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With The Two Both Of Us, Ugbede looks at marital peace

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A scene from the play

E’yen A. Gardner, the author of Husband Rules: A Guy’s Playbook On How To Win In Marriage observed, “many marriages lay in ruins because husbands have lost sight of what is important: their wife’s trust.”

Perhaps, it is this lost of trust that has made so many to lead licentious lifestyle in the attempt to payback their partners or to free their spirits.

These observations were captured in Paul Ugbede’s play, The Two Both Of Us, presented last Sunday by Just Theatre House at Shodex Garden, Anthony, Lagos. The play was used to mark the fifth anniversary of the theatre house.

The play opens with James Thomas (Bedemi Shokunbi), an American national based in Nigeria and his struggles as an author to get out of writer’s block. He calls for his wife, Ese (May Okanigbe), for a roll in the hay as a way to get back to writing but the lady declines. Ese’s reason is that James earlier planned to take her out for shopping. To worsen situation, she is already dressed for the outing.

James dismisses the shopping plan because he is cash-strapped, and so, accuses his wife of not being frugal with money.

Failing a dozen of times to convince his wife to have intercourse with him, James finds outlet in his maid, Glory (Ugo Obiayo). Their amorous activity remains a secret until Ese senses that something is wrong.

Ese’s reasons for turning down her once lovey-dovey is that he does not compliment her and also forgets the little things — birthday, wedding anniversary and other important dates — that matter in the marriage.

Directed by Ifeanyi Eziukwu, the play, which centres on happy marriage is solely meant for adults, because of the dialogues and the sensual acts.

The characters showed the stuff they were made off in their interpretation of role. Their body languages, mien and dress sense were apt and further brought out the messages they were meant to send.

With themes and subthemes that depict love, caring, togetherness, sacrifice, giving among others, the play is a much watch for couples, especially newly wedded or those that want to rejuvenate their marriages.

However, outside the superlative interpretation, there were some logical flaws that needed to be put aright. For instance, why would Ese that dated James for six years and in marriage for four years, making a total of 10 years, still complain that James was hard on her each time they made love, and would, for it, avoid fulfilling part of her marital vows? If this is so why is she still in the marriage?

Also, the hype on sex as a motivating factor to writers leaves much to be desired, especially as it depicts that James gets inspired through the act. This as well tells the audience that creatives draw inspiration from such act. This mindset should be corrected, as the stage is not only to entertain, but also to inform. Besides, there are one thousand and one things James could have done to get out of his writer’s block. The playwright portrayed him as anti-social, which he is not because writers get inspired by things and happenings around them.

The director may have some of the knocks, as he ought to have included other ways of letting out in the dialogue between Ese and James. This would not have amounted to distortion, but an improvement on the scripts.

Another area of note was the romantic scene. It was dry and flat because there was no background music to reflect the mood. Sentimental music would have been introduced to aid interpretation of scenes. To this also, the light man did not live up to expectations, as it never used light to reflect the different moods.

Irrespective of all this, the play comes to a happy end as James learns his lessons and buys a prized necklace and a car for his wife during her birthday. This, he used to appease her for all his wrongs against her.

However, it must be noted that Ugbede’s has helped to up the ante in theatre, especially with its minimal cast — threesome — which means production houses need not go cap in hand begging for fund to put it up.


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