By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
Theatre director / academic Abdul Karim Hakib’s stage adaption of a classic Ghanaian film “I Told You So” recently brought a discharge of nostalgic feelings by elderly members of the audience during a splendid performance at the Accra International Conference Centre.
With the cast largely comprising students of the School of performing Arts, University of Ghana (Legon), the play offered a sharp glimpse of life in Ghana in the late 1960s and early 1970s while showcasing the fact that life in the past is palpably and demonstrably present.
A comedy that reveals the travails of a young woman who was compelled to employ riches as a tool for marriage and the consequences that befell the union, the play gradually reveals the travails, disgrace and ridicule the family encountered owing to their inability to effectively verify the background of a so called rwealthy man.
Director Hakib, who uses humour to a fine effect, equally employs singing, dancing, practical proverbs and adages that were in vogue during the period while interspersing the production with highlife, traditional and folk music as well as free style Ghanaian dances of the 1970s.
“It is a story of greed, a sense of self fulfilment in wealth and a false belief that riches is the solution to all problems on earth thereby turning it into a critical element of marriage. I watched this film over thirty five years ago and it has suddenly brought memories of the period – we need more of these historical productions”, said Yaw Adu, a writer in Accra.
The performance was delivered with the lightest of touches as the director adapts an easy conversational tone laced with intense humour while employing a choir to unveil part of the story thereby bringing on stage an atmosphere of a past era in a relaxed and entertaining manner.
Interspersed with music from a palm wine highlife band comprising students and lecturers, the relationship between traditional Ghanaian culture and western pop culture that was equally in vogue in post-independence Ghana, was clearly visible through mannerisms, dressing and social ceremonies.
Undeniably, this stage adaption of “I Told You So” has brought into sharp focus themes in current Ghanaian films with enthusiasts pointing to the style of this film as one of the directions our industry should pursue.