To Our Own Very Baba ADELUGBA... at 70
Today, i am swimming in emotion. I have been like this in the past two weeks since the arrival of the 70th birthday anniversary of 'my own very father' in many respects, Dapo Adelugba, dawned on me. But today my cup of deep emotional introspection runneth over.... i am lost at words on how to pay the most deserving tributes to my Mentor, My Teacher, My Guardian, My Guider, My Uncle, My Father... a man, whom, of all the men i have met in my short 40something sojourn here, has meant more than a god to me...
My father is 70 today, and i am in the deep trying to dig out those words... oh, were my grandmother -- Iya Ilaro-- to be alive today... she would have blessed me with those timeless Yoruba wise sayings with which to pay homage to one who is very much responsible for my person today...
While at this deep search, here is what i sent as sms to Uncle Dapo Adelugba, my own very Baba:
OUR DEAREST BABA
ON THIS DAY
I PRAY THAT
AND YOUR HOUSEHOLD
MAY YOU LIVE LONGER
TO REAP YOUR RICHLY
FOR ALL THE
YOU MADE IN US --
YOUR MANY CHILDREN
SCATTERED AROUND THE
FOUR CORNERS OF THE WORLD
WORD IS NOT ENOUGH
TO CAPTURE MY OWN
PERSONAL GRATITUDE FOR THE
MENTORING AND GUIDANCE
THAT YOU GAVE ME
IN MY CAREER
FOR BEING MY
E O PE FUN WA O
BELOW ARE THE TRIBUTES PAID TO BABA ADELUGBA BY SOME OF HIS COLLEAGUES AND STUDENTS
(more are still coming in, and will surely come as many of the students in different parts of the world, begin the teething steps towards a grand celebration of Adelugba in DECEMBER)
Adelugba: Toasting The 'Baba' Of Theatre @ 70
BORN on March 9, 1939, Professor Dapo Adelugba had his education at the University College, Ibadan where he studied English. While at the university, apart from taking part in a lot of productions such as Wole Soyinka's Swamp Dwellers, where he acted as the Blindman, he was president of University College, Ibadan Dramatic Society, where he adapted Moliere's Les Fourberies de Scapin (The Trickeries of Scapin) to That Scoundrel Suberu. In 1964, he submitted his Master's degree dissertation at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he wrote on Nationalism and the Irish Theatre. He later joined the teaching services of the University of Ibadan, where he retired in 2004. He is currently with the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. As part of the celebration of his 70th birthday anniversary (which falls due tomorrow), former and current students of Theatre Arts in all the Nigerian universities, as well as other theatre practitioners whose careers have been affected by the work of Adelugba, have started mobilising resources and energies towards the celebration, which is scheduled for December. Among other activities, play productions, conferences and lectures have been scheduled. Also planned is a A Nite of Tributes and production of a short documentary film on his life and work. A call has gone out for a Festschrift (tributes, essays) on the theme: The Adelugba I Know, Theatre Practice in Nigeria: Celebrating Dapo Adelugba, which is scheduled for launch in December.
A toast to Uncle D @ 70 and to his birthday "daughter mate", Francesca Duro-Oni @ 53.
My first contact with Prof. Dapo Adelugba was in the very early 70s as a young student in the Department of Theatre Arts at Ibadan, which had just metamorphosed from the then School of Drama. He certainly was not the "Baba" that is being celebrated now but a dashing young "Uncle D" who was the favourite of the lecturers. He took us out regularly on social outings and the price we had to pay, sometimes, was pushing his green Volkswagen car back to campus! Somehow the car didn't seem to start after a few drinks!
He was certainly the quintessential lecturer of directing, acting, dramatic literature and criticism. His directorial skills when we came in was manifest early when in 1971he directed the J.M. Synge plays; The Tinkers Wedding and Riders to the Sea and the epic production of Wale Ogunyemi's Kiriiji with a cast that included Tunde Oloyede (Fabunmi), Niyi Osundare (Aduloju) and yours truly as Ogunmodede who had to ride a live horse on stage!
