Monday, July 30, 2007

The Jero Plays

Yesterday the Season of Wole Soyinka came to an astounding close with The Jero Plays, which was two plays in one, The Trials of Brother Jero and Jero's Metamorphosis. I'd never read nor seen either performed and totally enjoyed it. A friend told me that it was his least favourite play because it satirizes Christianity. Indeed it did. But perhaps not so much Christianity, but the slavish devotion and unquestioning loyalty that many display towards their spiritual celebrities. The celebrity in this set of plays is the fraudster masquerading as a man of God, Brother Jero.

The play was nicely adapted to modern times and referenced many incidents in Nigerian current affairs. It zinged with wit. One thing that never fails to amaze me about certain books or plays I have read that comment on the societies of their times (Jane Austen comes to mind) is how even though they might have been written so many years ago, many of the observations are still so relevant and on point today. At several junctures throughout the play the lady behind me would exclaim to her friends "You mean that Wole Soyinka noticed all this back then?", or "So all this was happening back then!" There's truly nothing new under the sun I guess.

I attended the 6pm show and the hall - very unlike the first week - was bursting to capacity. Even before the show started, hordes of people thronged outside the hall waiting to get in. And this wasn't a music concert. Unbelievable!

7 comments:

uknaija said...

Indeed nothing is new under the sun. As to your friend's comment- it's the unquestioning attitude that gets to me.

sokari said...

I wish I could have seen the play - Nigeria needs more of political and in this case religious satire. I also love the way you have added voice to your posts.

Uzo said...

I saw you chatting with a friend as i and a whole bunch of bloggers exited the 3pm show.,..Loved it and i am looking forward to the theatre series

Ore said...

uknaija, I think she was just astounded at how perceptive a person Wole Soyinka is - even though we kind of know that already. I was also so impressed. Kudos also go to Wole Oguntokun for doing such a wonderful job of updating the story.

Sokari, I am sure that you'd have enjoyed the play. The voice thing is cool. I wanted to make the blog more accessible. The pronunciations of some of the words can be hilarious though.

Uzo, hi! It would have been great to have met you. How do you know what I look like? I guess we must have met before. Were you at Eti-Osa LGA?

Uzo said...

Yes, we were at Eti-Osa LG together....I even bought my NYSC magazine thing from you on the parade grounds.....

Ayobami said...

I am so so happy I did not miss the Jero Plays - I read the book in secondary school and I am so glad that Wole Oguntokun and his band did good justice to the master's writing! As a huge fan of the theaters, one should commend Terra Culture for the great gesture. For those that missed the Soyinka festivals - the beat goes on as there will be performances every Sunday.

Ore said...

Uzo, yes, I thought we were at Eti-Osa together. Hope to jam you at some future plays.