Another episode of trauma… A call for restrain, peace and unity
Mother Teresa, popularly known among Catholic as the Saint Teresa of Calcutta, in one of her books, The Joy In Loving: A Guide To Daily Living, said: “We do not need guns and bombs to bring peace; we need love and compassion.” This principle tallies with the reasoning of greater peacemakers from different climes and creed.
As a way of drumming the message on peaceful coexistence, nonviolence and a kick against vendetta, DePlayHouse on Sunday presented a play titled, Another Episode Of Trauma to caution people against taking action that would truncate peace now tension are high because of the activities of herdsmen in some communities across the country.
The play tells the story of Joseph (Emmanuel Otobo), whose younger sister was killed in the northern part of Nigeria, while observing the compulsory one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
Worried that the nation could not protect its young ones and future leaders and also, how some mindless group of people in the name of Boko Haram or herdsmen are brutally sending young Nigerians to their early graves without serious actions taken against them, Joseph plans a reprisal attack on the group. Blinded by emotion, but spurred by bitterness, he damns the consequences of his action on his family and his immediate community.
Using a latent approach, he begins to attack the alleged ungodly group with his newspaper articles and cartoons, which bring him fame and large following. Joseph through this finds a friend in Tonia (Duro Adeleke), whose property and that of his family members were destroyed in the North by these dreadful groups. The twosome cries for change in the polity, but unknown to the other, through different means.
While Joseph chooses the radical approach, Tonia in his wits wants a supple method to effect political change that would not lead to bloodletting. At first, the bosom friends were with one mind until the belligerent nature of Joseph begins to manifest, making Tonia to tell Mariam (Diana Emevor), Joseph’s wife, what the husband is up to.
Mariam pleads to her husband to have a change of mind and let God have His way, but he would not listen. He is bent at revenging his sister’s death.
Joseph’s retaliatory mission sets him on a collision with Tonia and his wife. His planned actions cause him psychological imbalance that creates tension in his home, work and society, to the extent of threatening his marriage.
However, he insists on carrying out his revolutionary plans and secretly begins to gather arms and ammunition. Gathering enough weapon, Joseph launches out at his target group, using the guerilla warfare. Unfortunately, he finds himself entangled in the web, as his opposing group overpowers him, attacks his group and kills all his family members, including his pregnant wife. Not able to stomach the misfortune, Joseph takes his own life.
Written by Temiloluwa Fosudo and directed by Abdullahi Ibrahim, the play aside from cautioning those fanning the ember of war, charging the polity and instigating certain group of people in the country to rise against the other, it tells the horrible tales of war and why it is never an option to peace. It shows how war affects all, including those not directly concerned with the issues at stake.
As a call for those in power to be responsive and responsible to the people, especially the weak that cannot really defend themselves, the play also warns the political class to desist from beating war drums and work to make the nation stronger. The message is timely, especially now that herdsmen are ravaging some states in the country, destroying farmlands and making the people to be at daggers drawn with them.
Presented at Lounge One, Surulere, Lagos, the play despite its touching storyline has some shortfalls. Joseph, the lead character showed he was more of a Lagos boy than a Nigerian; as he could not pronounce the names of the communities like Tom-Atar and Ayilamo whose interests he claims to be protecting. Creating room for the audience to correct him show his gross ignorance of the people and perhaps their culture. Though, his voice was loud and emotion laden, his wrong pronunciation of the key names lower his image. However, what he lost in the name, he made with his eloquence, which conveyed the messages of unity, peace and the need to stop the hate speeches targeted at some leaders or people from certain parts of the country, as this would not its own heighten hatred and trigger conflicts, but lead the country destruction.
Mariam lived up to her bidding, trying to convince her husband to let the sleeping dog lie. She showed some elements of proficiency. Her mien and body language brought out the motherly appeal and made many to shed tears; this in no way created a link between the play and the audience. It created an emotion link and interaction between the cast and the play. She presented her lines like someone amid the crisis.
The director also was up to his bidding as lighting effect was used to show those nerve-wrecking part, while the casts tell the story.
The take home message of the play is that we should show more love to one another, build bridges of love, community and sharing, as these will make to freely express ourselves, be understood and avoid wars.
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