Professor Adelugba's contemporaries at Ibadan have included, over the four decades that he spent there, Professors Geofrey Axworthy, Wole Soyinka, Joel Adedeji (late), Martin Banham, Demas Nwoko, Dexter Lyndersay (late) Funmilayo Ajayi (nee Sowunmi), Bayo Oduneye, Prof. Femi Osofisan and Dr. Sunbo Marinho. Others have included, Dr. Bode Sowande, Drs. Jide Malomo and Femi Fatoba (both late) and a host of others; Drs Lanrele Bandele, Mathew Umukoro, Hyginus Ekwuazi and Remi Adedokun, Dr. Esohe Omoregie with Dr. Chuks Okoye. There are of course others too numerous to mention in this brief tribute.
On a professional level, Prof. Dapo Adelugba directed Langbodo, Nigeria's drama entry for the FESTAC '77 with a cast of about two hundred drawn from all over Nigeria. That production remains till date a textbook exercise on how plays should be directed. Sam Loco Efe, as the young Akara Ogun, cut his acting teeth in the production. In the late 90s, Uncle D also directed the NIB/Citibank production of J. P. Clark's Oziddi. What was significant about that particular production, which was very well funded by the bank, was that the production funds were released in four installments. First, when the rehearsals were to start; second midway through the rehearsals and third when the group was ready to arrive Lagos and the fourth and last at the end of the production. By the time Adelugba and his team arrived Lagos, he had only collected the first installment!
I recall a personal encounter with the kolanut-chewing, gala-eating and coke-drinking professor of theatre arts, when in 1984, I went to his residence on the UI campus to intimate him of my impending wedding. I knocked on the door and the unmistakable soft voice asked me to come in, which I did. Only problem was I could not find Uncle D in the room! He was embedded in literarily hundreds of books, projects, dissertations and thesis in his living room!
Trying to recall the number of students that have passed through Dapo Adelugba would be an uphill task. He meant different things to many of us, but we all agree that he was an articulate and brilliant lecturer, kind-hearted and jovial. On occasions he will run into a student who graduated several years earlier and remind him of an outstanding assignment yet to be submitted.
To date he is known to have supervised, while at Ibadan, the largest number of Ph.D's. The number of Theatre Arts Professors that he has sat on their interview panels is also too numerous to count, but they span the entuire country; from Maiduguri to Sokoto, Zaria to Ilorin, Calabar to Portharcour and Lagos! We all owe him a debt of gratitude.
On Sunday March 1, 2009, a group of former students of Prof. Dapo Adelugba met at the University of Lagos to make plans for his birthday celebrations for later in the year. The encomiums and enthusiasm was electrifying. It was an array of graduates who left in 1972 to as recent as 2004. We were all united in the celebration of a theatre icon. Some of his former students who were present included Ihria Enakimio, Wasee Kareem, Tade Adekunle, Jahman Anikulapo, Pamela Udoka, Gregory Odutayo, Longley Evru, Don Pedro-Obaseki, George Ufot, Tony Afokhai and Kemi Koyejo.
The workaholic Uncle D, or shall we join the younger generation and say "Baba D", after retirement has relocated to the Department of Drama and Theatre of the Ahmadu Bello University to continue his work with post graduate students, while still maintaining his active link with the International Theatre Institute in Paris, the International Federation for Theatre Research, Helsinki and the African Theatre Association in London.
Oni, Theater Designer and teacher, is Head of Dept of Creative Arts, University of Lagos
Welcome to the ranks of septuagenarians - albeit several years after me! Your colleagues, in their various messages, remember and celebrate so many aspects of your life and times, and obviously the wonderful Scoundrel Suberu is often fondly recalled! I remember that, of course, but perhaps I'm one of the few who will also recall - with huge delight - your performance as the Company manager in our UI Travelling Theatre production of A (sic) Taming of the Shrew - our version of Shakespeare's comedy, directed, of course, by our great friend, the late Geoffrey Axworthy.
The opening 'joke' that you played on the audience was to come on stage and apologise for the non-arrival of the actors due to a (entirely plausible!) breakdown on the road. This provoked cries of disappointment from the audience. However, you told them, you had the scripts and a hamper of costumes, so if any of the audience would care to volunteer to come up on stage and play the parts, that would be fine! Some indeed volunteered and came up on stage, before the real actors, planted already in the audience, 'volunteered' themselves boisterously: the audience fell apart with laughter at having been tricked, and the show got off to a splendid start! And not to forget your appearance at the end of the play as 'The Widow' - so small a part that we pretended we had forgotten to cast it, and you saved the day and the play by throwing a shawl over your head and playing the part!
