Lottery ticket, a mirror of man’s quest for riches
There is this notable axiom among Kegite Club members, which says: ‘in the midst of jollification, there is a brutal danger.’ To non-initiates, this simply means, ‘a mid joyous celebrations lie subtle danger.’ It is a caution for man to be careful of what he does, says and never to allow the ebullient and happy moods to make him do what he will later regret in life.
This is one of the themes of the stage play, Lottery Ticket presented on Sunday at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, courtesy of Theatre@terra and directed by Ikenna Jude Okpala. Written in pidgin, the play, a satire, is set in a buka. It x-rays man fervent quest for instant riches.
The characters, Mama Lizi (Bola Stephen Atitebi), her landlord (Patrick Diabuah), Baba Tailor (Omololu Sodiya), street urchin, Danger, (Austine Onuoha), Lizi (Ihuoma Daniel), Traffic Warden (Stanley Okeke) and Sergent (Jubril Gbadamosi) meet at Mama Lizi’s buka only to discover that each person has bought a lottery ticket. Each of them hopes to win and has a different plan for the N1million prize money.
If she wins, Mama Lizi would relocate to a suburb, acquire a bigger buka space where she would operate from and make huge profit. The landlord, a retired civil servant, plans to marry Lizi and hopes to use the money to settle her dowry, set her up in tailoring business and buys her a secondhand sewing machine, aside allowing the mother to continue to run her canteen in his house for free.
The sickly Baba Tailor dreams of using the money to settle his accumulated hospital bills, while Dagger, Lizi’s lover would leave Lagos for Abuja with his lover, where they would settle as husband and wife. All the characters have one plan or the other for the jackpot, but unfortunately there has to be only one winner. Baba Tailor wins and while rejoicing that God has buttered his bread, as he would now be able to settle all his outstanding bills, he passes out and commotion ensues.
Written by Ahmed Yerima, the story depicts the life of Nigerians at the bottom rung of the ladder who see lottery as means of getting huge sums of money to better their lives. It also showcases a society that lacks the necessary palliatives to bailout the needy, aged and the sick; thus making those who cannot fend for themselves to be at the mercy of the rich who fling things at them in the name of incentives. It also reflects how the people have been pauperized to the extent that they cannot interrogate the rationale behind the lottery or if the cola drink is detrimental to their health. This malleable is one of the characteristics of depressed people, which make the play fit to be presented anywhere across the globe.
Harping on immediate reward, the play depicts how selfish, greedy and self-centred the people are; planning to use the jackpot on things that would only benefit them. This again shows the level of our development and collective mindset that is gear towards self at the expense of the general good of the people.
The play in way interrogates the various lotteries and betting games now abound in the country and even making some people believe that they can be rich overnight by playing them. This on its own is denting the psyche of some able-bodied youth towards hard-work and making them to believe on luck and overnight wealth is possible.
The storyline is superb and topical, especially as the country is passing another phase in its nationhood, fighting corruption and facing elections. It projects some of our problems such as selective justice as it could be seen in the way the policeman handles the civilians and the way he handles the traffic warden. It mirrors our docility as a people when it comes to standing before uniform men and the law.
Presenting the play this time is very important as it hilariously tells us what we ought to have done as a people and the results of our failing to do the right things.The play take the audience to antithesis, changing their moods when Baba Tailor that suppose to be celebrating his winning passes out; turning joy to sorrow. Though he came out of it, it however, warns the audience to exercise moderation in all things — even amid jollification as the Kegite Club earlier warned.
A superlative performance, the director no doubt is upping his ante. The cast interpreted their roles seamlessly; their miens gave the impression that they were telling their own stories.However, Baba Tailor (Omololu Sodiya) exhibited his ex-ordinary gift interpreting his role. The naturalizing of his roles, the empathy it induced, further held the audience spellbound on their seats, trying to find out how the conflict so created would be resolved. This is another Yerima’s story to nation-building. The performance continues showing, 3.pm and 6.pm, till March.
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