February 10, 2016

Reading of ‘A Nightingale for Du Bois’ planned

by Vincent Rhomberg

CARBONDALE, Ill. – A world-premiere staged reading of “A Nightingale for Du Bois” by Femi Osofisan at Southern Illinois University Carbondale offers the community a chance to enjoy a play before it’s fully presented as a play.

The staged reading is set for Feb. 13 at 5:30 p.m., and Feb. 14 at 2:30 p.m. in the C.H. Moe Theater (Communications Building). This reading is in preparation for a full production as part of the SIU Theater’s 2016-2017 season.

“A Nightingale for Du Bois” combines Nigerian theatrical conventions with music, dance and poetry, and reflects on the life and spirit of the famous civil rights activist and author W.E.B. Du Bois. SIU’s Segun Ojewuyi, associate professor of theater and head of directing, directs the reading.

The play follows two weeks in Du Bois’ life in Ghana before his death at 95 in August 1963. Du Bois, a prolific author, was a leader of the civil rights organization, the Niagara Movement, so named for the “mighty current” of the Niagara Falls and the similarly mighty force for change the group hoped to be. Du Bois was also instrumental in founding the NAACP.

The author, Babafemi Adeyemi Osofisan, known as Femi Osofian – or just as F.O. -- is a highly regarded Nigerian writer, poet and playwright whose works critique African societal problems and injustice. Born in 1946 in Erunwon, a village in the old Western Region of Nigeria, Osofian studied at the University of Ibadan and did post-graduate work at the Sorbonne in Paris. He was a professor at the University of Ibadan until he retired in 2011.

He is the recipient of many awards, including several from the Association of Nigerian Authors, the Nigerian National Order of Merit, and, most recently, the Thalia Prize from the International Association of Theatre Critics. Currently, Osofian is Distinguished Professor of Theater Arts at Kwara State University in Nigeria.