Fond memories! Geoffrey and I owed so much to you and your fellow students in welcoming us to Ibadan and helping us to find our feet in the rich world of Nigerian performance and culture. I have watched the growth of Theatre Arts at Ibadan over many years with great pride, and know what a considerable contribution you made to it as scholar, director and supremely - teacher. I shall open a very good bottle of wine on your birthday and drink your health!
Emeritus Professor of Drama & Theatre Studies, University of Leeds
On the Nature of Babaness - Dapo Adelugba Coming of Age
Dear Prof, this week, a number of scholars, dramatists, colleagues and students of yours will be paying tributes on the pages of newspapers, by phone and in person to celebrate your 70th birthday. I shall not be with you in Zaria, sharing your kolanut and soft drink, talking about the different directorial approaches for 'Adelugba @ 70, the Musical' or the technicalities of methodology of research in theatre. But if I cannot be there with you, it will not mean that I am absent, or that I do not care. This letter, in fact, is to inform you that my own celebration has already started. Yes, in these days, when many friends and colleagues of yours, and ours, have closed their eyes and turned their backs to the vagaries of our epileptic nationhood, it is a great accomplishment to reach that proverbial age. I remove my abeti-aja and raise my calabash of palm-wine. Palm-wine, not the beer that you taught us to drink with relish, with that unforgettable phrase - "Have another beer!"
Who can ever forget to celebrate you and what you have done for theatre in this country?
My first experience of seeing your work was on television. That was in 1977. We all gathered round the box, watching Nigeria's drama entry at the Second World Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC), watching this group of energetic young men as they quested for peace, in your interpretation of Wale Ogunyemi's Langbodo. Your version of that story reinforced my understanding of the Daniel Fagunwa original and renewed my patriotic belief in this country.
That play launched my Promethean path to do all I can for my country, at the risk of having my liver pecked to nothingness by a vulture. I am still waiting for Ogun to come and rescue me....
But, I still wondered: who put these people together? Who coordinated the tasks? Who had the ability to pose his thoughts for the appreciation of the whole world?
Posing the innermost thoughts for public contemplation, for that is what theatre is.
Many people are going to be singing your adulation this week, talking about your achievements, remarking your humility, discussing your professionalism and scholarship, wondering at your enormous stamina, ruminating at your sense of humour, speculating on where you find the time to examine theatre dissertations all over the country and perhaps, just perhaps, marvelling at your noted ability to avoid notice, to avoid confrontation and to be quietly influential.
A lot of people call you DA, Prof, Arts Director, Dapo, Daodu or Baba. This newspaper is emblazoned with "Baba" in bold frills on this your birthday. Not many people however know the origin of your "babaness", and a pica ninny lately out of diapers - that's me - is not going to start recounting the story here, Old Man Bero. But, I can admit, even proclaim, that you are a "baba" to me.
A baba cuts a figure of leadership. A leader not only leads but displays traits of followership. A leader guides with knowledge and compassion, with honesty and dignity, with love and pain, and most of the time, with the burden that his actions are going not going to be accepted, or at most, misinterpreted. It's such a lonely existence.
But you are appreciated. What did our Kongi say about you when he was nabout to embark on one of his famous "hide and seek" trips? He wrote an important letter and, risking arrest, drove to your pad in the interior of Ibadan, knowing you would know what to do. You would know what to do. That was in the 1960s during the infamous Masked Gunman episode of our "penkelemes" era. Do you recall, Silent Revolutionary? Or, do you prefer Revolutionist? I knew you would remember....
I am going to remark that unique caring nature of yours. Do you remember that day, in the faculty of Arts of the University of Ibadan, when you dropped out of a meeting you were cheering to take a student to the university clinic for an emergency treatment? You did not have to do that, but you did, saving me again from agony, as you had done many times before.
Again, many years ago now - and you have probably forgotten the incident - during the rehearsals of Wole Soyinka's Opera Wonyosi in 1988, you left Ibadan for a few hours to travel to a small village in the interior of Osun state, to see an elderly man who was ill. It was the last day of rehearsals and, frankly, we were all producing a harvest of butterflies. I was playing the role of the DeeJay.
