It has become the tradition that at the end of each year since he started commercially five years ago, Uncle Ebo Whyte summarises the period with a collection of his plays. Dubbed, the Roverman Festival of Plays, the latest bundle began showing at the National Theatre from December 28, 2013 and ended on January 5, 2014.
This year’s bundle dubbed 5 in 5 at 5, the Roverman Festival of Plays comprised of five plays over five days to celebrate five years of Uncle Ebo Whyte’s original plays in Ghana.
On the very first day of the year, last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to watch Uncle Ebo Whyte’s play: The Day Dad Came, at the National Theatre in Accra. It was the third play in the five-play series that the ace playwright had lined up for lovers of theatre over the Christmas and New Year seasons.
The play is gripping and it opened my eyes to share in the feelings of people in abusive marriages. The Day Dad Came captures the offensive maltreatment of a spouse in a marriage and explores the issue of domestic violence – why some relationships become abusive; why people stay in them; and how one is able to turn an abusive relationship around.
The story is set in the home of a couple who do not get along privately but would put on a show in public to conceal their unhappiness just to make people believe otherwise. Ama (wife), nonetheless works very hard to make the marriage succeed but Kofi (husband) picks on her every move and treats her with disrespect.
On her birthday, Ama’s secret of concealing her abusive marriage came out in the open when her sister, Jane, came to wish her a happy birthday and to deliver a present from their father. Unaware that there is a visitor in the house, Kofi who is preparing for work, attacks Ama because he cannot find his phone.
Jane, who is shocked by what she is witnessing, runs to help her sister. A call is later placed to the ‘lost’ phone and it is picked up by a girl called Candy who said Kofi had left it at her place the previous night when he came to visit. Kofi refuses to explain who Candy is and leaves.
Ama, the ever-loving wife, goes into damage-control mode, urging her sister not to tell their father about what happened Jane refuses and tells their father. When Kofi returns home late, as is his usual practice, he finds his father-in-law, Mr Forson, in the living room waiting for him. Mr Forson threatens to take his daughter away but Ama refuses to go with him. Under the circumstance, Mr Forson then asks Kofi to bring his parents to see him the following day.
In the end, with his marriage almost at break point, but through the intervention of his parents, father-in-law and divine guidance, Kofi comes to realise his folly, regrets his ways and vows once again to love his wife and treat her well.
The play was quite interesting and there was never a dull moment. The characters were good and interpreted their roles very well. Ama’s portrayal of a knocked about wife was very moving and a close resemblance to a real life situation.
The lesson of the play is for husbands to see their wives as equal partners in marriage and as such accord them the respect they deserve.
The other plays among the Roverman Festival of Plays to end 2013, included: What’s My Name; A play about a man who loves courting trouble and uses his wits to outsmart everyone which came off on December 28 and on December 29 , it was the turn of The Last Flight, a hilarious, thought provoking play about the diversity of humanity.
On January 4 patrons were treated to Apartment N1, a story about a murder investigation that became so complex it threatened to consume all players involved and the curtain was brought down on January 5 with Men Run, Women Cry, which is about an intended marriage that gets twisted because of the deceit of a groom to be.