by Candace Barrington
On 13 and 15 July, Ufuoma Overo-Tarimo’s dramatic adaptation, The Miller’s Tale: Wahala Dey O! was finally brought to audiences in the western hemisphere. Featuring performers from Nigeria, England, Iceland, and Canada, the international troupe brought an exuberant interpretation of Chaucer’s tale, first to the Isabel Bader Theatre at Victoria College, Toronto, and then to Erindale Studio Theatre in Mississauga. True to the spirit of Nigerian dramatic tradition, the production enhanced the comic adaptation with music and dancing from many genres.
The first performance coincided with the New Chaucer Society Congress being held at Victoria College, so the filled house was not surprising. It was good to learn that the second performance also played to a full house.
The large undertaking would not have been possible without the support of the 2018 NCS Congress hosts, Alex Gillespie, Will Robins, and their exceptional University of Toronto team.
by Candace Barrington
We have great news for Chaucerians in Reykjavik this summer for the New Chaucer Society Congress! We’ve learned that Ufuoma Overo-Tarimo will be staging her adaptation of The Miller’s Tale to coincide with the conference in July. Written in both Nigerian Pidgin and English, The Miller’s Tale: ‘Wahala Dey O’ had its premier at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and received a four-star rating and glowing reviews
Ufuoma’s adaptation draws on her background: born in Nigeria and raised in Britain, she is a former student of Sif Rikardsdottir (the Icelandic Chaucerian heading the conference’s local organizing committee); she took Sif’s “Chaucer and the North” course. She wrote in the play in 2006 while studying for her Masters in English. Based on the snippets of the play that I’ve viewed on YouTube, I wasn’t surprised to learn she had previously studied Philosophy and History of Religion at King’s College, London University and later studied at the College of Law. That legal trajectory changed when she moved to Iceland with her husband in 2004 and began graduate study in English. And even that journey has taken a side trip.
She explained it to me this way:
I discovered play writing and feel very passionate that this is a sound way to get people who would otherwise not care for Chaucer right into the heart of Chaucer’s work. The Edinburgh Fringe proved this right. As the play attracted all and sundry from curious Chaucerians, English Professors, bored students, wanderers, homesick Nigerian/English expatriates and colonialists, and those in search of a good time…
Chaucerians at the Reykjavik conference will get a chance to meet Ufuoma and to see her play. We will keep you posted on the performance schedule and how to purchase tickets.