everyone was happy. But the trouble had just began. Gasping…

I knew I would be directing my final year project since 200 level and what fueled this confidence in myself was my persistence and commitment to being intentional. I wanted it and I went for it. I stayed back for induction rehearsals even if I was not part of the inductors, observed and learned in the process because I was about to direct one of the best performances in the history of the department and the school at large. If you care to know the kind of play I wanted to direct, well, a foreign play. But, hell no! Not when my group members were alive. They hated the idea so I settled for a Nigerian play and we began the search together. I read close to fifty-one plays and got over hundred titles of dramatic texts I couldn’t even read. I had keen interest in directing Bode Sowande’s The Night Before and my supervisor encouraged it but the play appeared rather too ambiguous for my group members. What did I not do to convince them? I had a vision and I was sketching out my directions on paper already. I recalled in a phone conversation with Professor Ahmed Yerima when he said that a friend of his who wanted to direct his play, The Sick People called to inform him and seek his permission to change the title of the play as it may appear as an insult to the would-be audiences. I was then propelled to rewrite the play and I was halfway done. I reached out to Prof. Sowande to rob minds with him and perhaps seek his approval to rewrite his play. I got it! Emi ika! And I was fulfilled again unknowingly that the play I will be directing was locked in my bag, abandoned. My interest grew to Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel and finally Isaac A. Ogezi’s Casket of Her Dreams but that wasn’t the bus stop yet!

Be careful to know that a director must read a good volume of plays because sometimes, stage descriptions contribute to one’s creativity as a director. Isaiba Irobi’s Hangmen Also Die for instance, may inspire a scene or more in Yemi Atanda’s The Vomit. It doesn’t necessarily have to be of the same setting or have a similar plot. It helps one to get strengthened intellectually as directing requires the intelligence of the director and of course, all other creative personnel. All the plays I read; I had no regrets reading them. Fast-forward to February, 2023 it was our first viva (defense). I woke up from my bed unsettled that fateful morning. I knelt beside and said a funny but sincere prayer. “Dear Lord, if the play I intend to direct is not your will, may it meet with disapproval”. I felt like rushing in what I had just rushed out from my mouth. After our investments as a group and troubles of looking for a good play? Well, that is one good prayer to say as a student director especially when your mark is attached to it. I am not being too religious now. I am only factual. Femi Osofisan’s Esu and the Vagabond Minstrels was approved and I broke down in tears. Why? I simply did not like the play! My second supervisor, Mr. Basiru Adebisi, was quite worried and then began to make suggestions. All of his suggestions for me, was a knife in my neck. I was irritated, I protested and disagreed. “I cannot direct those plays! Why should I direct such plays?” I asked myself. I didn’t want them and I will not direct them!

Queen Akinduro, the stage manager of the production, had initially suggested Osofisan’s Esu and the Vagabond Minstrels to me after a class one afternoon. I didn’t argue when she raised the idea. I simply told her; “It’s good, but let’s keep looking for more” but in my mind was a gun, ready to shoot out that kind of thought springing up from her mind. Me? That play? God forbid! Maybe in future but not as an undergraduate. When I noticed her interest in the play was increasing by the day, I actually poisoned her mind and she was soon running out of interest and passion for the play. Emi smart kid. She fell for all reasons I developed in my head and agreed to take her eyes off the play. Now, after all the wahala, I was faced with this same play I have been running from. I wept! My lecturer, Mr. Olusesan Atolagbe (Sessy G) encouraged me to direct the play. He saw light in the play and was keen about it. I recalled him saying “Aesthetics! That play is accurate! You will enjoy the process as a director. Fully-packed! Dance, music and action repete!” My dear Sessy G! He died two weeks before the commencement of rehearsals. May your gentle soul continue to rest well in heaven. I had to brace up like the real warrior I was becoming. Though, I lamented severally and fell in those moments of lamentations but I picked up myself and faced the CHALLENGE. The department had just invited the Nollywood actor and theatre enthusiast, Moshood Fattah, for the annual induction ceremony for new students and we were all awaiting his arrival. As soon as he arrived, the student adviser, another lecturer of mine, Mr. Sanni Musiliu, sent for me. “What could he want from me?” I wondered as I walked swiftly towards him. “Moshood directed Esu and the Vagabond Minstrels back then at the University of Ilorin, tell him about your vision for your production” He advised. Wow! I was glad. I thanked the kind man and shortly after, we began to talk. He emphasized on one thing. Do you care to know? Well… he said… I will not tell you. Oya, beg me first. Err… okay, I will reconsider. I won’t be selfish. I will share the good news. He emphasized on EXCEPTIONALITY and it was upon that ground that I built my passion.

