Multiple award-winning entertainer, Helen Paul, has celebrated her 17 years on stage with the release of her anticipated play, ‘Live Burial’. The event was held amid pomp and ceremony at the University of Lagos Guest House yesterday, Sunday, 24 April.
During the event, which was attended by Prof Olumuyiwa Adebanjo-Falae, (Dean, Faculty of Arts, UNILAG), Barrister Femi Bamisile, Chief Charles Nwoji and Dr. Otun Rasheed among others, Helen Paul also unveiled members of her drama troupe officially.
Prof Adebanjo-Falae, who was the chief launcher of the day with his wife, described Helen Paul as a “special breed. Her husband is lucky to have her, and she is lucky to have a gentleman like him too because without his support and sacrifice, she can’t be where she is.”
Chief Charles Nwoji, who gave Helen Paul her first official public performance as a singer in Abuja in 1999, narrated how he met and discovered the entertainer’s singing prowess almost two decades ago before she was given the opportunity to participate at the………………where she emerged the Best Gospel Act.
According to Dr. Otun Rasheed, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Lagos, a genius is someone with one percent aspiration and 99 percent perspiration. He further described Helen Paul as a “focussed lady I have been monitoring from her undergraduate days. She started the idea of writing ‘Life Burial’ five years ago. It is thoroughly edited and I can boldly say that it can compete anywhere in the world.”
‘Life Burial’ is a boisterous comedy on gender relationship, but such relationship between a licentious man, Chief, and his assorted women. Apart from Anike, the only woman that Chief married, marriage and love is a game in the life of the other characters.
In playing the game of love and marriage, Chief maintains a clear distinction between the woman he married, Anike, and the other women who got married to him. Unfortunately, the whole game takes a fatal turn when envy mixes with desire and denial.
In the play, laughter is made an antidote to a confusing and confused world. In an amorphous world where social values are derided, where truth and honesty are evaded and the law is made to look as a buffoon, nothing is left but the surprises of being and becoming.
The playwright, Helen Paul, wrote ‘Life Burial’ as a doctoral student in the department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos. She is one of the finest TV presenters, a stand-up comedian, an actress and above all, a scholar and critic of theatre and performance.
“She is unique in her quest for knowledge despite being acclaimed as a star in the big screen. What types of drama, then, can one expect from Helen except one carefully designed to instruct by entertaining. The play is a good drama with full potentials for the stage. I recommend it to all without reservation,” Dr Osita Ezenwanebe, Associate Professor of Theatre Arts, UNILAG rapped.
Helen Paul recently toured some Nigerian universities with her crew to present ‘Live Burial,’ her first work as a playwright.
The tour started from the University of Lagos, before moving to the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and Redeemers University, where the drama received accolades from veterans like Olu Jacobs, Joke Silva and Dr. Ahmed Yerima.
Helen Paul said the second phase of the successful tour is scheduled to kick-off later in the year.
“Interestingly, we have actually received messages from some international schools requesting that we bring ‘Live Burial’ to their respective institutions. But we would be starting from Cameroon soon,” she stated.