Yet, you took some medicine and some fruits for that man. You came back to the rehearsals later in the day - only to find that some 'unteachable Ijeshaman' had not been learning his lines, and the music director couldn't find the tone of one Ibadan boy on the musical scale (neither of which was me, by the way). With your experience, you knew these tiny niggling things occur few hours before any performance.
I remember how you flew into one of your characteristic rages, biting off huge chunks of kolanut and threatening to cancel the production and hazard the professional development of fine actors, reducing some to tears and driving a few to the hiding places that only the habitu�s of the Arts Theatre know. What I remember most vividly was that twinkle at the corner of your eyes, and I knew you were only showing your 'babaness'.
A few weeks later, I found out why you missed the rehearsals. I was now angry; I could not understand why you did not tell me that my father was ill. Was it so that the show could go on? Or did you do it, like the Professor in The Road, out of the goodness of your heart? No, I didn't understand. Now, I do.
I have since found out that it is second nature to you to care, no matter the inconvenience to yourself. And that is why, on this your 70th birthday, I am having a special celebration, a mightily enjoyable 'inconvenience'.
No doubt some of your students still owe you essays and assignments, not because they are not capable, but because they are scared of those close markings that notice the un-dotted '"i" and the un-crossed "t".
They are frightened of your dreaded black pen detecting the subtle changes in inflection or thought pattern. Me? As a birthday present - which I know will delight you - I do not owe any assignments. Yippee!
DA, now that you are 70, can I ask you, as you so often do - "What's new?"
Many happy returns.
Adeyemi teaches a tthe University of Leeds
I could not agree that the above title adequately captures my tribute to a man who shaped my life, like many others who passed through his tutelage as I began writing in the wee hours of today, but write I must as a mark of honour to the one many of his younger contemporaries loved to call Uncle D, and many of his students called Baba Adelugba, even long before he turned 50!
If Baba had the privilege of being appointed a Vice Chancellor during his career, he would have been an advocate of a year-round academic calendar, simply because he loves the four walls of the Ivory Tower! Here is a man who initiated us I mean my set at Ibadan in 1988 into the Holiday Players when he was chosen to direct Wole Soyinka's Opera Wonyosi for the 40th anniversary of the University of Ibadan. Coming exactly ten years after his Festac '77 exploits, I was sure even as a theatre neophyte that he was set to make another history.
His passion for making somebody out of new and 'green' talents I the theatre is beyond comparison, as a theatre director. Baba gave me a privilege of playing the role of one of the Beggars n the play as Lawyer Alatako and I must say that I enjoyed the role and he like my interpretation, even as a 200 level student then. That opened up new vistas of opportunities to play alongside great actors like Femi Ogunjobi in the role of Emperor Bokasa, Yinka Smart-Babalola as Macheath and Sola Adeyemi, my fraternal co-traveler.
After the production, we had the rare privilege of being considered for accommodation in our respective halls of residence then, on the VC's list. I recall that as soon as three of us - my classmates: Osa Ologbosere, Tope Adeboboye and I - took the list to Zik Hall, the then Hall Warden, Dr. Tayo obeyed with immediate alacrity, telling the crowd of yelling and struggling, room seeking-students that he had to attend to the three 'VIP students' whose names came from Emeritus Prof. Ayo Banjo, the then VC. That was the extent of the man's subtle influence with the authorities on campus. It was actually his little way of appreciating the sacrifice we made by staying throughout the holiday period to put the production together. To all of us the beneficiaries, it was more than little as we were saved the harrowing experience of squatting for that session.
I don't know why Baba loves challenges. The seemingly complex and large productions such as Wonyosi was made simple for us like the scripture says in the book of Isaiah, chapter 40, verses 4 and 5, by infusing the Music Department of the neighbouring Ibadan Polytechnic to bring out the robust sense of opera in the theatrical interpretation. Some years later, in the same tradition, he took on J.P. Clark's Ozidi, one play which to me can be read as the Ijaw version of Amos Tutuola's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts and leveled the language and dramatics for another set of holiday makers. And more recently, in the wake of the Niger Delta militant uprising and kidnapping, he did a nationwide tour of All for Oil by the same author to the admiration of the viewing publics.
