Theatre scholar Ms Pat Obilor, launches ‘Obilor Theatre’, adapts William Shakespeare’s King Lear to an African Play setting

Pat Obilor

Pat Obilor’s the “Queen’s Wish is a modern Nigerian Yoruba Afrocentric folktale, an adaptation from the historic Elizabethan tragic play of Williams Shakespeare’s King Lear”, a King who lost his throne and power to the deceits of his two wicked daughters in exchange for public affection and external validation.

Speaking on what inspired the project, Obilor noted that: “For me, Kinglear is one of the most outstanding works of English playwright, Williams Shakespeare, and in the theatre world, before one publishes a work of art especially plays, one has to wrought it through the stage and I have deemed it fit to take up this task. fell in love with the story when she acted in its stage adaptation as an undergraduate. She said, “Few years ago, as a theatre student, I played a major acting role in the Shakespeare classic, ‘King Lear’. I fell in love with the storyline and years later, I still see the need to re-enact the story in an African (Yoruba) play setting as it explores the glories and vile of social validation and feminist power prevalent in our modern society.’

When asked the relevance of the play in this digital age, Pat said, ‘The Queen’s Wish projects reflective mirror of the human society of how we sometimes, give away the treasures bestowed on us because of public accolades and baseless affirmation from people. The message in this play is to encourage people to understand that it is okay if you are not being liked or celebrated, what matters in life are the impacts you are making while on earth and the legacy you will leave behind for your progeny. Hence, this play explores the need for self-reliance and communal love because family is not by blood, but by who has your back when the chips are down. It also taught one not to depend on external validation and public affection knowing that genuine love is more of action rather than of words.’

Explaining further on what the audience should expect from the play, she said, “It is a storyline I believe people can connect with in these contemporary times, especially as it relates with our social-political and economic state, spiced with the ongoing global trend in women empowerment and feminism movement. Women will love it and me will be mesmerized by it.”

Speaking on the demands of producing the play, Obilor said, “This is a huge commercial project that took a lot of creative manpower and financial resources, but I am happy to take the plunge. I would be working with quite a few theatre industry experts, such as critics, actors, directors and production supervisors, singers/chanters, choreographers and dancers, set and props designers, and technical and lighting professionals and of course, not forgetting the Media too”

The Queen’s Wish is sponsored by her company, Sparkles Media Limited, and Obilor Theatre. The live performance is billed to hold at the Wole Soyinka Theatre, her alma mater, the University of Ibadan on the 30th of April and 1st of May respectively.

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