Another Episode Of Trauma
The world would not forget Mahatma Gandhi, the India sage, in a hurry for his theory on satyagraha, nonviolent resistance or civil resistance, as a way to effect social justice and as well his other numerous dictums such as: “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.”
Despite the many instances this theory has worked in different climes other than India, man, society, especially those on at the receiving ends soon jettison it when the opportunity for them to strike back at their offender calls.
As a way of drumming the message on nonviolence and kicking against vendetta, Live Theatre on Sunday in its every last Sunday show presented a play titled, Another Episode Of Trauma for its Lagos audience.
The play tells the story of Joseph, whose younger sister was killed in the northern part of Nigeria, while she was observing the compulsory one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). Troubled of how the nation could not protect its future leaders and also, how some mindless group of people, Boko Haram, would in the name of religion brutally send young Nigerians to their early graves, Joseph plans a reprisal attack on the group and their supporters. Blinded by emotion, he damns the consequences of his action on his family and his immediate community.
Using a latent approach, he begins to attack the ungodly group with his newspaper articles and cartoons, which bring him fame and large following. Joseph through this finds a friend in Tonia, who is also crying for a change.
The twosome wants change in the polity, but 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, 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 bitter 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, directed by Sylvester Obieze and produced by Adenugba Oluwanishola for Davidhouse Multimedia, 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 one another, it tells the horrible tales of war. Showing how war affects all, including those not directly concerned.
Another Episode Of Trauma calls on those in power to be responsive and responsible to the people, especially the weak that cannot really defend themselves. And also the political class should desist from hampering on those things that could divid us as a nation, instead of working to make the nation stronger.
Presented at the New Unity Centre, Isaac John Street, Ikeja, GRA, Lagos, the play exhibits some shortfalls. Joseph, the lead character lacked the charm to interpret the role of someone calling for a political change; in fact, his body language is at variance with his spoken words. Added to this defect, his voice was weak and his intonation not clear, thus creating ambiguity of with his pronunciations and confusion in meaning. He put pressure on the audience, making some of them to ask their neighbours what he was really saying. A more proficient character would have brought out the message better.
Mariam lived up to her bidding, trying to convince her husband to let the sleeping dog lie. She showed some element of proficiency by following the lead character (Joseph) and trying to make up for his shortcomings.
Though, the stage is small, the director should have used lighting effect to show those nerve-wrecking part, instead of allowing the casts to merely tell the story. Also, entering the stage from the left side shifted audience attention to the left, expecting most action to come from there. He should as well have balanced the attention by making some of the parts, if need be, to be amid the audience.
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