In the classroom, Baba was meticulous, conscientious and transparent, almost to a fault. In fact if there is any academic fit to take this country out of the morass of corruption through the ICPC (after all, he is a Justice of the Peace, JP of many decades standing), Dapo Adelugba would have been a ready choice by majority of opinion poll bloggers. He would make a sense out of nonsense submitted by his student ad would assess and grade your term paper, essay, continuous assessment, and even examination scripts even to the last decimal point, and then award you a deserving A++, B+, B-, or C+, as the case may be. As a student, I sometimes wished and preferred that he marked all our papers because he did not know how to mark his student down.
He once upon a time saved me from myself in the inadvertent use of stimulants for reading. I think I was either in 300 level or the final year. I had caught the flu of taking coffee and kolanut to drive away sleep in preparation for exams. On that fateful day, it happened that I went in for the paper; as usual, I placed my head on the desk to pray before attempting the questions. And that was all I remembered. Sleep, that shameless thief that can pilfer a child's cherished toy with impunity, crept in and took me away. After about two hours or so, I sensed a tap on my shoulder from a far away land. As I came to, I saw Baba standing by me. Understanding my predicament, he graciously offered me more time to tackle the exam paper as most of my colleagues, whom I could not blame for not waking me up earlier, had finished. He was prepared to wait on me. ALONE. What a fatherly disposition. Thank you may not be enough.
Baba was equally instrumental to a generational shift in the leadership of the old Oyo/Osun Chapter of the Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA, when in 1994, we sought to offer service to the body, under the aegis of Folu Oyewusi, who would be happy to be part of this celebration, Osama Ighile - all of us of the Sketch Press Limited, of blessed but unfortunate memory, Ebika Anthony, Biodun Obisesan, and a veterinary medicine student then, and a few other like minds. The erstwhile executive of the late Wale Ogunyemi, (MON), as chairman and Jare Ajayi as secretary had stayed longer than necessary. Delegates at the Convention had gathered and elections were about to commence, when someone observed that none of us vying for offices was a published author as specified by the constitution, except on the pages of newspapers.
Dapo Adelugba it was, who in his wisdom, intervened and opined that any writer who has had his work performed on stage, or read at a gathering of writers as in poetry and fiction qualified to be referred to as a published author. After all, he argued unequivocally, what a publisher does is to "make public" any work through the print medium. That intervention, many of the principal actors then would agree, saved ANA Oyo/Osun from going the way of the gods as it was already showing signs of lethargy.
I must confess that we did not let Baba down as some of us later went on to hold other positions in ANA both at the state and national levels over the course of time. By the time we were done in 1996 for the first term of office, he was proud of our humble achievements. It was about the same period that we made him the chairperson of NEP-READ, a non-governmental body committed to the promotion of the reading culture in Nigeria.
Adedapo Adelugba, the scion of Ile Owa in Esa Oke, where the late Cicero, indefatigable and irrepressible Bola Ige hailed from, means any different things to very many people. He can be a disciplinarian and at the same time, a genteel old man. But above all, he is a quintessential discoverer and encourager of new talents. He instilled in us the virtue of hard work and sincerity, exemplified by his thoroughness and sense of punctuality, which has helped me thus far in my career as creative writer, journalist, lecturer and now public servant for the better part of two decades. The last time I saw him was in Kano in November 2005, during the ANA national convention when he led ABU students with a play production at the British Council courtyard theatre and he was still his ebullient self, even in retirement.
Baba was one teacher who would come to class on the 27th of December and deliver his lecture to an empty classroom because of his orientation that Christmas celebrations end on Boxing Day and no university is empowered by law to declare holiday beyond those two days. He once did that for my set.
He gave me the first dose of confidence as a playwright in 1988 when my group presented my teething script as a THA. 103 Workshop I think) production out of three. Despite the flaws, he asked me to come and see him later in his book-infested office on the topmost floor of the faculty of Arts building and we read through line by line until he was satisfied I had the innate ability to become a good playwright. A few of my classmates would recall his prediction in our final year, to the effect that a Nobel Prize was in the offing for me in the year 2056 or so. I only hope it would come to pass.
