Theatre: Themes of forgiveness, unity dominate Adelugba’s That Scoundrel Suberu


A scene from the play

IN his novel Carnival Rawi Hage argues, “We are all the products and victims of our own upbringing until we reflect, refuse and rebel.” Live Theatre on Sunday (LTS) at New Unity Centre, Isaac John Street, Ikeja GRA last Sunday bore out Hages’ wise crack in a play That Scoundrel Suberu, written by Dapo Adelugba.

The play, a rehash of Moilere’s That Scoundrel Scapin starts with a notorious houseboy, Syracuse, who tells about Suberu, the tale of a man torn between two masters, Chief Afolabi and Chief Adegoke. Chief Adegoke is a man of great means, who feels nobody can stand on his way.

But on noticing this, Suberu uses the information he gets from his servant, Syracuse to hoodwink him. After swindling Adegoke, the cheat plans to do the same to Afolabi. Suberu scampers on stage and tells Afolabi: “Your son has knocked down a little girl; if only we can settle the matter with the sum of N50,000, the mother of the girl won’t take your son to court.” Visibly shaken, Afolabi gives the money to Suberu.

Apparently, Afolabi’s son, Wole, had conspired with Suberu to pull a fast one on his father. After getting the money as planned, Wole blurts out: “Now, you can have your revenge on my father.” Suberu lives up to his billing as a cheat, who swindles people for a living.

As the plot progresses, Suberu hints Afolabi that his life is in danger because he won’t allow his son to marry the lady he wants. Palpable fear is written all over the hapless man; Afolabi heeds the ill advice of the cheat to take refuge in a sack.

He does this, and Suberu acting multiply roles, takes his pound of flesh on him for earlier accusing him of revealing his son’s secrets.

However, Afolabi and Adegoke realise that they have been ripped off. They plan to deal with him. In another development, Adegoke pleads with his son, Segun to marry Afolabi’s daughter. While everyone is busy making merry, Suberu saunters in with a bandage on his head and pleads for forgiveness.

He says: “I am sorry for all the terrible things that I’ve done to my masters.” And he is forgiven. That Scoundrel Suberu is directed by Shola Adenugba, the play explores different themes, including love, parental control, double-dealing among other social issues.

Unlike the various performing groups that have presented the play, last Sunday’s show was well performed. In fact, the protagonist showed a mastery of his roles. His delivery, body language and theatrics raised the standard of the production. Though the storyline is multifaceted, it, however, calls on parents to be closer to their children/ward.

Wole conspiring with outsiders to rob his father depicts bad upbringing. It also shows that parents creating a erecting a wall between them and their children would make them depend and believe on outsiders and this goes a long way to act against the interest of the family.

Other virtues the play teaches include not having to rush into early concluding being patient in life and thinking deeply before making decisions, especially when such decisions touch lives. Apart from these moral lessons, the play also harps on forgiveness and unity to attain life’s goals.

Notwithstanding the successful performance, voice projection was average. The hall needs a public address system to enhance actors’ project, especially since it is not a purpose-built theatre with needed acoustics. The actors also needed to project powerfully as their training demands to be heard.

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