Happy Birthday Ola Rotimi!!!
Ola Rotimi Celebrated by Google.
Google today releases a beautiful doodle to celebrate the 84th birthday of Ola Rotimi, one of Nigeria’s leading playwrights and theatre directors. Originally named Olawale Gladstone Emmanuel Rotimi, Ola Rotimi has been called “a complete man of the theatre – an actor, director, choreographer and designer – who created performance spaces, influenced by traditional architectural forms.”
Ola Rotimi was born on April 13, 1938 in Sapele, Nigeria in a family of artists. He attended St. Cyprian’s School in Port Harcourt from 1945 to 1949, St Jude’s School, Lagos, from 1951 to 1952 and the Methodist Boys High School in Lagos. In 1959, he travelled to the US to study at Boston University, where he acquired a BA in fine arts.
Ola Rotimi got married to Hazel Mae Guadreau in 1965. Throughout his career, he wrote and directed dozens of plays and short stories that poignantly examined Nigeria’s ethnic traditions and history. In the 1960s, he started teaching at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in Nigeria where he founded the Ori Olokun Acting Company and Port Harcourt. Owing, in part, to political conditions in Nigeria, Rotimi spent much of the 1990s living in the Caribbean and the United States, where he taught at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Ola Rotimi’s later dramas include The Gods Are Not to Blame (produced 1968; published 1971), a retelling of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex in imaginative verse; Kurunmi and the Prodigal (produced 1969; published as Kurunmi, 1971), written for the second Ife Festival of Arts; Ovonramwen Nogbaisi (produced 1971; published 1974), about the last ruler of the Benin empire; and Holding Talks (1979).
Ola Rotimi was known to have a larger-than-life vision and embraced dance, music, and even mime within his productions. His plays pulled back the curtain to unveil traditional Nigerian rituals, songs, and dances to audiences all over the world. He died on August 18, 2000 at the age of 62.
Google today honors “the father of Nollywood” and one of Nigeria’s foremost dramatists, Ola Rotimi on his 84th birthday.