Thunderous shouts and yells could be heard from miles outside the Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, on Wednesday, 26 June 2019. It was the venue of the long-awaited National Conference for the MTN-led Anti Substance-Abuse Programme and the yells and screams were the powerful voices of the actors of the Riveting-Company-directed Area Boy stage play.
After a compelling performance, the play received a thunderous applause from the hundreds of guests, which included the Wife of the Vice President of Nigeria, H.E. Mrs. Oludolapo Osinbajo; politician and businessman, Mr. Tonye Cole; Wife of Kebbi State Governor, Hajia Zainab Bagudu, etc.
Osinbajo later explained that she had insisted on watching the play, which is based on the perils of substance abuse, because she wanted to recollect past experience. “I wanted to watch the drama to relive again the times that I spent working in the slums of Lagos amongst the area boys, amongst prostitutes, amongst the rejects, among the lost.”
The drama was so life-like that she could pinpoint aspects of her experience in the dramatic piece. “As the drama went on, I could identify some people that I knew so many years ago,” she explained as she went on to describe the characters from the show that resonated with her.
The second and last performance of the day was an energetic musical show by actor, singer and anti-substance abuse advocate, David Jones David, who joined the trail last month (June) with outstanding performances at tertiary institutions in Imo and River states. The singer held on to the crowd’s attention like a master puppeteer as they sang along to his hits such as ‘Even Though’, ‘Hello Doctor’, ‘Gbana Na Bastard’, etc.
The excitement among the audience of mostly young people was palpable. Then you understand that not only had they seen a must-watch play but they were given stellar performances at no-charge!
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