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!