By Vivian Onyebukwa
The sagely saying, “As you lay your bed, so shall you lie on it”, is apt regarding the thematic pre-occupation of a new play, “Glory To The Fools”, written by the upwardly mobile young Nigerian filmmaker, script writer, inspirational author, and speaker, Oreofe Williams.
The play comes as a political satire with profound criticism and reflections about the realities of the contemporary Nigerian political life.
It lampoons the foolishness of politicians who make promises they end up not keeping and gullibility of electorates who are fooled by deceptive politicians.
Staged for the audience of the academic community of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, (OOU) Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State recently, the play was well received by the young minds who are the future of the nation.
It was co-directed by the playwright himself, Femi Junaid and Oba Adeyemi. The performance was given an excellent lighting by Henry Afabor, while the lecturer in charge of the course is Wale Ajayi
It has a story which mainly revolves around a central character, ‘Gbaremu’. Gbaremu is presented to the audience as an ambitious Nigerian politician who is willing to do all it takes to achieve his high dream of becoming a Senator despite the numerous distractions from his frivolous and nagging wife, Ramota, his troublesome sons, Jacob and Israel, and the constant demand for assurance from the representatives of his constituency. In a bid to achieve this political ambition, Gbaremu resorts to fooling his people and garner their support with several lofty campaign promises.
Eventually, his friend, Okokobioko is revealed as an insider deliberately planted by the representatives to discover Gbaremu’s real motives for the masses who place their trust in him. On his exposure and subsequent rejection and disgrace, the masses begin a revolution to liberate themselves from the hold and deception of ambitious politicians like Gbaremu.
One feature evident to the audience is the flawless acting skills of the cast. Their ability to accurately enter the personalities of the characters whom they portray and render their lines is commendable. The exactness of their performance draws the audience into the actions and makes them more than mere spectators. The dialogues, gestures and body movements blend seamlessly with the lighting, set design and lighting employed. Costumes used by each character accurately depicts their role and the make-up, especially that of Gbaremu, shows the flamboyant lifestyle most Nigerian politicians live at the expense of the masses. It is noteworthy to refer to the accurate rendition of the lines of Gbaremu when describing the political history of Nigeria, Africa and the world generally. Lastly, the ability of the actors to project their voice permits the audience to hear the dialogue with ease and clarity.
The lavish setting of the play portrays the extravagant lifestyle of Nigerian politicians. In addition to this, the props used help to present the personality and character of Gbaremu as a learned, egotistical and egoistic man who would go to any length to achieve his dream of becoming a Senator. Nevertheless, a closer observation of “Glory To The Fools”, indicate a realistic depiction of the current political atmosphere of Nigeria in the 21st century. It reveals the eagerness of masses to put their trust in whoever appears to genuinely have their interest at heart. They have high expectations which are sometimes unrealistic, for example, their belief in Gbaremu’s Deal Initiative, which is presented to proffer unrealistic benefits. The mention of famous Nigerian musicians such as Davido and Naira Marley, trendy dance steps like Shakiti Bobo, Shoki and Zanku further confirms that the play is set in the present day. This assertion is supported by the constant references to Academic Staff Union of the Universities (ASUU) strike and the repetitive negotiations that transpire between the organization and the Nigerian Government.
Speaking about the performance, the playwright, Oreofe Williams, who is currently on his Doctoral Degree programme in Theatre and Media Arts, expressed his satisfaction at the interpretation of the play by the cast and crew of the performance. “l am a class of my own. I don’t think I’m smart. I’m just privileged by grace. My newly published play “Glory To The Fools” was staged by University students recently. It was dangerously massive. Today, I am one of the minutest filmmakers in Nigeria who has his plays and academic texts breathing on the shelves of Universities home and abroad, and recommended to students. These are the kind of accomplishments that excite me, to be relevant on the streets and before Professors.”