We (my group members and I) began to rework our budgets and this is where the real “wahala” started. The fire I was igniting didn’t touch them. It appeared as though my “wahala” was getting too much. But how can we pull a thrilling performance without wahala? So, I prepared them for the battle but it was  a big deal for me. I felt like giving up almost every time but my target and dream was far bigger and greater than the problem I was currently struggling with. So, I confronted it with the strength I found in my love for the theatre. I read Osofisan’s Esu and the Vagabond Minstrels about twenty-seven times before rehearsals commenced. It became the girlfriend I never had and I was getting crazy about it. I started publicizing the production even before audition. I posted a line of the characters in the play daily on my Whatsapp status and was creative enough to advertise the production with the lines. A production that was faulty at foundation level. So, why? Because I was INTENTIONAL. I was sure to pull up a great performance with the help of God Almighty, my supervisors, group members and actors. The more I read, the more I loved it. But, trust me, I hissed a million and one times. I needed to understand the play I would be directing. I knew I would be challenged by actors when rehearsals starts and I needed to be ready for intellectual debates. After all, I did same as an actor years ago. In 2021, when Anuoluwapo Aina, a radical and intelligent student director at that time, directed the Congolese play titled Ruined by Lynn Nottage we usually engage in debates and random interactions. Anu could use anything to sight an example. He could ask questions like “Have you seen a dead man in front of your father’s house before?” or “Did you ever come across a naked mad woman on the road in primary school?” Oya, react to such a situation” Great guy! I decided to pattern my directing to his style but I could only learn from him. I could not become exactly like him. After all, we have our differences as directors and human in general. Know who you are and know SUCCESS. I like to get in touch with the author of a play before I direct it except, he is late, I must get in touch. This is because I am very inquisitive and if you are not a patient person, my questions will annoy you. I could ask for the colour of your underwear and the reason why you wore it. After all, how can you direct a play without knowing the geographical background? Or the source of the writer’s inspiration? Sometimes, I feel like entering into the minds of some playwrights to see exactly what is embedded therein or open their brain to have a good view of the bank of wisdom that is situated there. I remembered having this feeling one day at the Kwasu library after reading Soyinka’s The Strong Breed. So, of course, I must see Professor Femi Osofisan.

On the 16th of April, 2023 I went to Ibadan to see the old man. But first, I went to witness the production of Sophocles’ Antigone as directed by Segun Michael to provoke and challenge my artistry. He looked artistic as he shook me with a smile. “So, this is the man that write all those plays that Mr. Basiru and Dr. Agboola forces us to read?” that was what crossed my mind. I was fulfilled again. He shared different stories. He talked about his family background, the history behind Esu and the Vagabond Minstrels  and gave some advices. He said something that caught my attention that day. He said, “Whenever I want to write a new play, I write with two things in mind. One is THEME and the other is FORM” He went further to say “I like to EXPERIMENT. I like to try new things in new ways. I look out for the depth in my message and pass it on in a new way to my readers”. I have gotten another thing to pursue now. NEWNESS! That was enough for me. I left his residence with a renewed hope and returned to Malete. Now, it was time for CASTING. The question of “Who will play these roles?” hit me. What did I do? I considered only one thing for an actor to feature in the production and that one thing was COMMITMENT. How committed is that guy or lady you want to cast? Speech delivery, height, size, age, complexion and so on were secondary in fact, permit me to use the word ‘tertiary’. Your ability to deliver or render lines correctly was not my concern. Just AVAILABILITY and I was fine. I will do the work of turning you into what you never imagined after all, that is my job. I began to do rehearsals even before audition. So, I had over 70% of actors that will feature in the performance in my head already. How could I have waited for the “official time”? Who does that when he wants to be unique? I broke the chain and threw it away! No matter what, I was ready to face the consequence. Now, this is not the absence of fear. I feared. But, if you like to tell God your heart desires like I do, He is sure to bless you with courage and the gift of good men. My stage manager was a man with feminine genitals. Like my drama lecturer, Mr. Rasheed Lateef, usually say in class back then, “A stage manager is a donkey”. Queen proved to be one and it gladden my heart every single time. She had her flaws but her strength surpassed them all. I needed to break limits too. I was not ready for daily tussle with the rest of the members in other groups for an actor in the department. So, I explored other departments (Department of English and Literary Studies, Mass Communication, Finance and Political Science) to get actors who could at least, try. All I needed were INTERESTED and COMMITTED actors. I visited some of the actors who I had once worked with in their respective hostels to share the “gospel of my production” with them. I am intentional about the use of “my” because I took it PERSONAL.

