“We are going to do far better than what we did before. It is going to have a lot of international exposure. I have been to Brazil; they are waiting for us. I have been to Canada; they are waiting for us. I have been to the US; they are waiting desperately for us. And it is going to be there for six months,” said the Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi, at an interactive session with arts reporters at Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos, to announce the December edition of Moremi Reloaded.
“We are in discussion with the like of Beyonce who is willing to appear with the cast, maybe, for few minutes on stage,” he declared.
The first time the monarch, who established the House of Oduduwa Foundation in 2018 that produces the theatrical piece, watched Moremi the Musical, he was deeply touched, almost into tears, but he restrained himself. But those around him couldn’t restrain the lachrymal flow.
It was then he realised that people were really touched about selflessness, the strength of a woman, and what a woman can do to actually save a race. That really got him motivated to speak more for the weaker sex.
“I don’t like to call them the weaker sex.,” he corrected. “They are the stronger sex, for everything they do is timed. Their adaptation to life and their anatomy is timed and very sensitive. They are stronger than we men, and that’s the truth,” he said.
Ever since, he has been committed to giving more attention to women empowerment and leadership by virtue of being the custodian and progenitor of the entire Yoruba race as their ruling Oduduwa.
“And we use story like this in form of theatre, music and poetry to encourage the girl child; let them know what is called the strength of a woman from a very tender age. It is very important for our society, because, if you give a woman anything, she will reproduce it for you provided they are happy,” said the culture custodian.
For him, Moremi the Musical goes beyond being a cocktail of history, theatre and music, “It has become a movement, and a very strong movement. We are doing a reloaded edition of Moremi. What we are doing now is the art of mastery. Musical as a veritable vehicle for social change.”
Rotimi Adelegan is the Head, Content, House of Oduduwa. He played the role of Oranminyan in the last edition. He reiterated that the latest edition would be different, full of innovations.
“This time around, after doing our homework, we intend to go more cultural. We were a bit western the last time we performed. We had responses from a school of thought, Yoruba culturally inclined people, and we have heeded to the pieces of advice we got from them.
“This time. we are going to do something extraordinary. We are sourcing for original, authentic Ife songs, from the source –songs as old as 700-800 years. We are going to infuse them into theatre. We intend to tell it this time around as authentic as it is. We are not going to wait for anybody to tell our story. We are going to tell it the way it is from the source, drawn from the oral tradition. The costume is going to be different this time around,” he said.
Princess Ronke Ademiluyi, the Ambassador for Queen Moremi Ajasoro initiative, said her role entailed coming up with strategic partnership, collaborations and projects that fit into the vision of the brand, geared towards empowering a new generation of female leaders.
“So we use the brand to support young women in education, entrepreneurship and mentorship as well. Moremi really fought against enslavement of her people, especially women and children. That is why it is really important to use the story of Moremi to reach out to young women to empower them. One of the reasons we are bringing it back in December is to still project that image, the message we are trying to put out there, in the minds of people.”
Other Moremi thespians present at the interactive Chidi Okeke, who played the role of Odejimi the great hunter, and Julius Obende, who played the role of Obalufe in Moremi the Musical. They spoke in unison that the December edition promised to be the bomb.
Moremi Reloaded will be showing at Lagos Continental (formerly Continental Hotel), Victoria Island, Lagos. It will run all through the Yuletide season except on on New Year’s Day. New members of cast will also be on parade to rev up the historical performance.