Returning to Lagos is a very different experience to being a first-time visitor, writes Look Left Look Right's Molly Taylor
Walk with me in Lagos
Coming back to Lagos when you know what to expect is a different sensation to the first time you visit. We instantly feel at home here and have adjusted our watches to ‘Lagos time’, expecting everything to get done on a flexible timescale! At our first day of official rehearsals all our actors are ON TIME, which is a surprising development. We auditioned an incredibly talented group of actors during our first trip, and we have a nine-strong cast who we’ll be working with to devise the show.
The main themes that struck us from our initial research were those of history, freedom, and the stories of Lagos that are being lost. We want the performance to incorporate those themes, and also celebrate the vibrancy of the city. The cast are an entertaining bunch; we are finding an inherent theatricality. The rehearsal room is boisterous and upbeat, yet focused. Our actors meet every challenge or task we set them with energy and insight. Meanwhile Mimi and I are beginning to script the show, which is a exposing task in itself; we are writing text for Lagosian characters in standard English, so we know there will be a period of collaboration when we translate some of the scenes into pidgin. The cast are routinely trying to teach Mimi and I their native tongue, and we are routinely failing. We do a couple of hilarious improvisation exercises, which involve scenes in pidgin being translated into English, and they feature various mishaps and result in wide-spread hysteria. We discuss at length the title for the show, and decide on Make We Waka – pidgin for ‘Walk with me’.
"The main themes that struck us from our initial research were those of history, freedom, and the stories of Lagos that are being lost"
On our final day of the trip we visit the site and walk through the proposed route. The show will be promenade, with audiences experiencing the show in pairs, guided through the park by an audio tour and meeting various characters along the way. We we will work with our actors individually when we return in February, so a lot of the detail of the show is yet to be found, and the script is still being re-drafted. We finish the week with a keen sense of what we have to do on our return and a robust to-do list. Production week will undoubtedly fly by in a blur, but we are excited to see what the audiences of Lagos make of our Make We Waka.