If only the world could pay more attention to the counsel of Jeffery Farnol, a British writer, on vengeance, there will be some measure of peace on earth.
Having seen the evils of personal and group vengeance, the writer said: “For vengeance is an emptiness and he that seeketh it wasteth himself.”
The play, Another Episode Of Trauma, written by Temiloluwa Fosudo and performed on October 1, 2020, at the Kalabar Kitchen, Lagos, showcases the evils of vengeance.
The play tells the story of Joseph (Kenneth Alade), whose younger sister is killed in the northern part of Nigeria, while observing the compulsory one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). He is worried that the country cannot protect its future leaders. He is angered that a group of people will, in the name of religion, brutally send young Nigerians to their early graves.
The trauma of losing a dear one makes Joseph to plan a reprisal attack on the terrorist group and their supporters.
Filled with emotion, he damns the consequences of his action on his family and his immediate community.
Using a latent approach, he begins to attack the ungodly group through his newspaper articles and cartoons, which brings him fame and large following.
Joseph, through this, finds a friend in Tonia (Tunji Kolawole), who is also crying for a change. The two want a change in the polity, but through different means. While Joseph chooses the radical approach, Tonia, in his wits, wants a subtle method to effect political change that wouldn’t lead to bloodletting.
At first, the friends have one focus until the belligerent nature of Joseph begins to manifest, making Tonia to tell Mariam (Agnes Odumu), Joseph’s wife, what the husband is up to.
Mariam urges her husband to have a change of mind and let God have His way, but he does not listen. He is bent at revenging his sister’s death.
Joseph’s retaliatory mission sets him on a collision with Tonia and his wife. His planned actions cause him psychological imbalance that creates tension in his home, work and society, to the extent of threatening his marriage.
However, he insists on carrying out his revolutionary plans and secretly begins to gather arms and ammunition. Gathering enough weapon, Joseph launches out at his target group, using the guerilla warfare. Unfortunately, he finds himself entangled in the web, as the opposing group overpowers him, attacks his group and kills all his family members, including his pregnant wife. Not able to stomach the misfortune, Joseph takes his own life.
Directed by Michael Banji and produced by The ArtTroupe, the play, aside from cautioning those fanning the embers of war, reveals how war affects all, including those not directly connected.
The play also calls on those in power to be responsive and responsible to the people, especially the weak that cannot really defend themselves.
Some may call it a revolutionary play, especially as Joseph, the lead character, puts himself into the play, bringing out the pains of the downtrodden and the high-handedness of the country’s leaders. His mien and language are like that of a revolutionist. He sends fears of war into the spine of the audience, but Mariam lived up to her bidding, trying to convince her husband to let the sleeping dog lie. She showed a high level of understanding in the matter and tried to use her feminine appeal to make her husband change his mind.
Mariam and her husband showed a high level of proficiency, while Tonia looked like a green horntrying to find his level on stage.
Though witty, his jokes were dry.
The stage, however, is small, which should have made the director to use lighting effect to create illusion, instead of allowing the casts to merely tell the story. Also, entering the stage from both sides of the stage on its own created confusion and making the audience to shift attention to both sides.
He should have balanced the attention, by making some of the parts, if need be, to be in the audience.