Audition came but the turn out was not massive as I  hoped it would. But who cares? A good number of my actors knew the roles they would be playing already. Though, plans changed as time went on and this is normal in the theatre. Change is constant and one must be consistently inconsistent as an artist. That is where dynamics come into play. The director must be flexible and ready for change. For instance, I wanted Eniola Agboola to play Oga Redio. I never saw Tumise Akinluyi in the picture until one Sunday evening when I dragged Queen from her hostel to attend the rehearsals of our junior colleagues. Then I saw the young man walking pass. I begged to director to spare me few minutes with him and he granted my request. Minutes? Just one minute was enough. I asked him, “Can you sing?”. He replied confidently with a YES then I asked him to read out the longest of Redio’s line. He did and my spirit got connected to his. I have just found my Oga Redio! But I didn’t think alone. I loved to hear my stage manager’s opinion. She was fine with it and so was I. Remember, OTHERS FIRST. I was the god of the production and my will could stand if I wanted it to but being unnecessarily autocratic may collapse the production you are trying to “build” as a director. Another instance is the role of the Old Man (Esu). Afolabi Daniel (Ado) was always in the picture from onset but still, I considered Ayomide Ajiboye first. Ayomide played Garga in Ahmed Yerima’s Hendu which I directed in 300 level so I knew his level of commitment as an actor. In less than two weeks, he had his lines for Old Man (Esu) and I wasn’t surprised. He did it before and he could do it even better again. When friends showed their amazements at my guts to bring in the Kwasu Students Union General Secretary, Ayooluwatomiwa Ajiboye, as an actor in the production, I smiled and laughed at their ignorance. Queen was not only my stage manager, but the assistant casting director for the production. She casted Ayooluwatomiwa as Sinsin but I had Morenikeji Toareed, Hadassah Olayemi and Doris A. in mind. You may wonder. “Three actors for just one role?” Well, I could make them five if I want. I simply love COMPETITION. I never intended to bring Ayooluwatomiwa into the production as an actor. I wanted her to help with publicizing the production with her office as the General Secretary of the Students’ Union. Though, I have seen pictures of her on stage and I was privileged to feature in a short film produced by the final year student of Mass Communication Department, Kwasu, of which she also featured. So, I knew she would put her best into it but I considered her a very busy person who will not have my time. Then one evening, I go to her hostel to preach my gospel as usual, and she tells me she is interested in joining as an actor. “No problem. A minor role will do” I thought. Rehearsals started and just on the first day, she came an hour to the scheduled time. I was surprised. Someone is getting crazy about this acting thing. So, I welcome her warmly. Though, she didn’t attend audition, I casted her as “Invited Guest”. After few days of rehearsals, Queen whispered in my ears “Let’s try this Tomiwa girl for Sinsin”. Sinsin ke? It was more like a sin to me. I like to question myself sometimes. So, I began to ask, “Can she attend overnight rehearsals?” “Can she stab lectures for rehearsals?” “Can she go through the stress?” So many questions were just piling up in my head. Well, I gave her a trial and I was amazed just after her first script reading. But I acted like it was nothing really. I didn’t want the others to feel OPPRESSED but rather CHALLENGED. She came running to me after rehearsals to ask me what the role description was. I just told her “a greedy, desperate and childish vagabond” and soon, she became the baby of the house. That was how she got the role. She was the last person in my mind. Fate happened. God’s miracle maybe. It happened.