The man who was fond of calling me 'an un-teachable Ijesa man' even though he is also Ijesa by birth perhaps due to my penchant for constructive argument, had conferred on me the title of "Professor of Dramatic Literature" as early as 1994, immediately after our Masters programme, whenever our paths crossed for reasons which I will not wish to disclose herein.
I want to agree with Tunde Phillips in his tribute posted on www.artfricana.com that Baba's contributions to the study of Theatre Arts in Nigeria are enormous and cannot be quantified. One can only sense the excitement and enthusiasm amongst all his students across the globe as demonstrated as firstname.lastname@example.org He understands your trials as a student, gives compassion and makes you work for your grade. It does not get any bigger than Baba Adelugba, yet his humility surpasses his achievements.
70 hearty, gentle and coca-kola-pied coke, kolanut and meat pie cheers to the living legend! May Olodumare grant this icon much more grey hair as he reaps the fruits of his labour to humanity.
Ademiju-Bepo works with the Nigerian Film Corporation, Jos, Nigeria.
The 'Uncle' Dapo Adelugba we know
Today, the renowned theatre scholar, Professor Dapo Adelugba, celebrates his 70th birthday. Some of his old students in Theatre Arts and the allied courses, including all those who had at one time or the other had interaction with him, either as direct or indirect students, actors in his many directed plays and those whom he has mentored in the field of performing and literary arts in over five decades that he began his active career in the theatre, pour tributes and encomiums, to the man popularly called 'Baba' Adelugba.
THE question 'who is Dapo Adelugba?' is, like Art itself, largely subjective. Of course, it would be reasonably objective to say that he was born on March 9, 1939 in Ondo; attended the famous Government College Ibadan, the no-less-famous University College Ibadan (now the University of Ibadan), and the University of California Los Angeles; taught at the Ibadan Grammar School and the Department of Theatre Arts of the University of Ibadan where he retired as a professor of Theatre Arts in 2004 ... And so on. The Man, however, is not this objectively simplistic. His phenomenal achievements, especially in the theory and practice of drama and theatre in Africa, are rather obvious, but The Man himself is by no means obvious.
The Man 'Baba', 'Dapo', 'Uncle Daps', 'Prof', etc. - as he is variously known to many - is a grand puzzle, very like the masquerade dancing in the square. As Chinua Achebe tells us, to truly see the whole of the performing masquerade you must copy its movements in the square. To truly see the whole of The Man being celebrated today by the entire 'tribe', to even come close to copying his dynamism, you must indeed be exceptionally mobile. Any student who has followed ('pursued' rather) Professor Adelugba from the 'Faculty' to the 'Department' is bound to take this statement more literally than metaphorically.
In any case, I am convinced that no one can convincingly claim to exhaustively 'see' the whole of The Man. This 'seeing' is, of course, only metaphorical. After all, he does not physically present much to the sight. Is he not the man Wole Soyinka described as Opelenge in his book Ibadan: The Penkelemes Years, and wondered how he ever managed to tuck away volumes of alcohol in his rather diminutive frame? Some, however, would swear that The Man they know never touched alcohol.
This depends, of course, on what part of the square you are watching the masquerade from. But those who were his students from the late seventies or early eighties, and later became his junior colleagues in the Department of Theatre Arts, certainly witnessed the continuous thinning of the glutton described by Soyinka into a teetotaller.
First, it seems he gave up Star for Coca-Cola (is this also when he gave up the regular meal for meat pie?), held unto '555' cigarette and Kola nut awhile, and then settled only for Kola nut.
In a viva voce or any such fairly formal situation, one is often surprised so see The Man sitting demurely, one leg crossed over another, suddenly dive under the table or chair in search of something obviously very important to him. (Baba would never be completely settled if he fails to find it.) So, Junior members of the panel would scurry after the lost pearl, only to discover that indeed it was a very tiny piece from Baba's precious Kola nut.
For obvious reasons, many are still concerned over The Man's unhealthy choice of dreary snacks over sumptuous meals; for Coke and meat pie, or the occasional egg-burger (straight bread and fried egg), over the wide expanse of choice dishes that proudly populate Nigerian cuisine.
