SOJOURNERS: The Origin Story
::duty and desire::
2 women and 2 men
approximately 120 mins
SOJOURNERS introduces audiences to the central character of The Ufot Cycle, recent immigrant and newlywed, Abasiama Ekpeyoung.
As part of the first major influx of Nigerian immigrants, Abasiama, along with most of the Nigerian sojourners of the 1970s, hoped to fulfill the Nigerian Dream – immigrate, educate, marry, have babies, and return home. All of this was in hopes of rebuilding Nigeria after the devastation of the first modern African War [the Biafran War.]
However, her plans are not turning out as expected. Love, marriage, duty, and her husband, Ukpong Ekpeyong’s, newfound love of America are taxing her allegiances. In the end, we are left asking: “Will Abasiama be able to manifest the Nigerian Dream now that she has encountered America?”
::courage and cowardice::
4 women & 4 men
approximately 110 mins
Adiaha Ufot, the queer first-born daughter to Abasiama and Disciple Ufot, is both conduit of her rich culture and fulfiller of the legacy of the Nigerian dream.
Adiaha, steeped in the depth of her parents’ sacrifice, wants nothing more than to make her parents proud. However, holding their history and balancing her present is proving untenable.
Forced into a corner, Adiaha must choose. Will she uphold the desires of her parents and settle with a traditional Nigerian man? Or will she self-determine and pick her own love-match? Fortunately for her, she is not alone. The ancestors push her into discovering buried truths and help Adiaha finally find her true north.
3 women and 3 men
approximately 95 minutes
Married couple, Disciple and Abasiama Ufot, have been living the exact same day over and over again for many decades. … Decades soaked with yelling, and strife and disconnect. No longer able to hold onto the last vestiges of the Nigerian dream that kept them bound, Abasiama demands a divorce.
And in uttering that word — divorce — Abasiama somehow breaks their time continuum. Time suddenly rushes both forward and backward. While Abasiama cries out for separation, Disciple is ensconced in the middle of the Biafran War. And, for the first time in 30 years, Abasiama will come to understand the bedrock of the man she married.
::legacy and forgiveness::
approximately 90 mins
Abasiama’s past becomes present when, Iniabasi Ekpeyoung, the daughter she let go in SOJOURNERS returns to America, demanding her birthright.
Trapped in a one-bedroom New York City apartment, Abasiama and her two eldest daughters from two different marriages, Iniabasi and Adiaha, have a war of words. Each daughter sits on mountains of grievance – and neither of them can, nor want, to see into the other.
Abasiama faces the greatest reckoning of her life and must contend with the choices she made in her youth. If not, if Abasiama fails, her family will remain an ocean apart.
KUFRE N' QUAY
a children’s play
::bridging the cultural divide::
10 children and 3 women
Even though he is a citizen, Kufre, a smart and artistically talented young boy, is trying out America for the first time. Ever. He comes to America with his mother, Iniabasi, and together they stay with Grandma Abasiama and Aunty Adiaha, who, before now, he had only ever seen via Skype.
They enroll him in “The Zone,” a summer youth program in the “Little Senegal” part of Harlem. But once there, Kufre finds that neither the Black American children nor the children of Little Senegal like him. Just as Kufre feels he is doomed to spend the summer alone, he meets Quay— a super-creative African American girl just like him. Maybe through their friendship – and theater, of course! -- they can bring their youth center together…
Please note: While this is a play for children, it does not pander. These are urban kids that actually exist, and thus will sound like these students. Expect something that is as rough, tough and as beautiful as the students of Harlem.
::reckoning and new beginnings:
2 men and 6 women
Marriage bells are on the horizon because Ekong Ufot, the youngest child and only son of Abasiama and Disciple Ufot, has found the woman of his dreams. The only problem? He has yet to tell his father.
Prodded by his fiancé, Ekong heads down into Disciple’s basement, the room of the house Disciple has isolated himself within, to tell his father of his marriage and to ask to borrow his father’s walking stick [marriage heirloom].
Leaving empty-handed, Ekong spirals. Though he knew his father probably had nothing to give, it is another thing to discover that in real-time. After a moment of despondency, Ekong rallies and decides to move forward without his father. It’s what he’s always done.
But perhaps, there can be a miracle?
The clock ticks down to the wedding as Disciple, reeling after his encounter with Ekong, prepares himself to emerge from the basement, with a few gifts in his hand, trying once again to do what so many in the family don’t recognize---to be a better father than the one he had.
:: on becoming ::
3 men and 4 women
Brilliant and fiercely independent scholar, Toyoima Ufot – middle child to Abasiama and Disciple Ufot -- has forged her own lonely path. She has isolated herself in the hallowed halls of academia, in a state as far away from her hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts, as she can get.
But she cannot outrun her past forever ---
Especially not when the entirety of her career was built on the unpublished academic work of her father, Disciple Ufot.
When the institution discovers the plagiarism and puts her on leave, Toyoima makes a voyage to her fatherland -- Akwa Ibom, Nigeria – to contend with her history and her choices.
Immediately Toyoima steps foot onto Disciple's compound, she finds madness... yes. ...But also love and understanding. Before long, Toyoima finds herself on a healing journey, where she is ultimately exonerated --- because you can’t steal from yourself
IN OLD AGE
::purge and passing::
1 man and 1 woman
Abasiama Ufot and Azell Abernathy, a church-going carpenter, make an unlikely spiritual connection. Abasiama learns the true nature of love just as life takes a new turn. Watch and see as Abasiama cleans out her house and finds herself healed enough to embark on the last love voyage of her life.
ADIAHA & CLORA SNATCH JOY
a folk opera
16 women and 1 man
approximately 180 minutes
The love story we see in IN OLD AGE continues when Adiaha Ufot turns up in St Helena, SC, seeking answers about her recently deceased mother, only to find herself in front of a replica of her childhood home.
Unfortunately, any information Adiaha can glean about Azell and Abasiama must come through Azell’s only daughter, Clora Abernathy Jr.
Sparks fly between these two women as they fight, make messes, and work to understand their history. All aided, of course, by spirit women who push them into their destiny.
In no time, 35 years have been marked between them.
…And this is what has become of the Nigerian Dream Abasiama had no idea she was setting in motion in 1978—home is always closer than we think.