Femi Branch’s Playfest opens with Kunme the Musical
According to Branch, the briefing, which held recently, is to raise awareness for the maiden edition of Femi Branch Playfest, a celebration of theatrical writing of the actor, playwright and poet.
He said the festival would begin with the musical. He added that the tour would take a one-week break in Lagos from May 25 to 31, 2020 for the festival proper, which is going to feature performances by selected troupes of Branch’s other plays, such as Poi, Shalanga, Jungle Justice and Ankara Committee, with final performance being the tour play, Kunme. Thereafter, he said, the tour would then resume from June 12 and end on 21 in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
The cities scheduled to host the event include, Ife, Akure, Ado Ekiti, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Ijebu Ode, Ikorodu, Badagry, Benin City and Abuja.
Kunme the Musical is the story of Queen Esther in the Bible. The musical explores her life as a woman of virtue and true leader. It looks at how she faces a lot of challenges, as she strives to be a woman loyal to the interests of her Jewish race. She sacrifices herself to liberate the Jews from the hands of their oppressors.
The Holy Bible recounts the efforts of Haman, an evil Persian, to annihilate the Jews and the actions of Queen Esther; her cousin, Mordecai; and King Ahasuerus, the King of Persia, to counteract the evil machinations of Haman.
According to Branch, the musical is a corporate endorsement of the war against discrimination of young women. He noted that musical is awe-inspiring, as well as being laced with thought provoking narrative. “Its aim is also geared towards women empowerment, the right of girl-child and against slavery.”
Branch said, “I am happy to embark on this project. This is my biggest effort.“
He added, “the festival is a two-fold initiative, which firstly is a mentorship programme to develop and nurture young acting talent selected from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, through the Femi Branch masterclass, and secondly, in commemoration of my 50th birthday anniversary,” Femi Branch revealed. “I want to leave a good legacy when I’m gone; I want to impact the youths. We are empowering 50 students and we are going to pay them.”
The project is in continuation of his drive to promote live theatre through seasonal commercial performances of his plays. Past editions of this had the performance of his plays, Itakun (Satellite Town Cinema, Lagos 1999), Poi (The Muson Centre, Lagos, 2001), Jungle Justice tour (Bonny Island, Port Harcourt, Women Development Centre, Abuja and Terra Kulture, Lagos 2013) and Ankara Committee (The Muson Centre 2018).
“We look forward to continuing our great relationship with sponsors, press, and all our fans-and with only 50 days until show time,” Branch said.
Continuing, he said a general audition for the tour play, Kunme The Musical, would hold on February 25, at the Dramatic Arts Department of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, for actors, singers, dancers and musicians.
The project has Branch as its artistic director, Lady Prevail Olayinka as project director, Tee Abiola Oduola (Sean Polo Tee) as media consultant, Awele Onwuadi as project coordinator and others.
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