Kofi Dzogbewu, under the auspices of his Dzomoko Productions, will stage his first major play at the Efua Sutherland Drama Studio at the University of Ghana on Saturday, February 1, 2020. I first met Kofi at our Writers and Readers’ Grotto. Since then, I have followed his writing keenly and I am so pleased his play is showing on Saturday. Consequently, I had this quick chat with him for my column in the Business & Financial Times Newspaper. I want to throw an invitation to you and also encourage you to take some time to attend this event. It will be worth your time and money. I hope you enjoy the interview.
Elikem: Congratulations on your upcoming play
Kofi: Thank you
Elikem: How long has it been coming and how does it feel to finally be at this point, a day to your first major production?
Kofi: I started working on this play in 2017. In late 2018, I had finished writing the play and I sent it out to some trusted people for review. In mid-2019, I had finished editing the play and we began the preparation towards production. I am very excited and quite nervous to finally have the play produced.
Elikem: I have known you to be a prose writer all this while. How did you get into drama and what other genres of writing do you dabble in?
Kofi: My stories are dictators and can’t be made into something they don’t want to be. But when I started working on ‘Kosi’ I realized the story could best be told as a play and therefore made it one. I also write poetry when the muse directs my writing in that direction.
Elikem: What’s this production about? Why should people come and see it?
Kofi: This production tells the story of a young woman who receives a 25-year-old letter from her father and sets out to find him in his village, only to be made a slave of the gods. This production tells a tale on a very sensitive issue in a humorous and sarcastic way in order to shine a light on and start a discussion on a practice that has since moved to the blind side of society.
Elikem: What’s the first hook that got the play started for you? Is it an image, a theme, a character?
Kofi: What got the play started for me was the realization that people actually thought the ‘trokosi’ practice was a thing of the past. I started writing a story on the phenomenon and it came out as a play.
Elikem: You’re pulling a Tyler Perry in this production as a playwright, director and actor. What’s accounting for this? Budget, lack of talent or you’re just so talented? What challenges does it pose to you?
Kofi: I have been acting since I was a child in Sunday school and basic school plays. When I wrote this play, I felt I will be the best person to bring to life what I had in mind on the stage, hence my role as director in this play. One major challenge I faced being the director and an actor in the play was directing scenes which I also acted in. Because I was also acting in those scenes, it was difficult identifying some mistakes that I and other actors were making in the scenes. I corrected this problem by including in the cast other directors who took over the job of directing us in the scenes I acted in.
Elikem: I hope this production is successful and you stay in theatre for a long time. When that happens, or even now, what would you say is the distinguishing factor between a Kofi Dzogbewu production and other theatre productions?
Kofi: A Kofi Dzogbewu production includes cultural and social elements that are very relevant today in the production, with the aim of throwing the light on them in order to start a conversation along those lines while remaining interesting and humorous to the audience. This is what makes our productions different from others.
Elikem: What’s been some of the challenges so far?
Kofi: Some challenges I have faced in this production has got to do with getting sponsors and getting the cast and crew to be fully committed as most of them are combining acting with work or school. We have however been able to work around everybody’s schedule.
Elikem: Any more information you want to give on play on Saturday? The venue, Time, Ticket Price & Outlets?
Kofi: ‘Kosi’ will be staged in the Efua T. Sutherland Drama Studio, University of Ghana. The time is 7 pm and tickets will be sold at the gate for 20 cedis (students with a valid Student I.D.) and 30 cedis (for everyone else)
Elikem: Who are some of your contemporaries (i.e. playwrights) who you think should get more attention? What do you think are the main obstacles they face to getting wider recognition?
Kofi: Atsu Adaletey of Dzolali Theatre House and Nii Ayi Solomon of Village Minds Productions are some other playwrights I think should get more attention than they do currently. I think they are also faced with similar challenges as me in terms of getting adequate funding and exposure to be able to cast full-time actors.
Elikem: Let’s close this with a question I’m sure you would have expected at the beginning. Tell a little bit about Kofi Dzogbewu and your journey into writing
Kofi: I loved reading as a child. Writing came naturally to me as a consequence of reading so much. I, therefore, read English and Literature in the University to be trained in the art of Creative Writing; and I’ve been writing since then.
Elikem: I wish you all the best, Kofi.