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“Tings Dey Happen” and the actor Dan Hoyle
Kobina Annan, Jr.

Rarely do you find a white actor who shows interest in representing Nigerian people and their culture through art, but Dan Hoyle a San Francisco based actor, took the challenge and was quite impressive in his solo play titled “Tings Dey Happen,” which opened in New York City recently. The time it took him to master the different personalities he presented on stage showed a love he had for the people he met while on his visit to Nigeria in 2005.

Here is what Hoyle had to say about “Tings Dey Happen,” his play: “This play is a distillation of the Niger Delta as I experienced it. Many of the characters are companies, the monologues a blend of several people’s words. …... Of the people I got to know there, one has died, one has been jailed for two years and then released, some have helped with the kidnapped, others have helped with kidnappings. For tonight, I honor them all with this play, and hope their stories stay with you after you leave the theater, as they continue to haunt and delight me.”

With this said, Hoyle opened his play at the Culture Project Theater in NY. There were about fifty people in the audience. The stage was dimly lit, with a chair at the center, and Dan Hoyle went into full monologue with energy and excitement.

His portrayal of Nigeria painted a picture of a busy city with street vendors working hard to earn a living while diplomats and business men worked on sealing contracts and, hopefully, to establish a better future for the economy. Dan, in his play, touched on issues from prostitution to how several Nigerian business men try to hustle their way into contracts with oil companies and how the unfortunate ones sometimes fail leading them to find other means of jobs to support themselves and family if they have one.

Hoyle’s fascination with Nigeria stemmed from a trip as a Fulbright scholar in 2005-2006 to the country. While in Nigeria, Dan performed at the University of Port Hartcourt’s Crab Theater as well as the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos. It was on the theater stage that Hoyle’s talent was brought to the attention of many Nigerians. But it was on the streets of Lagos that he learned to talk like them, in pidgin English, and to imitate the behaviors of businessmen and locals alike. The result was the play “Tings Dey Happen” on a stage in New York and far away from Nigeria.

A reception followed the play by an on stage conversation with Dan Hoyle and other panelists. Panelists included Ms. Oyiza Adaba a New York-based journalist/contributor and correspondent for The Africa Independent Television (AIT). Prof. Okey Ndibe is the author of Arrows of Rain, teaches at Simon’s Rock College of Bard in Great Barrington, MA

One panelist had this to say, “ Tings Dey Happen” does not judge anyone's actions or lack thereof. It merely states the fact and allows one's conscience to serve as judge."

As Dan Hoyle’s reputation as an actor gained ground among the Nigerian theatrical circuit, his reputation in the US has also grown.. He is currently hard at work as an artist-in-residence for San Francisco’s School of the Arts High School. He has been commissioned by the San Francisco Mime Troupe and the Aurora Theater Company to perform internationally and within the states.

Hoyle graduated from Northwestern University with a double degree in Performance Studies and History in 2003. He is also a writer whose essays have been featured in The San Francisco Chronicle and on SportsIllustrated.com and Alternet.org.

Dan Hoyle is an exciting actor with the ability to do many things on stage. However, his presentation of “Tings Dey Happen” will forever be a riveting reminder of his devotion to the ways of the people he met on his sojourn in Nigeria.

Kobina Anan, Jr. New York City, October 19, 2007


Dan Hoyle, the San Francisco based actor






Panelists on stage

Photos by Kobina Annan, Jr.




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