12th May, 2021
By Emmanuel Afonne
Nollywood veteran actress, Genevieve Nnaji, will join the cast of the audio adaptation of FELA – ‘Fela Ten Twenty’, written and directed by filmmaker, Funa Maduka.
A statement issued on Tuesday by the organisers, said the audio play would be premiered on Clubhouse, the popular drop-in audio chat platform, on May 15 and May 16, with shows at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on both days.
Clubhouse is a social platform, built around “drop-in audio chat”, featuring ephemeral real-time voice conversations that any user can listen to but cannot record.
The statement said the proceeds from the show would support GEANCO, whose work provides full tuition, healthcare and social and psychological support to young female survivors of terrorism and gender inequality in Nigeria and across the continent.
The statement quoted Nnaji as saying: “The contemporary issues highlighted in the script are what sold me; this is an artful retelling of Fela’s story and I’m honoured to be a part of it.
“I grew up on radio plays and the experience is nostalgic for me – the power of voice to influence minds and touch hearts is undeniable.”
Fela Ten Twenty, the title of the audio adaptation, will feature an exciting new interpretation of Bill T. Jones’ and Jim Lewis’ Original FELA! Script, framing the ongoing #EndSARS movement in the context of Fela Kuti’s legacy.
Music for the production would be recorded in Lagos, Nigeria, by The Cavemen, the widely-celebrated band rekindling Nigerian highlife with their new album Roots.
Funa Maduka, writer, director and producer of Fela Ten Twenty, commended the actress for her efforts to see the play come to reality.
“For this adaptation, I tripled speaking roles for women by bringing the voices of the Kalakuta Queens, women who fought and performed alongside Fela, to the forefront.
“Women have long been at the center of political movements, especially in Africa.
“To have a woman of Genevieve’s caliber play a Kalakuta Queen, only elevates this legacy of leadership, fortitude and grace”.
Nnaji frequently uses her platform to advocate for social causes, including #EndSARS, which the Fela Ten Twenty script adaptation centres on.
She joins a talented cast of actors from Nigeria, the UK and the US, including: Sir Marcell as Fela Kuti, Jumoké Fashola as Funmilayo Kuti, NC Grey as Najite – a Kalakuta Queen and Nneamaka Nwadei as Omolara – a Kalakuta Queen.
Others are Malikat Rufai as Sandra Izsadore, Uche Ogodi as J.K. Braimah, Comfort Dangana as DJ Switch, Adeola Adebari as Tunde, Muhammed Agboluaje as the Driver, LaToya Ransom as the Radio Journalist and Aliu Ajala as the Babalawo.