The answer is simply, I think, that The Man is too busy to eat. And yes, he is a confirmed workaholic. I remember Theatre Director Chuck Mike saying that one of his ambitious projects is to actually find enough time (and money, I think) to research Baba's mountainous notes and make invaluable books of them.
People wonder why The Man slept in his office. But it would indeed be great if the man ever slept at all, wherever. If he is not reading a book or a student project behind the mountain of books on his table, he is spiritedly scribbling, in his elegant but virtually illegible hand-writing, on a copy of the university examinations answer booklet.
If you peer over the mountain you would see him hastily tear the cover off the booklet, squeeze it, or do something sometimes indecent to/with it, throw it into a bin if there was one, empty or not, or simply fling it anywhere, daring it to find accommodation in his bursting office.
The Man is a man of extremes. He is extremely selfless, kind, and generous. This is perhaps the only man in Nigeria who would return some money given to him for a production on account of it being too much. But you would live to hate yourself the day you become the butt of Baba's anger.
Today we celebrate Dapo Adelugba, The Man neither hard work nor stint diet could harm. But rather, unlike Nostradamus who saw tomorrow, Baba is going yesterday, sauntering backwards in time, looking and feeling 60 at 70.
Dr. Okoye is a lecturer at the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Ibadan.
What thrills me most about a tribute, unlike an obituary, is the fact that the character eulogised is alive to read it. What pains me most is that this tribute, unlike Adelugba's term paper assignment, submits itself to the limitations of space.
For those of us who were lucky to meet the agile man in his "555" days in the Dramatic Theory and Criticism class or Comedy and other Comic Forms lecture hall, memories of Aristotle's Coislinian Tractate are still fresh.
Many cherished Adelugba's engagements with Yeats, but I revered his academic teachings of the Wesker Trilogy, especially I'm Talking About Jerusalem. Still green in my memory was his radiant mood when delivering Chips with Everything.
Though obsessed with the "Yorubanglish" spectrum in his Dramatic Literature discourses, Prof. Adelugba falls within the range of Yoruba people who are more Nigerians than Yoruba. It seems that this attribute was taken into consideration when he was chosen to direct Ogunyemi's Langbodo, Nigeria's Drama FESTAC entry.
Professor Adelugba is a scholar, theorist, editor, author, critic, academic, theatre director and dramaturg, but above all, he is a mentor par excellence.
From 1974-1979 (the years of the Bamtefas, Oroks, Amatas, and the Enendus) I passed through the academic grill of this theatre guru - he is a wizard at compiling final year results (GPA). From 1985-1988, I was immersed in a hot bath of his supervision of my doctoral dissertation. He made me!
When Prof. Adelugba subjected me to reading Eric Bentley's The Theory of the Modern Stage (pp. 1-498), I regarded him as a mischievous person - little did I know that Georg Brandes's 1871 "Inaugural Lecture" which I read in the book will form the "opening glee" of my 2007 Inaugural Lecture in South Africa. Thanks DA! Professor Dapo Adelugba was a Master at students' development and support. In his outcomes-based students' development strategy, he dealt with students as self-regulated learners, academics and as persons imbued with emotions. He never hesitated to address students' social problems that were likely to impact on their academic progress.
We cherish everything you passed onto us except turning some of us into night-a-holics and workaholics.
Congratulations on your 70th Birthday Celebration. Live Long - Ashe!
Ebewo, Head, Dept. of Drama and Film, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa.
I think Prof Adelugba is a prophet of a theatrical nature. I remember our departmental auditions where his question after each student's piece, was: "What is your career plan?" I had this speech prepared as per my interest in technical theatre, working closely with Wasee Kareem (my classmate) and Sumbo Marinho (one of the technical theatre lecturers) how I'll like to follow that career path.... Story. He did not ask me any such question. In fact, he did not ask me any question at all. He just said (in his characteristic voice and accompanying characteristic hand gestures) "Inaicyra, take her away. Pamela, follow her. Go and dance" (followed by his characteristic laughter) Na wa for Prof.