Watching the theatrical production of Olu Obafemi’s Love Twirls of Adiitu and Iyunade as directed by Tobiloba Idowu for the induction ceremony for the year 2023, I was in dire search for actors that would feature in the production. Especially the vagabond minstrels. Then,  I noticed Nifemi Adekunle who I mistook for Michael Olu-Ajisafe. “I will make this boy play Omele and he will play it well” I said to myself. I requested for Nifemi’s phone number days after the production but I got Michael’s number instead. May God bless Folaoluwa Ogunyemi for that mistake. After all, it was a blessing at the end. Our casting was a successful and fantastic one and I never regret bringing all the actors I brought together. In April 2023, I was called upon to coordinate the 300 level students of English and Literary Studies for their Advance Theatre Practice drama productions. It was a hard decision to make because of the nature of my course. I knew I may not always be available but I accepted the offer still. A director must learn to MULTI-TASK. He must be here and there. This was how I was able to bring some of them in for my production. I could do without them if I wanted to, but I wanted to invest in them, just as I am doing to you, reading this – the next director to stage that big performance! A director must be IMPACTFUL and this cannot be over-emphasized. In a chat with Anuoluwapo Aina, one night, he said, “As a director, when you pick a play you want to direct, you become the first costumier, props. manager, sound designer and every other aspect you can think of”. I read the play as these different creative personnel and helped my group members in their design. That is who a director is.

Rehearsals didn’t start on a good note. I had almost 80 actors casted for different roles but we were less than 30 in the first few weeks of rehearsals. Remember that rehearsals for Esu and the Vagabond Minstrels did not commence on the 15th of May, 2023 as authorized by the project coordinators. We started a bit earlier than that. I don’t know how to keep my actors bored for long. So, we played games, gyrated and sang soul-lifting songs. Rehearsals took all my savings with it. I was not comfortable with rehearsing twice or thrice a week. So, I ensured we achieved something no matter how little, every single day and this was indeed “money-collecting”. I cooked good food for my actors and drank cassava flakes (garri) when hunger knocks after rehearsals. I paid for their transport fare sometimes and bought airtime excessively to call for emergency rehearsals. A director must be SARCRIFICIAL. A director is a FATHER. Fathers care for the children they love. The director must CARE for and LOVE his actors. One of the first things I did was to get all my actors really interested in the roles they would be playing. For instance, I gave Tumise Akinluyi, one of my traditional caps and asked him to wear it every time he came for rehearsals. I needed him to become an old man and I was sure the cap with God’s help will do the magic. One afternoon in a discussion with my friend, Tobiloba Idowu, he said; “If you ask me who killed the show, I would say Tumise. He entered into that old man role and own it”. I recall telling Michael Olu-Ajisafe one day during rehearsals that “if the audience fail to cry, you’ve failed with that role of Omele” and he was challenged. I told them how big I wanted the production to be. I asked for their advices when I ran out of creativity, engaged in debates with them and had nice times together. If you don’t believe these, ask them. The director must be HUMBLE. I learnt a lot from my actors even though I was their “driver” or “father”. I learnt the right pronunciation of some words from them, how to be patient and considerate,  how to take risks  and achieve the BIG DREAM. Sometimes, they suggested we rehearse late in the night in the school premises and this was against the Students’ Adviser order. But they fueled my courage so we did it. I spent  almost a hundred thousand for our graphic design, photography, transportation, and a few other things that was beyond our budget. I couldn’t request for more money from my parents because I  understood the economy was biting hard. So, what did I do? I simply had FAITH and took the RISK. Note that you cannot be SUCCESSFUL in the art and even in life without taking RISKS. If you ask me how I got out of the debt, I don’t know. The miracle just happened. I was pushed to seeking the help of my friends and course mates. (Adu Adekunle, Esther Alaba, Deborah Oyelekan, Adedoyin Akinwunmi and Tobiloba Idowu). The play is musically inclined so I needed help with songs. I didn’t want to use the songs in the play text. Prof. Osofisan had encouraged me to substitute it with songs of my choice and I was ready for the musical exploration. I shared my vision with Mr. Tosin Ibitoye, my music lecturer, who found interest in our production and offered to help in any way he could. He was helpful sincerely. But things were not falling in place yet. Our new supervisor, Prof. Abdulrasheed Adeoye, when I shared my thoughts with him, bluntly frowned at it. I returned to him after a while to seek his approval again but he would give me a slap if I was not careful. “Stubborn director! Do what I asked you to do my friend!” he said. What did I do? I picked the play again and started composing songs with the lyrics in the play. I wanted it to be my thing. My melody. My creativity. But I could not do it alone. I needed HELP. I looked for it and I got it. How? HUMILITY!

They (my friends) spent day and night at my hostel ensuring that the production was musically all right. Tobiloba Idowu helped with reading out the lyrics to my ears and gave elucidation to the ones that were beyond my comprehension. Adu Adekunle was the man behind the keyboard (with Hamilton Anjolaoluwa). He adjusted the songs and made them fit in to the musical sounds used for the production. Esther Alaba and Deborah Oyelekan composed some songs while Adedoyin Akinwunmi made few suggestions to enrich the songs I composed myself.

