Monday, 23 March 2009
BY GREGORY AUSTIN NWAKUNOR AND NDUKA CHIOMA PAMELA
LOLLYING on a sofa, her legs tucked beneath, Titilayo Adebayo focused her eyes on the programme on air. She wore a red floral print gown, which made her look like a teenager. If you didn’t look closely, you would hardly notice that the lady is a mother. But sure, she is. She has two kids and she whispers, “looks can be deceptive.”
When Titilayo was growing up, her parents would let her stay up to watch programmes that tell stories. They only controlled her when the quality was not commendable. So, she grew up thinking of writing, directing and producing her stories on air. It has been a childhood dream for her. And she has been very serious and ambitious about it. She ended up studying Performing Arts at the University of Ilorin, with a master’s degree in Creative Arts from the University of Lagos (in view).
She giggles, “all my life, I’ve always wanted to tell a story that will transform the society.”
She’s appalled about the insensitivity of leaders to issue of development, and says, Private Sector lends gravitas to her dream of telling stories that will change the society.
SHE gets up the sofa and switches on the video for some scenes from the TV soap to play before more questions are asked. She goes inside and brings out a kettle. She empties the content in a mug and offers her guests some shortbread biscuits.
With a cackle that seems to lift out of the pages showing the dimple on her face, Titilayo says, “it is very un-African not to play a good host in your house.”
“The drama is to sensitise all citizens, leaders and the led, to the varieties of challenges and forces at play, as well as the role one and all have to play for the progress of our society,” she sings in an upbeat demeanour.
After a moment, she muses, “the series’ explores the struggle for social and human advancement in a third world country against the backdrop of all the contending forces for and against attaining such targets as prescribed in the Millennium Developmental Goals (MDGs).
Titilayo says, “it seems appropriate that we have to veer from every cliché theme being currently dramatised.”
While admitting that the attention of the viewers will be on the office, boardrooms, homes, clubs and other diverse setting of the drama, she believes that they are all what will grip “an average literate person, as well as a corporate chief executive. However, the average working person, students and undergraduates, entrepreneurs and managers, government and public officers, as well as all religion and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and stakeholders will find it very much exciting and irresistible.”
She says with Private Sector, which explores the theme of human and societal development, you won’t get to see the identifiable narratives about love, rejection and betrayal. It is played out in the activities and management of one company, human and social development consultancy (HUSODEV Consult).
THE TV series is showing currently on Television Continental (TVC) every Sunday at 2.30pm. But from the first week of April, it would be transmitted on MITV at 6.30pm every Wednesday, while every Saturday at 10.30pm; it will be the turn of LTV and Galaxy Television.
The production, she says, is supported by Nubia House Productions Limited, which is a fully incorporated arts production business outfits with the aim of sustaining uniqueness in storylines, cinematography, set design, originality of music, captivating customs and direction.
SO, is this soap opera her first production? She breathes, “no!”
Titilayo says, “for so many years, she has been directing stage plays and supporting other outfits that are interested in the projection of the theatrical forms.” She adds, “I have been the technical director of Antigone, a stage production. I was the NYSC Drama Director when I was serving in Borno.”
So what is Private Sector all about?
“It is a 30-minutes drama, inspiring to the same objectives of service to humanity from seemingly conflicting stand points, two long standing associates — David Olufemi (the M.D) and Muhktar (the Chief Research Officer) — are caught up in an interplay of socio-economic and political forces that test the limit of their liberal humanist and radical philosophies respectively.”
Coming together after their university days and scholastic journeys, and despite their differing views and perspectives, they succeeded well for four years to build a frontline Development Solutions outfits designed to propose solutions to educational, health, environmental and social problems to governmental and private institutions and implement or supervise same.
This consult is now going through a decline and is threatened with sabotage in the face of internal weakness and compelling external forces.
IN the battle of wits and ideas that ensue in trying to salvage the company, Olufemi and Muhktar will eventually reckon with issues beyond wishes and dreams and clarify not only their principles about society and development, but also re- examine their lifestyle and spiritual growth as it connects with the society’s transformation, and in the process realize that for genuine social progress, re-sectorisation (to private or to public) matters little unless man’s material and spiritual well being is made the centre of al endeavours by the managers of society at all levels.
The lady says at least 20 episodes of the possible 52 episodes that have been shot already.
Titilayo is cagey about the non-appearance of popular acts in the soap, but insists, “the concept is to train people on quality arts — looking into ideas of promoting quality acting and interpretation of roles.
Though she admires the huge talents that abound in Nigeria, she says, “I have observed that there are so many unemployed theatre arts graduates looking for jobs. This soap was an opportunity for me to bring some of these graduates to the screen to act — to do what they know best.”
Titilayo draws a grim face and heaves, “God… a lot.” She adds briskly, “it will surprise you to know that the people I thought I could help with immediate jobs displayed a high level of indisclipine.”
But she’s undaunted. “If I had my way I’ll do it over and over again with them because what I set my mind achieving, I did.”
She pauses, then adds what seems a full stop. “I hope that this drama will promote positive role models for the Nigerian youths and the entire society. I believe that it will alert the society of the challenges inherent in the attainment of developmental aspirations and also the mitigating factors to attainment of social developments.”