By Prisca SamDuru

It was yet another exhilarating performance by The Childville School, Ogudu, Lagos, as they re-enacted the classical piece, Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again, written by Ola Rotimi. Not even the rain could stop the overwhelming crowd that converged at the Agip Hall, MUSON Centre, Lagos, venue of the performance, from enjoying the 2019 edition of the school’s annual stage presentation.

•The Childville students performing Ola Rotimi's 'Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again' at MUSON stage.
•The Childville students performing Ola Rotimi’s ‘Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again’ at MUSON stage.

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That a play such as Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again, written some 30 years ago, could be of more relevance today, is evident that Nigeria’s problem may not be solved by mere changing of politicians in the name of elections but tackling the problems right from the root.

The play, being a satire, projects the political struggles of modern Africa. As soon as little Faderera Ajani stormed the stage as the narrator, offering the audience a peep into the story, it became obvious that everyone was in for an evening of laughter.

Directed by veteran stage director, Gboyega Jerome, the play tells the story of Lejoka-Brown, an ex-military major (acted by Joshua Oloriegbe), who decides to dabble into politics all in a bid to partake of the ‘national chin chin’.  Just like many who make up the crop of corrupt and selfish politicians today in Nigeria, one of Lejoka-Brown’s problems is that he does not have the slightest understanding of the workings of politics. Instead, he relies on his military tactics and manoeuvres to stage his ‘surprise and attack’ campaign.

Acting as a demented ex-major that he is, aside his being a novice in the game of politics, he also has his three wives to contend with. Mama Rashida (Olohita Isoze and Edikan Eyoma) whom he inherited from his late brother; the no nonsense Sikira (Chizara Ini-Inyang and Favour Oloriegbe) whom he married because her mother is the president of the National Union of Nigerian Market Women, all in a bid to get massive votes; and then Liza Omolara Ogundimu and Anne Eta), the westernised woman he married whilst fighting in the Congo, all turn weapons that bring about his down fall.

It was good casting and great performance by the young actors who did their best to interpret their roles beautifully. Joshua Oloriegbe was at his best. His lines were too long. Yet, he killed it. What we saw of him on stage was a comedian in the making. It was heart warming to hear him say after the performance that he’d love to be an actor.

The founder of the school, Lady O. M. Smith who was impressed with the children’s performance, said: “I think the children did a fantastic job because one of the most difficult things to pull off in any stage acting is comedy. And if you are not careful when you are doing a comedy, it becomes very comical and then it doesn’t achieve its aim. In this particular case, the cast was well chosen. They were able to portray this aspect of the satiric nature of the play by Ola Rotimi which is a satire on the Nigerian government, the military rule and the way they were not prepared to rule, and the way their own views of running a country were different from all the tactics they encountered on the battle field. The children have been able to achieve something even most actors are not able to achieve. Any expert watching them will know that this is a comedy and not a comical play.”

Explaining the reason the school moved away from the usual staging of traditional plays, the Artistic Director, Gboyega Jerome said: “Our country is going through difficult times and it is our duty to contribute in any way we can. So, we decided to show our leaders through the play, how the country should be governed. Instead of entering politics because of national chin-chin, it is high time they turned a new leaf and save our country from total collapse.  I’m sure that through the traditional and social media, our leaders will get the message and make a change.”

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