Universally, the norm is a “Red Carpet Event”, when celebrities meet to blissfully grace an event with their presence. Well, the upcoming 42nd Anniversary of “Liberia’s Shakespeare” Dr. Joe Gbaba’s calling as a playwright, theatre director, actor, and producer, is going to be very different. His Dehkontee Artists Theatre is breaking the norm! They are having a “Green Carpet Event” at the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, January 9, 2016 @ 7:30 p.m. and Liberians in the diaspora are taking this occasion as a national pride and to stand behind their playwright to prove to the world that Liberia will rise again despite the rugged path Liberians have trod over the past half a century!
Already hundreds of distinguished guests ranging from foreign diplomats accredited near Washington, D.C., state and county officials, including hundreds of patriotic Liberian citizens and students of Dr. Gbaba from the University of Liberia, Cuttington University, the College of West Africa, A.M.E. Zion Academy, St. Patrick’s High School, St. Teresa’s Convent, Zwedru Multilateral High School, Mother Pattern College of Social Work, as well as presidents and officers of Liberian associations and chapters, and schoolmates and graduates from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of Liberia, St. Joseph’s University, and the general public, have all respectively expressed their intent to be in attendance to celebrate and watch the performance of Liberia’s premiere theatre company Dehkontee Artists Theatre’s production of Joe Gbaba’s “The Frogs and Black Snake in Frogsville”!
Asked why a break away from the norm of having a “red carpet” for such an auspicious event, Dr. Gbaba reasoned that since the production is an African fireside fable and play, the green carpet would represent the verdant nature of the African forestlands in which the animals in the play reside. As Dr. Wollor Topor put it: “Green,” from my view, resprents prosperity and symbol of golden harvest ; therefore the selected color (GREEN) speaks it all for Dehkontee Artists and the rest of suffering human race.”
In addition, the international artist/scholar argued that “As you all know me, I have never been the one to follow suit because I am a trend setter. As a royalty from an African nation that set the pace for other African states to gain their independence, it is incumbent upon every Liberian to play a leadership role among the Black Race. Also, it is my role as a constructivist pedagogue to preserve our rich cultural heritage at home and abroad because a nation that does not appreciate its own history and culture is doomed to self-destruction because the torchlight of our culture has been put under the bushel instead of being placed on a pedestal where everyone can benefit from the radiance of our glorious and unique culture and history.”
Dr. Gbaba received his calling from God forty-two years ago when he was a senior student at the prestigious all boys Carroll High School—run by English and Irish Christian Brothers of Edmund Rice, then located on the lower range of Mount Nimba in Grassfield, Yekepa, Nimba County, Liberia. The theme of his first play “Life Story of Kekula” was centered on integration and unification. Since then he pursued his dream of furthering his education in the liberal and performing arts and attended some of the best universities in the world, including Liberia College, University of Liberia where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Music, Theatre, and Dance where Dr. Gbaba obtained his MFA in Directing and Acting, and attended the prestigious Jesuit institution St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he earned a Master of Science in Elementary and Special Education and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership!
The storyline of “The Frogs and Black Snake in Frogsville” is very relevant to the realities in present day Liberia especially as Liberians are gearing up for presidential and general elections come 2017 when the term of the incumbent President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf ends. The play emphasizes the importance of unity and voters’ education to empower electorate make informed decisions during elections. The cast consists of very gifted local actors and actresses including Julian Gbaba, Jacques Gbaba, Alie Kamara, Annette Landers, Christopher Miller, and celebrated traditional Liberian artists the likes of Zaye Tete Comgbaye, Tokay Tomah, Marie Nyanbo, J. Blamoh Doe, Arthomilts Thomas, and many others. Dr. Gbaba is also acting in the play as Spring Frog!
Tickets for the event can be purchased at the door on January 9th, 2016 or online: www.dehkonteeartiststheatreinc.com.
Grand Patrons” $50 (includes VIP seating and copy of play)
Patrons: (VIP seating only)
Senior Citizens: $10
See you at the Dehkontee Artists Theatre “Green Carpet Event”!