The Waiting Room, a showcase of societal rot
The Waiting Room, a stage play performed to celebrate Crown Troupe of Africa’s two decades of artistic performance, brings to focus some of the happenstances that could easily change one’s fate or decisions to carry out a particular plan. It showcases how one’s actions or inaction could affect another person, leading to a turnaround of events.
Beginning with four disparate characters, Keshi (Bimbo Olorunmola), Aduke (Omoluwa Nevo), Kera (Motunde Shogunle) and Don Flexy (Austin Onuoha), who were invited by an unknown person to a common room, expressing some worries of why they were invited to a meeting they know nothing of. The foursome get agitated when they realise there is no one to attend to them in the common room they have been staying. More so, the four belong to different social status in the society: Keshi, a banker; Aduke, a wealthy entrepreneur; Kera, an insurance agent and Don Flexy, a Lagos streetwise gunman.
Anxious to meet their host, the invitees find out that the doors in the waiting room have been locked, meaning there is no way they could get out from the room. Shocked of what to befall them, they try to free themselves, but could not. It then occur to them that providence has brought them together and they should in oneness think of a way out of their predicament.
Realising arguments and self-aggrandisement would lead them nowhere; they fall to their individual shelves to think of what to do. While this lasts, Don Flexy hums a song: Life is what we make it … it’s what we often hear. Is where we are today a logical outcome of where we were yesterday? Let’s found out whether this theory can bring solution,” this pricks others to suspect Don Flexy, as well as Kera, who was also humming the same song.
Using drama-in-a-drama technique to unfold the story, the play takes the audience to another scene where Aduke accuses her husband, Keshi, of infidelity. As both exchanges abuses, exposing their dirty past, Don Flexy (gatekeeper) enters to inform Keshi that a lady is waiting for him outside. Keshi tries to persuade the gatekeeper to let the lady go, so his wife, Aduke, would not see her. While this goes on, Aduke comes in and threatens to report them to the police. On hearing police siren, Don Flexy in a twist of fate brings out a gun and threatens to kill the couple if they do not protect him from the police.
In another scene, Kera, an insurance marketer, reveals how Keshi, her secret lover, want her to arrange for assassins to kill the wife, Aduke, so that the N50 million life assurance of both would solely be his.
Taking the audience back to the beginning, the foursome still at the danger zone, opens their invitation letters only to discover that the signatures have some initials, which put together would mean DESTINY. This to them means providence has pulled a fast one on them by bringing them together.
Going through, Keshi’s letter, it reads: “Finish each other with what is found in the box.” Reaching for the box, he finds a gun, which he uses to hold others captive, but was outsmarted by Aduke.
However, Kera and Aduke reveal to Keshi that they are blood sisters. So, they decide to get rid of Keshi and Don Flexy, but Keshi advises Kera never to support Aduke, saying she will not give her a kobo if they kill him.
There is a twist when Aduke gives the gun to Don Flexy, disclosing how they have been friends before she got married to Keshi. She adds that they will soon marry and enjoy the money.
The play ends in a tragedy, as the foursome killed one another.
Written, produced and directed by Wole Oguntokun, the play remains one of Wole’s complex stage plays.
With a strong and well-articulated cast, The Waiting Room is a metaphor that depicts deceit and decadence in society, business, family and human relations as a whole.
Though, the play is complex and a bit cumbersome to understand, its use of flashbacks enables the audience to have hindsight knowledge of the cast, as the plot slowly reveals their dubious lifestyles.
Another shortcoming is the monologue each of the four scenes presented. Apart from discussing life from their philosophical standpoints, offering advice the people, they appear unrelated to the main plot; they are digressive and further impede comprehension.
Full of suspense and intrigues, the play leaves the audience to have their own interpretation to the various allegories. The self-justification of the characters makes it tasking to tell who is the protagonist and the villain or which character is actually telling the truth, especially as each is capable of deception and even murder.
The play ends in a tragedy, as the foursome killed one another, bringing to the fore how financial institutions have been managing funds, whose owners cannot be traced.