Chronicles of Eniyan … a caution on life
Lamine Pearlheart, author and poet, once said: “When you are drunk with yourself you don’t hear your loud voice, yet everyone else does. Your obnoxiousness is evident to all, but you.” This axiom became thematic in the play, The Chronicles of Eniyan, which was staged last Sunday at One Place Event centre, Lagos.
The play tells the story of a man, Bibire (Rasaki Biyi), who, rising from grass to grace, forgets his benefactors and those with whom he laboured to attain success. Life smiles at him and he has almost everything he wants, including women.
Bibre becomes power drunk and begins to see the unfortunate once around him as lazy and never-do-wells. He blabs at anyone that comes to him for help and sends his guards against anyone that contests anything with him. He makes his creditors forfeit their money and his debtors go through hell to pay him. He becomes a lord unto himself. Nobody, not even his numerous wives and concubines, dare challenge him or speak out against his deeds. He becomes a thorn in the flesh of every villager, who now sees him as one of the misgivings of the community.
But the wealthy and powerful Bibire is under a spell, which no one knows. He is incomplete and feels bad that with his influence and wealth, he has no child. Even when he consults traditional healers, his situation remains the same, which he is not happy about.
However, things change when Ewatomi (Helen Akulo), the beauty, comes into Bibire’s life. Ewatomi is full of promises to turn things around, but Bibire has to pay the price, the price of being loyal to her. Just while they are settling down to consummate their relationship, death comes to warn Bibire to mend his ways.
Like the hunter’s dog that defies the whistle of its master, Bibire ignores the warnings from the owner of life, instead he appoints people to beg death or for his maids to die in his place. Just in amid his joy, death snatches him away.
At his demise, the villagers rejoice and heave sighs of relief; they gladly pull down the empire he set up, while his family members and guards go to different directions, in dishevelment.
Produced by OneGroup Productions, with Adekunle Babajide, as executive director, the play highlights themes including betrayal, egocentrism, bigotry among other vices.
The play becomes relevant, especially now that the country’s politicians after being elected into office abandon the people and the promises they make while canvassing for votes. They refuse to carry out their duties of putting the right structure in place and provide the right amenities to punish the people — and indirectly kill.
The play reminds the audience that the rent man pays for occupying the space call home (earth) is service to humanity. Which goes to say that at every level of duty humanity should always put in your best and improve what we have before us.
Although the play comes with a good storyline, with the cast trying to outdo each other in their role interpretation, however lapses abound, especially on the part of Bibire. He is hasty at interpreting his roles; in fact, incidents of overacting occur now and then. Projected as a rich man, his mien and wardrobe should have reflected his wealth, but reverse is the case in this production. His dress sense is no better than the poor folks he mocks and bullies.
Also, some of the maids suffer from stage fright — a reason they are seen reciting their lines instead of acting it.
The lighting is poor, creating room for ambiguity and, of course, obstructing comprehension.
On the whole, the play enjoins everyone to embrace giving, as a way of life and that the moment one stopped doing that one is presumed dead.
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