The story of Queen Moremi, the 12th-century tale of a brave woman leading the charge to save her people in Ile-Ife is a story that has enough legs to make it relevant in 2018.
While Afro-futurism has been a strong theme in arts and entertainment this year, the legend of Queen Moremi is a blast from the past that seeks to make us appreciate our history and culture.
Put together by TerraKulture and Rejuvenee, 'Queen Moremi: The Musical' is a stage play that celebrates the legacy of the feminine hero.
The stage play has a strong cast of Bimbo Manuel, Femi Branch, Kehinde Bankole, Ayoola Ayolola, Deyemi Okanlawon, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde and others.
On Friday, December 21, 2018, the doors of Terra Kulture opened its doors to the public for the premiere of Queen Moremi: The Musical.
For two hours, I was transported to 12th-century Ile-Ife when the spiritual home of the Yorubas was vulnerable to attacks from a tribe known as the Ugbos (not to be confused with the Igbos).
Constant raids by the Ugbos who were said to be spirits and giants left Ile-Ife embarrassed. The Ooni of Ife, played by Bimbo Manuel, tried all he could to stop the Ugbos from raiding his kingdom and kidnapping its women.
He even sent three of his best hunters to look for exotic animals chosen by Ifa. Instead of a heroic welcome, the hunters were blasted for coming back empty-handed.
The Kingdom of Ile-Ife tried everything even sacrificing virgins but this did little to stop the Ugbos from raiding Ile-Ife. By this time the king was depressed because he couldn't help his people.
Here comes our heroine Moremi. Bothered by the attacks, she sacrifices her marriage to help Ile-Ife to defeat the Ugbos. She makes a pact with the goddess of River Esinmirin to show her how to defeat her enemies.
When captured by the Ugbos, Moremi finds the weakness of their warriors. She escapes and runs back to Ile-Ife where she leads the charge in defeating the Ugbos.
After the monumental victory, Esinmirin demands that Moremi gives her what is most dear to her. It's a painful sacrifice which highlights the moral of the story, sacrifice and duty over one's self.
The choreography of the musical is spellbinding especially the raiding and Esinmirin scenes. It really takes you into the setting of those times.
While the acting is solid throughout, it is important to highlight the performance of Tosin Adeyemi, one of the actresses to play Moremi. She leads the play with confidence and agility, which makes the play exciting to watch.
The story of Moremi is an important tale to tell in this time. First of all, there is an urgent need for Nigerians to appreciate their culture and history and not view it through the lens of superstition and Western world bias.
Secondly, Moremi resonates with the feminist charge to take lead in a male-dominated society.
The musical stage play is currently showing at Terra Kulture till January 2, 2019. If you want to be transported back in time and watch a riveting tale play out, you should try your best to buy a ticket. You won't regret it.