“I have opened my shores and my borders on to you, for cultural exchange. You gave me holy books, gunpowder… and you have asked more than I can show you…” boomed a deep voice in Downtown Phoenix on April 5th, 2022, just after the start of Thunderbird’s Grand Opening and 75th Anniversary Global Reunion.
Those fortunate enough to attend Thunderbird’s most recent reunion had the pleasure of experiencing delicious food, the opportunity to reunite with old and new T-bird-affiliated friends, and various cultural performances from all around the globe. Talent put out by the Thunderbird students remained plentiful, with numerous songs, dances, instrument playings, and other fun showings put on throughout the week. One notable presentation was directed and produced by Thunderbird’s very own Ayodele “AY” Adeola, an MGM student from Nigeria who will soon pursue his second year in the program.
AY also happened to be that “deep voice” booming across Downtown Phoenix on that fateful day.
The play, which Adeola aptly named “The King’s Contrivance,” follows a story of a kingdom that faces the grave situation of losing its benevolent ruler to foreign enemies following a period of relative peace. The king’s untimely exit from his civilization occurred as a direct result of his decision to bravely sacrifice himself in pursuit of protecting both the people and their most precious secrets – perhaps that was the tale’s first lesson?
A new hero ends up rising to the task before ultimately finding success – but there is a small twist, which will be clear by the end of this writeup. Many tense moments can be found from start to finish in what turns out to truly be a rollercoaster of emotions during the journey.
Adeola shared some of his own thoughts on the tale:
“I wrote this play thinking about Leah Sharibu (one of the 276 female teens kidnapped in a School in Chibok, Nigeria in 2014 and every other person, gender, race, or disposition that doesn’t fit the narrative of receiving an education or attaining significant success.) The tides have turned.
A female child will be crowned the king of Simbasa, breaking the long reign of male kings. This occurs years after the abduction of her father, King Elemokuye Adelugba the third, who was brought to his knees by his benevolence and now serves as a tortured slave in a foreign land.
Can she keep the secrets of ‘King Solomon’s mines’ like her predecessors, or will the contentions of her gender keep her from lifting a symbolic ‘thunderbird’ to serve as a peace accord as other nations threaten war?
This play will locate you at different phases of life and define your insecurities.”
Without giving away too much, the new hero, initially an unexpected one, rises up to the task and puts the kingdom in a positive direction once more. Adeola’s story was a fascinating one filled with many insights. Themes touched upon during the performance were multifaceted, arguably including a lesson to never give up, an inspiring message of not letting one’s immutable characteristics prevent success, and even perhaps a cautionary tale on the positives and negatives alike of what may happen after an individual or society opens themself up to a world outside their own. I highly recommend you watch it for yourself.
One more thing. Did you catch the twist?
P.S. Yes, it was me who played the henchman leader who abducted the king – a role I’m very proud of, by the way.