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With The Two Both Of Us, Ugbede revs up marriage

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Audrey Hepburn, the British author, and actress, in one of her books said: “The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.”

This is apt in any human relationship, especially in marriages, where the people involved must daily live to appreciate and love each other.

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And living for each other entails giving up some of a partner’s nuances, sacrificing, having mutual trust, complimenting each other, remembering the minutest details that could make one’s spouse happy, among others. These are some of the ingredients keeping many marriages aflame.

However, most times, the dearth of these virtues make couples go their different ways or turn their homes into theatres of war or even seek fulfillment out their matrimonial homes.

These principles were captured in Paul Ugbede’s play titled, The Two Both Of Us, presented at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, as one of the plays performed at the maiden National Theatre Festival of Unity held in Lagos recently.

The play, a two-hander, opens with James Thomas, an American national based in Nigeria, in his struggle as an author to get out of writer’s block calls his wife, Ese (May Okanigbe), for a roll in the hay.

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The lady declines because James did not fulfill his promise to take her out shopping. To worsen things, James forgets that they had planned it as one of the ways to celebrate their marriage anniversary.

Ese’s hubby, however, dismisses the shopping plan because he is cash-strapped and accuses Ese of spending on impulse. He persuades the wife for them to celebrate indoors now that their children are away, but his words hit a brick wall.

Ese’s reasons for turning down her lovey-dovey hubby is his paucity to compliment her and also his inability to remember the little things like — birthday, wedding anniversary, and other important dates — that matter in marriage and blazes romance.

Directed by Ifeanyi Eziukwu, the play’s themes and subthemes centre on ways to mend broken marriages as well as rejuvenate ones teetering on the precipice of acrimony.

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The characters showed the stuff they were made off in the interpretation of their roles. Their body languages, mien, and dress senses were apt and further brought out the messages they were meant to send. Ese’s costume showed that of a lady ready to set out, while the husbands were the opposite. This was germane in the play and aided comprehension. The twosome had not issued telling the audience what was amiss.

With themes and subthemes that depict love, caring, togetherness, sacrifice, giving among others, the play becomes a much watch for couples.

However, outside the superlative performance, there were some logical flaws that need 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 of James being hard on her each time they make love, and would, for it, avoid fulfilling part of her marital vows? If this is so, why is she still in the marriage? Or are the affectionate words showered on him a mere lip service?

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Also, stressing that James’ plans to pregnant give the impression that every copulation will lead to pregnancy. This is misleading, as there are different ways to bonk without making babies.

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

Here also, the director’s skill comes to the fore, as he brought the conflict in the play to a happy end, using Simi, the pregnant cat, as an excuse to ward off the couple kissing on stage and to draw the curtain.

The plots of the play are worth emulating, not just the characters, but its minimal cast — two-hander— a thing that would make production houses to handle easily without necessarily going cap in hand begging for fund to put it up.

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