Join in this summer for the New York Theater Festival. THE FOURTH ALAAFIN OF OYO will be presented on MAY 30TH, JUNE 1ST, and JUNE 4TH at the LATEA THEATER. Show your support for the arts and join us for an exciting summer of live African Theater at one of the most beautiful Off-Off-Broadway venues in New York City.
SYNOPSIS OF THE PLAY
Genre: Yoruba Folk Myth
“The Fourth Alaafin of Oyo” is a play by Taiwo Aloba based on a classic tale of tragic decisions in Oyo, an ancient Yoruba city in Western Nigeria.
Based on a century’s old Nigerian Folklore, the play concerns the Yoruba deity, SANGO, who reigned as the fourth Alaafin of Oyo. The stage is anchored for a dramatic climax when SANGO sets two of his most powerful war generals against each other. Through ritual poetry, chorus, traditional rhythms, politics, and storytelling, the play entertains and asks questions about loyalty and the destructive consequences of unchecked power.
This traditional epic play aims to reintroduce minds to Africa through a historical lens. I have always dreamed of making a traditional epic play that felt authentic to the old African kingdoms. One that explores the Yoruba cosmology and the Old Oyo era (11th Century CE). One that captures the essence of oral culture. The sources of the tragedy that became the destruction of the Old Oyo Empire are rooted in oral tradition.
Set in pre-colonial Yoruba land with its many sights, sounds, and colors, The Fourth Alaafin of Oyo is a theater event replete with Yoruba language, music, praise poetry, proverbs, adages, ritual, ceremonial drumming, dance, and movement.
Sango was one of the greatest warriors in Yoruba Land and is revered globally. He surrounded himself with mighty warriors who venerated him but soon became his downfall with their betrayal. History has a way of repeating itself. Populist regimes are often neutralized by a significant disaster that stems from within.
“Asa Yoruba ko ni pa run o. Ase.”
(May the Yoruba Culture never die)
Taiwo Aloba (Playwright and Director) is a New York-based writer and director originally from Nigeria. She was educated at Lagos State University in Lagos, New York Film Academy in New York, and Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, New Hampshire.
General Seating: $25
VIP Seating: $45
Summerfest of the New York Theater Festival is one of the largest and most prestigious playwrights and music festivals/competitions in the United States. The festival was founded in 2012 and has hosted more than 1,100 productions and 250 musicals. Our venues are consistently considered the most beautiful Off-Off-Broadway Theaters in Manhattan. The New York Theater festival exists to allow new writers and artists to present their work in a professional and theatrical environment.
Full Cast & Creative Team
THE FOURTH ALAAFIN OF OYO, written and directed by Taiwo Aloba, will play at TEATRO LATEA (107 Suffolk St, New York, NY 10002) as part of the Summerfest of the New York Theater festival on Monday, May 30th, Wednesday, June 1st , and Saturday, June 4th.
The Fourth Alaafin of Oyo ensemble cast features Watson Mere, Makeena Rivers, Olamide Asanpaola, Deandra Bernardo, Babajide Ajisafe, Elisha Glass, Peter Johnson, Brianna Johnson, King Downing, and Angelle Laguerre.
From playwright Taiwo Aloba comes a riveting play about loyalties and the destructive consequences of unchecked power. Based on a century’s old Nigerian Folklore, this traditional epic play concerns the Yoruba deity, SANGO, who reigned as the fourth Alaafin of Oyo. The stage is anchored for a dramatic climax when SANGO sets two of his most powerful war generals against each other. Through ritual poetry, chorus, traditional rhythms, politics, and storytelling, the play entertains and reintroduces minds to Africa through a historical lens.
The show’s creative team includes Jenna Kole (Art Direction), Joseph Cobb (Lighting and Sound Manager), Omolola Abati Sobulo (Costume Design), and Yvonne Jewnell (Costume Design).
Watson Mere (Sango) has been an exhibiting artist for six years. He has earned awards, including the 2022 Elizabeth Foundation for The Arts Studio Program. Mere and his work have been featured in The New York Times and Esquire. Mere attended FAMU, receiving an MBA in 2015. He lives and works in NYC.
Makeena Rivers (Oya) was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Yoruba, by way of her father, this project holds value for both her acting and personal journey in understanding her heritage. Currently based in Los Angeles, she is consistently training and auditioning. Makeena believes in using creative power to address society’s issues around justice and liberation.
Olamide Asanpaola (Oba/Alakoso/Singer) is very excited to be a part of The Fourth Alaafin of Oyo at the New York Theater Festival. She is an actor, singer, and model from Long Island, New York. She is a recent college graduate of the class of 2020, receiving a BA in Musical Theater from SUNY Cortland. Acting Credits: Head Over Heels, Dangerous Liaisons, and Sister Act.
Deandra Bernardo (Osun/Singer/Dancer) graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 2018, where she learned the Meisner technique. She has worked on movie sets, TV shows, music videos, theater, and immersive arts. She has recently been seen on Equalizer, Girls5Eva, Power Book 2: Ghost, and more!
Peter Johnson (Bashorun) is a multi-hyphenate artist who is not limited to any one medium of expression. He is moved by his curiosity and love for the arts, allowing him to express himself through many creative outlets, including acting.
Elisha Glass IV (Gbonka/Danafojura) is a multifaceted creative hailing from the Midwest. Glass has held roles as Simba in the Lion King and the Wizard in The Princess and The Pea. On-screen, Glass has been featured in films and music videos with names such as The Last Witch Hunter, I am Wrath, Miles Ahead, and Cleveland Abduction. He is currently taking on more theater and film roles while being a teaching artist and raising two beautiful girls.
Angelle Laguerre (Iyalode/Singer) is a recording artist and singer-songwriter out of Brooklyn, New York. Growing up in musical family, she was always encouraged to follow her dream and aspire to great things in life and music. Angelle is currently modeling and focusing on her acting and singing career.
King Downing (Lead Drummer) is a Lawyer, Filmmaker, Journalist, and Host of GOOD MORNING NUEVA YORK on WBAI Radio 99.5fm. He is a musician and tries his hand at “sit down” comedy.
Jide Ajisafe (Praise Singer) is an actor based in New Jersey. He studied Graphic Design & Interactive Advertising at Kean University and is currently enrolled in Digital Marketing, MA program at Rutgers University. His stage credits include Ufedo in Strong Island and Olusinigwe in Voice from Heaven.
Brianna Johnson (Palace dancer/Adio) is an NYC-based performer and music enthusiast who emphasizes artistic expression from the African Diaspora in her work. Brianna’s previous theater credits include Vera Stark in Lynn Nottage’s By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, Hawkins in Men on Boats, and Denise in the premiere of Gab Reisman’s Jeune Terre.
NEW YORK THEATER FESTIVAL
SUMMERFEST OF THE NEW YORK THEATER FESTIVAL 2022
Playwright/Director: Taiwo Aloba
Name of Play: The Fourth Alaafin of Oyo
Length of Play in Minutes: 85 Mins
Blurb of the Play: A classic tale of tragic decisions in Oyo, an ancient Yoruba city in Western Nigeria.
It is written in English but includes Yoruba materials.
Presented at the: TEATRO LATEA
107 Suffolk Street
New York, NY 10002
Auditorium: 75 seats
Performance Dates: May 30th, 2022, at 9 PM
June 1st, 2022, at 9 PM
June 4th, 2022, at 2:15 PM