Mary Kingsley hall at Fourah Bay College was on Monday filled to capacity as students and observers converged at the hall to witness English and French drama performed by students of the English Department of the College under the auspices of the Head of the Department of English Kenneth Osho and Desmond Findlay a lecturer of the same Department.
The first play titled ‘Things Fall Apart’ with a qualifying year student Micheal Brima representing Okonkwo as the protagonist in the play. The play actually depicts a pastoral or rural setting where civilization was far fetched as the people held on to traditional and cultural norms which held them together but as time went on Western penetration eventually saw the extinction of some of the cultural values that once held the inhabitants of Umoufia.
Micheal Brima was a replica of Okonkwo who exhibited a high sense of industriousness to raise a yam barn by working very hard on his farm and in the process of accomplishing his goal he stepped on many toes while trying to inculcate discipline of hard work into his family members.
He was always seen either beating up his children and wives or shouting at them for what he perceived as laziness. During one of his outrageous moments Okonkwo mercilessly beat up one of his children to death and the elders were left with no alternative but to send him into exile for 7 years for committing murder.
Okonkwo left at the time when Western Missionaries had started penetrating Umoufia under the pretext of popularizing Humanity and Christianity by preaching against the gods of the people of Umoufia and the evil forest where they derived their powers. After the expiration time of Okonkwo’s exile and on his return to Umoufia he was perplexed by the level of white infiltration into their traditional values which eventually split their culture, and hence ‘Things Fall Apart.’
Before the advent of Western Civilization in Umoufia, the lives of its inhabitants were characterized by xenophobic tendencies, obscene to the dead and gods, yam cultivation, sharing kola nuts and palm wine, strong attachment to the evil forest, funeral rites and perpetration of domestic violence.
The other drama entitled ‘The Solution’ was done in French with Binty Kamara as the main character who got married for 10 years without giving birth to a child. The woman was tempted by her friends to seek all sorts of solutions including false prophets and soothsayers who even applied the ‘jem jem water’ for womb cleansing but to no avail.
After she was unsuccessfully misled by her friends to false prophets, she eventually went to the man of God Badara Bangura who prayed for the Divine Intervention of God and she eventually got pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl.
This play was followed by another entitled ‘The Covenant’ in which a man called Pa-Santigie wallowing in abject poverty decided to sign a covenant with a mysterious power ‘Kondo Belleh’ in order to live a rich life, but this was characterized by catastrophic consequences as the man died immediately after signing the agreement leaving behind his children as beneficiaries. The children also suffered the wrath of the demon. It terrorized them daily and they were only delivered by Divine Grace after a man of God prayed and rebuked the power of the devil.
The last play was ‘The Pleasant of life’ in which some students fancy an enjoyable life instead of paying attention to their education but they ended up as failures while a pupil who focused more attention to her education made it up in the public examination and even got a government scholarship to pursue a doctorate degree in France and on completion, she got married to the son of the President of France.