No matter how strong you maybe as a director, you need HELP. I learnt this even before my admission into the Department of Visual and Performing Arts (now Performing Arts and Film Production), Kwasu. Back home, I featured in      drama ministrations that were highly theatrical. I saw the director, Mr. Adeyeye Adegbola and Mr. Jonathan Oyedele, bring artists together from near and far to assist with stage management, set design, costuming and so on. It was since then I knew a director will die untimely if he decides to do the work alone. Yetunde Adeshina, the choreographer for the production of Michael Fernadez’s Ogba-Ukwu Obanje (Obanje’s Wedding), invited me for her rehearsals one evening to help teach to one of her actors a short and simple dramatic movement and facial expression. A “short” and “simple” thing. Yet, she needed help and she got it. Just like I did too when I invited Adedayo Afolabi, a day to the performance to relieve Queen the stress of choreographing and stage managing together. Did you remember that grand entrance of the old man (Esu)? Well, it was all Adedayo’s creativity and when did he do that? Just few hours to the production! The artistic director of the production of Ola Rotimi’s Grip Am, Agogo Israel, invited me for his rehearsals during the day and night time too. He was soon about to go crazy as the art was highly demanding. I understood his headache. We were there together. I didn’t have all the creativity or artistry in the world. But I helped with the little thing I could do and those little things resulted to a thrilling performance at the end.

If you ask me that one aspect of the theatre that I am most interested in asides directing, I would without thinking twice, scream MARKETING/PUBLICITY. The publicity manager of the production, Eniola Ajala, can testify to this. She was closest to me after Queen Akinduro. We chatted almost every day. I called, she called, visited me, we laughed, fought and laughed again. My dream for audience participation did not come through unfortunately. So many people were present, but it was still below what I imagined and expected. I am not greedy now. I am just being truthful. I dreamt of a theatre, tearing apart because of lack of space. I wanted audiences to sit on each other, sit on the floor and stand throughout the performance. I sat almost all through the performance. But I didn’t dream to get a seat. I thought I would have to vacate my seat for an audience. After all, it is my production. My ‘meal’ which I have cooked for them to eat and enjoy. But this didn’t happen. Unfortunately!

The set designer, Faruk Olanrewaju, went through many troubles before we came up with our final set design. We had series of designs and sketches but they were not amounting to the kind of design that we desired. We failed at our second defense. We had the poorest design, perhaps. The costumier, Muinat Adebimpe, went through hell too. She could ask a question a million times because she had to get it right. Who did not go through hell sef? Maybe not in my group! I had countless arguments with the Props. Manager, Damilola Adeoye, who at a point was going out of my concept and vision for property design. I yelled at him one evening and I was soon to regret it. But I had to. This was Queen’s daily quarrel with me. “You don’t like to scold them! You will just be keeping quiet and I am tired o! I don talk talk, you no won hear!”. But yelling did not solve our problems all the time. ENDURANCE did. Elohor Obada, the sound designer doubled as the welfare director. She was mostly doing the thinking of what the actors will eat. I liked the idea as she is a good cook. But what about the songs and sound we will be needing for the production? She was working yet I was complaining. Why? Her work, for me, was not enough yet. The light manager nko? Christ! I was sick. My lovely and ‘crazy’ Mistura Owolabi! She got her own portion of my madness on the production day! I took my time to explain how I wanted her design to be and then she comes to tell me, “They said the smoke machine cannot work without another socket! And I don’t know what to do now”. I was out of my mind. On production day?! Let me shock you. I have no regrets working with them because all these aspects came together to form a spectacular show. I was fulfilled and gladdened. Little wonder I sang joyfully at the curtain call. I was HAPPY! Maybe many more things might have gone wrong without them. I owe them gratitude even though it is our final year project.

We didn’t rehearse with sound. Maybe once but it was unsuccessful. We never rehearsed the play from beginning to the end until the night before the production. That same night, some actors were missing in the rehearsal. The very last rehearsal. I was scared and bothered. Morning came and it was few hours to production. Yet, some actors were nowhere to be found! But one thing is for sure. GOD will always come through for those that TRUST and BELIEVES. HARDWORK paves way for success too. So, you need to put in your BEST and you will be on your way to becoming an IMPACTFUL director.

