Nigerian playwrights have been killing it for decades. But while Nollywood has been known to adapt a couple of books, they haven’t really touched plays. But with Netflix releasing Wole Soyinka’s Elesin Oba: The King’s Horseman, I decided to bring up some other plays that need to make their way to the big screen ASAP.
Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again
Nollywood has shown time and time again that they love making comedies, so Ola Rotimi’s classic, Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again, feels like the perfect fit for the industry right now. The hilarious play follows Lejoka-Brown, a politician whose life goes to shit when his American wife comes to Nigeria and finds out he has two other locally-based wives.
The play gives serious Fuji House of Commotion vibes, and there’s no way audiences won’t fall out of their seats laughing.
Ada The Country
Written by Poet Laureate Titilope Sonuga, Ada The Country is a profoundly moving musical about different women dealing with various traumas. I saw it once in Lagos with Joke Silva, Patience Ozorkwor, Kate Henshaw, Chigurl, Lala Akindoju and Ade Laoye. Let’s say a hard guy like me was in tears by the time they were done.
For a film adaptation to slap, they must bring the original stage cast because they all knocked their roles out of the park.
The Lion and the Jewel
Wole Soyinka is the brains behind this thrilling tale of love and evolution. First performed in 1959, The Lion and the Jewel tells the story of Baroka, the titular lion who will do anything to win over the beautiful Sidi as his wife. But to get Sidi, he has to go through Lakunle, a man looking to modernise his community.
Yes, Tunde Kelani has done a version of the film titled Sídí Ìlújinlẹ̀, but I’d kill to see a new interpretation of the film with Bimbo Ademoye and Lateef Adedimeji as Sídí and Lakunle. Nollywood, let’s make it happen.
The Gods Are Not To Blame
If you’re old enough to remember the Super Story version of this play with Bukky Wright, then, just like me, maybe it’s time for you to get married. The Gods Are Not To Blame is a literary classic by Ola Rotimi that tells the tragic story of Prince Odewale, who literally kills his dad and marries his mum. It’s a long story, so beg Nollywood to make it into a film if you’d like the full gist.
Saro: The Musical
I’m a sucker for musicals and stories about hustling, so it just makes sense to have Saro: The Musical on this list. Even outside of my personal preferences, Saro: The Musical is a hilarious and heartwarming play about four friends who decide to look for the proverbial greener pastures in Lagos.
There’s romance, crazy dance sequences and lofty dreams all set against the backdrop of Lagos traffic and wahala. Thankfully, unlike the other Saro, no one takes their wife fi eediat in this musical, so no need for revenge or anything like that.
Wedlock of the Gods
If you thought Romeo and Juliet were dramatic AF with this love thing, then you haven’t met Ogwoma and Uloko from Zulu Sofola’s Wedlock of the Gods. It’s easy to see that their relationship ended in tears just by looking at the hardback cover of the play.
There’s a lot of drama, “awws” and intrigue in Wedlock of the Gods, so I can only imagine the atmosphere in the cinema if the play ever got made into a movie.
Hangmen Also Die
Stories told through flashbacks always slap because they make us more curious about how characters ended up where they are today. Hangmen Also Die by Esiaba Irobi follows the brief histories of seven young men about to die by hanging for the murder of a prominent man in their community.
The suspense alone from Hangmen Also Die is enough to drive anyone crazy.