‘Nollywood Goals’ Laughs Don’T Rise Above Trite Sitcom Stage

Towards the top of “Nollywood Goals,” a fraught encounter erupts between two characters, a justifiably enraged, bitter girl and her erstwhile boyfriend. The scene successfully stilled the just about nonstop laughter of an appreciative opening-night viewers at San Francisco Playhouse.

It was the one scene in playwright Jocelyn Bioh’s script that made the characters appear actual, thanks as properly to Anna Marie Sharpe’s emotionally linked portrayal. Previous to that scene, her character, Fayola, had been a cartoon of a snippy, jealous, struggling actress.


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However other than that one scene, the 90-minute comedy, maybe particularly as directed by Margo Corridor (one of many Bay Space’s greatest actors), is clearly supposed to garner as many yuks as potential, on the expense of, amongst different issues, the integrity of the feminine characters or any sort of actuality. It has all of the makings of a skinny, formulaic TV sitcom stuffed with one-dimensional characters.

Wouldn’t it cross muster–would it’s definitely worth the appreciable manufacturing efforts of an esteemed theater firm like San Francisco Playhouse — have been it not meant to be a peek, for American audiences, into the wildly prolific movie trade (nicknamed Nollywood) in Nigeria?

Because the title signifies, the central character, Ayamma (Angel Adedokun), needs to be a Nollywood star, though she has no coaching and seemingly no expertise.

“That is my calling,” she says firmly, and it appears that evidently by the top of the play, we’re meant to consider it is true. She and her older sister, Dede (Brittany Nicole Sims), run the household journey company in Lagos, during which they don’t have any curiosity in any respect.


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Dede prefers to disregard the ringing telephone and give attention to her film magazines. When Ayamma probabilities upon a chance to audition for a filmmaker who’s again on the town from America, she’s all in. Cue ridiculously over-the-top efforts at preparation: rehearsing the audition scene by studying the script aloud at dwelling to Dede, over-emoting at screechy prime quantity, cluelessly studying the punctuation, and many others.

Later, she refers to a call-back as a back-call. A number of occasions.

Scenes of Ayamma getting ready for the audition and arguing with Dede (who’s much more star-struck, a lot in order that when she encounters a bona fide star, her eyes come out and he or she utters nothing however guttural noises, repeatedly) maintain no surprises.

However fortunately they’re interspersed (on scenic designer Invoice English’s nifty revolving set) with by far the funniest scenes within the play: a succession of preening, self-involved film stars on a TV discuss present being interviewed by a robust, overly vivacious, Oprah-like host. Preening beneath an elaborate array of turbans (costumes by Jasmine Milan Williams), Tanika Baptiste is splendidly ingenious within the position.


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However goofy Dede, ingenue Ayamma and her nemesis, bitter Fayola, are strictly foolish, cliche characters (no fault of the actors) in a cliche plot. It would not assist that the 2 male characters do not make a lot of an impression — nor does the budding romance between Ayamma and the film star ring true.

Bioh’s “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding” opened just lately on Broadway, and different performs of hers have made the rounds of the theater world (together with the musical “Goddess” at Berkeley Repertory Theatre), however this mild comedy has nothing new to supply.

“Nollywood Goals” continues via Nov. 4 at San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Submit St., San Francisco. Tickets are $15-$100 at (415) 677-9596 or sfplayhouse.org.

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Copyright © 2023 by Bay Metropolis Information, Inc. Republication, Rebroadcast or every other Reuse with out the specific written consent of Bay Metropolis Information, Inc. is prohibited.

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