Dropwise.

I’m currently watching the film version of Hamilton, started watching it this morning and would have finished it if I wasn’t endlessly going back to watch my new favourite song – My Shot, from the movie as well as googling every character and watching YouTube videos of Lin-Manuel Miranda who created the show, wrote the lyrics and the music to all the songs and played the title character Alexander Hamilton.

I am not a fan of musicals and as a rule I do not watch them. I love music and some of my favourite songs are from movies but I do not like it when people turn everything to song, I want words to have its place and song too.

Case in point, I finally sat through The Sound of Music in 2018 just before my birthday after determinedly dodging the film for most of my life and I’ll keep my thoughts about the film to myself, I don’t have energy to battle the film’s hard-core fans.

I decided to watch Hamilton for two reasons, the first is that I just realised that Daveed Diggs is in it and there’s something about his acting and his music that draws me, you get the feeling that he shows up bringing his authentic and very handsome self to everything. The second is that the time era covered by the show (American Revolution and Independence) is one of my favourite periods to read about in history.

I am very impressed by the film which is basically a recording of the Broadway show Hamilton. The show quickly became a cultural phenomenon after it launched as it married iconic characters at a pivotal time in American history with an incredible fusion of hip-hop/soul/jazz and amazing actors giving their best.

It was nominated for a record 16 Tony awards (the theatrical version of the Oscars) and it won 11, including best featured actor in a musical for my future husband Daveed Diggs and the cast won a Grammy award for Best Musical Theatre album.

As I watch, the excellence of the performance makes me want to weep. The creator of the show Lin-Manuel Miranda made over 12 million dollars from 3% of the gate fees of the shows which was his share. The show was so popular and so well received that tickets went as high as USD 1,000 from second-hand ticket dealers.

And it saddens me greatly because I have watched a show in Nigeria that would be as good or even better than this show if the same kind of resources were available to the creators of the Nigerian show. I’m talking about the Made In Nigeria poetry show by Dike Chukwumerije.

I saw the show in June 2018 at Terra Kulture VI, it held on a Saturday which like all Saturdays in June, was heavily punctuated by rain. I had paid for a ticket for the show and won another ticket from Okadabooks. So my brother came for the show to use my free ticket.

In two hours and with 20 poems and a number of talented actors and dancers, Dike Chukwumerije tells the story of Nigeria and I promise you will not blink. It was a lush extravaganza with the history of this nation in living colour and it was fabulous and I caught myself crying a number of times during the show.

The show has been moderately successful even by our admittedly low standards in this part of the world but it’s so sad that we haven’t embraced it and other initiatives to tell our story and our history. Hamilton not only made boatloads of money, the cast was invited to the White House to perform for President Obama and other Americans.

I don’t know the kind of support Dike got from the government, if any. Knowing my country, it is far more likely to be none than some. Government would rather spend its money buying brand new SUVs for millionaire legislators than do something remotely useful to the lives of its citizens.

I am not going to moan about the sad state of affairs in my country, I think we are capable of great things here. That home-grown talent and brains will save us eventually. I will play my part in supporting those who are ‘doing’, maybe our little drops would form an ocean and if it can’t, it would at least wet the floor.

2 Comments

  1. I’m in this show and I am moved to tears every single time. I want to scream, ‘My Nigeria!!!!’. What can I say? This thing Dike created is a treasure that should be polished and then passed from One city to another, from one platform to another, from one heart to another till the whole of Nigeria has come to hear this telling of her story.

    Reply

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