Welcome home … a reflection on hereafter
The Peter’s Heritage, a theatre group, two Sundays ago, at the Film Institute, Ajao Estate, Lagos, drew the attention of live theatre lovers to the various painful happenings across the globe, which in Christendom are signs of the end time. Warning man, especially non-believers to accept Jesus Christ, as their personal Lord and saviour, the group, used a play titled, Welcome Home, to tell the audience that the time, when the owner of the world would come for His, is near and as such all should repent from their sins.
Opening with a dance, the play tells the story of the Dejis, a young couple, whose wedding anniversary turns sour as a result of Dr. Deji’s death. Adeola (Edna Konwea), the wife of Deji, awaits the husband, Dr. Deji (David Ekiyor), a medical doctor, to come home for the celebration. Though, Deji arrives late according to the wife’s timing, he brings a lot of good things for the celebration, including gifts for the wife. Adeola wants to use the evening to inform her husband that in nine-month’s time she would be a mother; carrying Deji’s child. She prepares herself to break the good news that she is pregnant.
Hearing the news, Deji rejoices with the wife and just as they celebrate, rekindle their love and make plans for the future, Deji falls and dies. Deji had suffered from a cough he never bothered to take care of.
Deji dies as an unbeliever; he never listened to his wife, who preached to him to repent from his evil ways and accept Jesus Christ, as his personal Lord and Saviour.
At death, Deji finds himself on his way to hell. Joining him was an 85-year old woman, who died on her sickbed in a hospital. Wandering on this lonely road and imagining what had happened to them, the devil comes to take them to hell. It was then it dawns on them that they are dead and hell bound.
Knowing the plight that would befall them in hell, the old woman Adesua Lawal, (Irene Chiadika) remembers her grandchild, who often spoke to her about Christ and repentance; the doctor also remembers his wife, and regretted failing to listen to her. They both begged for a second chance, but the devil, referred to as Prince (Patrick Ugele), would not grant it.
However, after much consideration, the devil gives Deji a chance to see his wife through a mirror. He sees how sad she is and the elaborate burial ceremony his younger brother Fela (Frank Konwea) is planning for him. The doctor again pleads with the devil for the second time to allow him reach out to his brother to repent before it becomes too late for him too. This was not granted.
Written and directed by Ben Chiadika, the play, which aims at evangelising the audience, was spiced with relevant Yoruba songs and dance, making the audience to reflect on the messages and on what befalls a sinner at death.
Depicting multiple themes like reincarnation, idol worshipping, self-righteous, carelessness and others, the play dispels the long held African belief that when one dies, he/she would reincarnate, take another form of life to serve his/her punishment here on earth if had done bad in his/her previous life or enjoy him/herself also if he/she had done well. It also allays the belief that the dead is at liberty to visit the living and pass on messages from the Lord to them. It highlights the Christian doctrine that after death comes judgment.
With story drawn from the Holy Bible, the cast showed mastery of their lines; in fact, this was reflective in their tonal and body languages. The make-up and costumes also tell the role of each character, while the light reflected each mood.
However, despite this, the director failed to realise that the play was not meant for the Yoruba audience alone. It would have been most appropriate if other tribes’ songs had been incorporated into the different songs and dances, especially as the audience was not all Yoruba. Identifying the family to be a Yoruba one, does not mean that what befell the Dejis could not have happened to a family from another tribe.
It also served as a warning for everyone to take care of his/her health, no matter one’s busy schedule; as this was seen in Deji, a medical doctor who treated others but cared less about his life.
Before the play was a dance/music performance, titled Streams Of Love. The singers were Joy Saliu, Godwin Nzekwe, Tresure Chinyelu and Ben Chiadika. They delivered contemporary Nigerian gospel songs, prompting the audience to sing along.
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