I am confident to say that the production of Femi Osofisan’s Esu and the Vagabond Minstrels on the 20th of July, 2023 at the Convocation Arena, Kwasu, provoked an outburst of emotions within the actors and audience. The production without doubts, lives in the minds of many and have encouraged students interested in the art of acting and directing to stay passionate and be sure to be successful in it. The performance was indeed a thrilling and inspiriting one but it didn’t happen EASILY. It took PAINS and SWEATS. I wish you a journey full of troubles in your directing and life in general! Yes, that’s the only way to becoming FULFILLED.

This is my testimony.

 TESTIMONIES FROM THE PRODUCTION

“Hey Victor, I hope you feel delighted about today’s performance/production?” Truth be told, I sincerely give you accolades. You did well and also directed the play well to the extent that I was just smiling cos I know that you’ve put so much hard work into this so as to come out in an outstanding way. See my dear, it is okay to cry, cos it’s tears of joy. I’m really happy for you and I hope you get a distinctive mark for this my dear and I wish you success in all your endeavours, IJN… Amen”

  • Hadassah Olayemi

“I watched the best performance of my life today”

  • Olaitan Adeshina

“I really enjoyed watching the play, and I was blown away by how well everything came together. You have a real talent for bringing the best in your actors, and I was amazed to see them shine under your direction. Congratulations on a job well done!”                                                                                                                                                 –           Mayowa Yusuf

“This is beautiful, Victor. Well-done!”

  •     Boluwatife Akande

“I thank God I didn’t end up playing Jigi. I wouldn’t have felt what the audience felt. People were crying!”

  • Adeola Ige

“Boss, how were you able to keep your audience glued to their seat? Because, I was part of the audience, and I really enjoyed the performance”

  • Yusuf Salami

“I miss rehearsals like mad. Both the night rehearsals. I pray for more success ahead you sir. You are such a wonderful artistic director. More wins”

  • Rachael Idowu

“Director, people cried o, tor”

  • Michael Olu-Ajisafe

“I love the songs and dances in your production”

  • Mary Sunday

“Your performance really encouraged people to watch my performance the next day”

  • Adedayo Afolabi

“Sir, I invited my neighbours and they all said they enjoyed the performance”

  • Fabiyi Iyanuoluwa

“You deserve an award for your graphic design. It’s the best I have seen so far”

  • Tolu Ogunrinde

“I really enjoyed the performance. I pray for more wisdom”

  • Bilkisu Yakubu

“Kilodeeee? Your graphics is so beautiful”

  • Aishat Isiakat

“I watched a performance today!”

  • Moses Greg

“I must say I really enjoyed the performance. All the stress sha later paid off”

  • Teniola Oghenekome

“I like your choice of cast”

  • Victoria Akinwale

“My neighbours did not stop talk about our performance. They were even singing our songs!”

  • Queen Akinduro

“They had the biggest box office”

  • Tosin Ibitoye

“Omo… you guys tried honestly”

  • Vincent Abayomi

“Your performance got me crying, Victor”

  • Monsurat Sarumi

“Omele!!!”

  • Anonymous

“In the scene where the old man entered, I was wondering what was gonna happen here until he was finally revealed. I must say, that got me!”

  • Joe Odedina

“I enjoyed your performance, Victor. But it was too long”

  • Bukola (Fire)

“My friends said the production was worth the hype”

  • Mistura Owolabi

“Na Esu people dey shout. People don buy tickets goooo”

  • Jimoh Salim (Young Shaggi)

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Born and breed in Minna, the capital city of Niger State, Nigeria, Victor Abayomi is a theatre enthusiast with a flare for the art of directing, playwriting, painting and theatre marketing. He hails from Offa, Kwara State, Nigeria. In 2013, he joined the membership of Hilltop Creative Arts Foundation, a non-governmental organization set out to promote arts and encourage youngsters to engage in the art of reading, writing, painting and spoken word. In 2017, he became a member of Infinity Motion/Film Production – a small theatre group situated at Minna where he featured in comedy skits and wrote the first two films produced by the group titled The Real Dad and Tears.

Following his dedication and passion, he was appointed as the Financial Secretary of the theatre group for one and half years before he left to study Performing Arts at Kwara State University, Malete where he graduated with a second class (upper) division and served as the Public Relations Officer for the Faculty of Humanities, Management and Social Sciences (now Faculty of Arts) for the 2022/2023 academic session. He has a published interview with the current Vice Chancellor of Redeemers University, Ede, Professor Ahmed Yerima and a few plays, short stories and articles yet unpublished.