Towards the end of our national service last year, my friend, Unoma Akiti, called to seek ideas about a poetry gig brewing in her head. She wanted to organize a spoken word event which would infuse other aspects of art and literature. She kept repeating the word, “Poeticado”, a portmanteau of poetry and…. avocado, I guess. I listened patiently as she rattled excitedly about it. When she was done however, I was a bit startled.
I know my friend, the stuffs she’s capable of. I understand her strong drive for excellence and her passion for impacting lives with all of her being. I do not doubt her event planning and organizational skills. I wouldn’t dare. While we were in UNIBEN, I watched her organise mind-blowing events with such strategic professionalism that’s quite exceptional for a Nigerian undergraduate. Babe proved herself not just to me, but to everyone on campus, including our lecturers. The huge nut that I couldn’t crack however, was deciphering when and how her passion veered off the path of acting, directing, broadcasting and make over artistry to poetry’s.
Forgive my “cluelessness” but I thought events like Poeticado were basically organized by poets, writers, lords and masters of the spoken and written word, with pens like swords spitting blood. You wouldn’t mind my perception really. My Facebook timeline is perpetually flooded with updates about such events organized by one iconic poet or another making wave in the Nigerian literary scene. But for all her creativity, Unoma isn’t that babe one would honestly sandwich between “creative” writers. She’s good with what she does, proactive in thoughts, but poetry? Ermm….let’s just say the beautiful ones will soon be born.
But what are friends for if they cannot understand and support each other’s vision(s)? I had to snap out of that puzzled state to question her motive behind Poeticado; and her reply left me in awe. Unoma told me that she just realized she’s surrounded by creative people whose potentials are tucked in the shadows. She mentioned the names of poets she knew back home in Asaba, those of us she met while in school and others she just discovered in Port Harcourt where she was serving. She’d read our poems which are creatively crafted and had come to the conclusion that if they are performed before an audience in a cool evening, it would be absolutely beautiful.
Apparently, when Unoma Akiti thought about Poeticado, a vision that would cost her time, money and energy, she wasn’t seeking another platform to showcase her exceptional abilities. She was only creating a medium for the exposure of potentials before the brightness of the sun.
On the 2nd of August 2015, just a month after we passed out of the NYSC, that vision was birthed in Sasun Hotels, Port Harcourt. The first Poeticado which surprisingly drew a lot of audience for a start, kicked off on a very high profile which appeared a bit insurmountable. But little did we know that our extraordinary beginning was only a joke.
Last Saturday, August 13th, we had Poeticado page II, and our eyes graced unfathomable wonders. The event which was held at the Chad-Ef hotel, Asaba, widened our horizon to the fact that Poeticado is truly “Art Infused”. Dance, rap, song rendition, instrumentation, and drama, flawlessly synched with spoken word poetry and left our audience gulping fresh wine from creativity’s jar.
In the last Poeticado, it was easy to spot the most amazing pieces as Kwiksie’s “I Wish You Knew Me Better” was etched in the hearts of the audience. Daniella’s “Don’t Tell Our Mothers”, performed alongside a playlet was equally insightful. Emeka’s infusion of J.P. Clark’s “Abiku” with a breathtaking 3minutes drawing made the night eventful. Last year was good, but when passed through the lens of the performances this year, it turned out mediocre.
I’ve been seeking the right form of expression since last Saturday to properly convey what I experienced, but words have been acting all prim and proper with me.
The mood of the evening was set by SwishySax’s solo performance with the saxophone backed up by melodies from the keyboard to give it a jazzy feel. Daniella’s “Under the Palm Fruit Tree”, performed after series of captivating spoken word and rap pieces; was a reawakening to the truth that our culture and values are on the brink of extinction. Amaka’s “Reality Check” gripped hearts hitching to say ‘I do” to pause and have a rethink or risk getting swindled by fickle emotions. Dots’ “Once Upon A Time”, which was this year’s theme by the way, addressed the ills produced by a society that no longer chooses between ‘black and white’.
The event was climaxed with a comedy displaying a narrator’s imagination of Jesus’ disciples in different characters. The funniest scene for me was when Peter, Judas, and the rest of the disciples (all guys) were transformed into ladies wearing wigs, mimicking feminine voices and gushing about how cute Blind Bartimaus was. Heck, they even took selfies with him after he was healed. Bouts of laughter hit the roof as the show came to end with a vote of thanks given by Omacara (Unoma Akiti) on behalf of the Poeticado page II team.
Our success story has been on the lips of many. Everyone who witnessed the event is anticipating a Poeticado page III. I must commend the professionalism of Alechenu I Abel, the no-nonsense Director who put every member of the team on their toes till they delivered their best. In the end, we all clutched a collective glory, formed bonds of friendship and left the show with a fresh breath of creativity.
All that was gained, experienced and enjoyed could make a number of us eternally nostalgic. But all these wouldn’t have been possible if someone hadn’t looked beyond herself to see the dreams of others thrive. The womb of selflessness is truly fertile, birthing great visions that enrich humanity.
Well done Unoma.
I bet you didn’t get here to read a bucketful of words without seeing all the exclusive pix from the event.
Here: THE ACTS FOR POETICADO PAGE II:
1. Adeola Victor- “Dinner Date With Life” (Spoken Word)
2. Akiti Amaka- “Reality Check” (Spoken Word)
3. Akiti Unoma- “Mothering Blueprint” (Monologue)
4. Awalti Minma- “Imagine That….” (Drama)
5. Bernard Anenih- “Dreams” (Rap)
4. Chukwudera Michael- “Memories From A Song” (Spoken Word)
5. CP Kings- “Crazy Love” (Spoken Word)
6. Don Hero Igiri- “Talking People” (Spoken Word)
7. Emeotu Onos- “Imagine That….” (Drama)
8. Eniye Action- Drums Solo
9. Ezenwa Ugbomah- “Imagine That….” (Drama)
10. Gwam Victor- “Boxes”; “Imagine That….” (Dance with Spoken Word; Drama)
11. Ifejika Ebuka- “God Of Wonders” (Spoken Word)
12. Izu-Akiti Zeus- “A Truth From ‘Once Upon A Time'” (Rap)
13. Nwaneri Chinedu- “Imagine That….” (Drama)
14. O. Daniella Onokpite- “Under The Palm Fruit Tree” (Spoken Word)
15. Okwu David- “Bush Girl, Tush Girl” (Spoken Word)
16. Okwuke Ifediora (Kwiksie)- “It’s Just Porn” (Spoken Word)
17. Olaye Benjamin- “Echoes Of Solitude” (Dance)
18. Osagiede Destiny (Dots)- “Once Upon A Time”; “Echoes Of Solitude”; “Imagine That….”
(Spoken Word; Dance; Drama (Narrator))
19. Phillip Asaya- “From The Lips Of The Silent Ones” (Spoken Word)
20. Temi Enemigin- “The Greatness In Me” (Song)
21. Ukeje Tresure- “Banana Republic”( Spoken Word)
22. Warren Uyi (SwisshySa)- Saxophone Solo.