–      Varsity Dons, Others Watch Delightfully

Hon. Jerry Alagbaoso’s Play, “Sipping Coffee With My Boss” was performed on stage on Saturday 13th April 2024, by the Theatre Arts Department of Imo State University, Owerri amidst funfair. 

The renowned Playwright, Novelist and three term House of Representatives Rep Member for Orlu, Orsu and Oru East Federal constituency, Hon. Jerry Alagbaoso received several accolades for the feat, as Imo State University students especially those of the Theater Arts Department, gathered at the Coomasie Arts Theatre to watch the live performance of the Play by their fellow students. 

The Director of the Stage Performance and Associate Professor of Media Studies, Mrs. Gloria Chimeziem Samuel, while addressing pressmen at the occasion stated that “Sipping Coffee With My Boss” is a Play that projects issues and challenges that the management and leadership of universities must look into, adding that it x-rays issues of backbiting, gossip, favouritism, familiarity, stigmatization etc that every leader or administrator encounters in office.

According to her, the Playwright proffered solutions to handling certain administrative problems through thorough strategic investigation, research and carefulness.

Her words “Those of us in the Theater Arts Department look up to Jerry Alagbaoso because of his several literary contributions. His Plays have been produced in many universities in Nigeria, hence, we decided to do a command production of his play today. 

We do not have Alagbaoso only as a Representative and Politician but as a thinker who comes up with noble ideas that are put down in writing on how to handle our institutions, our relationships and the society”.

Prof. Gloria Samuel lamented the lack of financial resources needed to carry out stage productions and performances in the department, while also expressing gratitude to Hon. Alagbaoso for providing funds.

“We are struggling with funding.

Many schools and universities love entertainment but can hardly invest in entertainment.

“We appreciate Hon. Alagbaoso for funding the stage performance of this play. He provided all the technical requirements. We used our students to achieve it. We need funding. We need recognition and respect. Stage performance is expensive. We have started running Masters Degree programs and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs in the Theatre Arts Department, hence we need equipments and facilities for practicals and production. Part of our agenda is to go into film production. Many universities with resources are into film production. We can do it if we have enough finance”.

Associate Professor Chris Nwaru, Head Of the Department of Theatre Arts, Imo State University (IMSU), in his remark, expressed delight at the production, saying that arts is very essential as it entreats, enlighten, corrects and also promotes the culture of a people.

Applauding the author’s work, he stated that the Play has didactic themes, centering on the little politics that goes on in the academic environment, with solutions and ways of improving the polity.

According to him, Hon. Alagbaoso deserves accolades because it is not easy for one to be in politics and still invest substantial time in writing beautiful and educative plays. 

The HOD further said that the department’s theater culture and stage performances are going to be periodically organized, adding that Plays are extremely essential as they handle the ills of the society in a very humourous way and exposes the behavioral patterns of a people. 

Hon. Nze Ray Emeana, a politician and the pioneer Head of the Theatre Arts Department of the Imo State University, Owerri, who witnessed the stage performance, while addressing Journalists at the event, expressed his excitement at the Stage Performance, adding that it is very difficult to see a life performance on stage. He added that there is nothing as beautiful as experiencing theatre live without the interruption and assistance of technology.

Narrating the book, Emeana said the Play is tailored towards educating the undergraduates and exposing the Politics witnessed in Nigerian academic environment. 

Hon. Emeana noted that theatre promotes our culture, stressing that what Nigeria can give to the world is her culture which is her originality.

He maintained that Nigeria cannot compete with the Western world in terms of technology or development, hence she should invest in Arts and translate our culture to the outside world through theatre. 

He urged the government to make theatre Arts Department more functional in our tertiary institutions so as to have more people enjoy Arts, thereby equipping the students to be successful entertainers, creative minds, revenue earners and too busy to be part of all kinds of vices.

“We applaud Hon. Alagbaoso for writing the play and motivating the students to perform the play on stage. There is great excitement all over the campus because of the stage Play, which was sponsored, supported and made possible by the playwright. 

“There is need to get a good set, a good space, good costume, good equipments and lots more for the Theatre Arts Department of Imo State University to do more of what we saw today”, Emeana reiterated.