Pamela is of the National Troupe/National Theatre of Nigeria
Celebrating the 70th birthday of that bearded Professor in his ankara agbada, the man I walked up to so many years ago as a secondary school pupil of Abadina College, University of Ibadan, to enquire about studying theatre arts, will be great. Dapo Adelugba means different things to different people. The last major production I did in Nigeria was Ozidi, which Adelugba directed for the now rested Nigeria Industrial Bank (NIB) theatre series. It is not surprising that Dapo Adelugba has managed to keep tabs on most of us, even after so many years, and for so many years. He even sent a covert message to me several years ago to enquire about my welfare in the UK, which I got. So, to Uncle D, happy birthday.
DASYLVA, ADEMOLA OMOBEWAJI
I am glad at the warm reception of the Dapo Adelugba @ 70 project. For his invaluable investment in us all, Uncle D is worth all the celebration and elaborate preparation being made to ensure its huge success. This man, who cares so much about others and yet so little about himself, is surely worth all the efforts to be put in the whole project. I remember how quick he always was, and still is, to celebrate excellence in others to the degree that while in the Faculty of Arts at Ibadan he initiated and saw to the completion of many festchrifts. His late friend and senior colleague, Professor Ifie of Classics, put up one for him when he was 60. Uncle D occupies a special place in my long list of my mentors. He is a foremost stage director Nigeria has ever produced. His works and those that passed through him here at Ibadan, and currently, ABU, Zaria, are eloquent testimonies of uniqueness in Theatre practice in Nigeria and beyond. A great man with a great mind, yet amazingly humble. It foregrounded the five-year-long interview I had with him, which was published by Ibadan Cultural Studies Group of the Faculty of Arts, in 2003, and revised in 2007. Something that amazed me throughout the series of interview was the fact that I was able to source for about 90 per cent of his numerous published papers, which I read closely and threw questions at him. He answered all the questions ex-tempore, and as close as possible to his held positions on issues raised in the publications. I shall be willing to donate copies of the revised editions to the organisers.
Happy Birthday 'Baba' Adelugba. One cannot forget this man that has a memory that is very sharp. He remembers everyone who owes him an assignment, this is where I think I might get in trouble - I am not so sure I am in the clear. Students often marvel at how he can remember that a certain paper was not turned in long after they have left school. He will stylishly inquire, and let you know that he is still waiting on the paper. Baba's contributions to the study of theatre arts in Nigerian are enormous and cannot be quantified. He understands your trials as a student, gives compassion and makes you work for your grade. It does not get any bigger than Baba Adelugba, yet his humility surpasses his achievements.
May the one that sits on the throne of life grant your heart desires. Amen
HUMBLE STALLION @ 70
March 9th, 2009 marks the 70th birthday of one of Nigeria's renowned theatre icon and scholar, Professor Dapo Adelugba. Baba Adelugba, as he is fondly referred to by his uncountable number of students, was born on March 9th, 1939. He had his formal education at the University College, Ibadan where he studied English. While in school he was the President of the University's dramatic society and he took part in various productions. He also adapted Moliere's "Les Fourberies de Scapin " to the Scoundrel Suberu.
Baba Adelugba did his Masters degree at the University of California, Los Angeles and later joined the University of Ibadan where he retired in 2004. Professor Adelugba's soft spoken nature has made him a model of a father to all his aquintances. He will speak almost inaudibly but firmly with a smile before the end of his sentence, he has a way of asserting his personality in a way that does not intimidate you.
Baba Adelugba also has a memory that is second to none. He remembers everyone who owes him an assignment, this is where i think I might get in trouble--I am not so sure I am in the clear. Students often marvel at how he can remember that a certain paper was not turned in long after they have left school. He will stylishly inquire, and let you know that he is still waiting on the paper. Baba's contributions to the study of theatre arts in Nigerian is enormous and cannot be quantified, one can only sense the excitement and enthusiasm amongst all his students across the globe as demonstrated at email@example.com, understands your trials as a student, gives compassion and makes you work for your grade. It does not get any bigger than Baba Adelugba, yet his humility surpasses his achievements.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY PA ADELUGBA,
MAY THE ONE THAT SITS ON THE THRONE OF LIFE
GRANT YOUR HEART DESIRES. Amen
Coordinators for the events can be reached at the email address mentioned above or via telephone Greg 0707-629-0507, Pamela 0803-307-8250 and Jahman 0802-201-6495 Please include international code plus country code if you are calling outside Nigeria.