‘As a man thinketh so he is,’ so says the good old book. Indeed, it is the act of thinking or thought that defines a man and prompts every of his actions, good or bad. What is your thought pattern? For a Christian or Muslim, what is the thin line between your thoughts and the place of the devil in what you do, your action, especially when it is bad or evil? At what point does the devil step into your thought pattern and alter it from good to evil? And then, when do you take control of your thought and resist the devil? Or is Satan simply a man’s thoughts gone awry?
It is this psychology of man’s thought or thinking that Joy Isi Bewaji explored on stage last weekend at Freedom Park, Lagos, with her latest play, Satan: A Dark Comedy, which she wrote and which she launched her directorial debut. Two final shows are scheduled for today at Freedom Park.
For Married Man (Friday Francis), it is the thought of sleeping with his wife’s friend, Uju, that consumes him in his waking hours. He does nothing sensible until he has achieved his goal. His wife (Stellamaris Nnaji) is too fat and too boring a sexual partner to satisfy his raging libido; only Uju can quench the lust in his loin. But he is wiser after the act, and when he finally comes to his senses, Uju’s husband gets wind of his being cuckold and breaks Married Man’s head. He actually means to kill him. The adulterer is a bundle of regrets as his thoughts convict him.
A Career Woman (Precious Ebhonaye) is stuck in one position and is desperate for promotion and she believes two of her colleagues are responsible for her stagnation woe. She seizes a perfect moment to deal them a mortal blow by poisoning both of them. Her crime comes to light and she is jailed; she is also wiser after the act. Her life is a mess of regrets and Satan or her thoughts are there to mock her for acting so stupidly.
But a Waitress/Student (Ursula Ugele) acts contrary to what her thoughts or Satan suggest she should do. She is hard pressed for money to take care of her basic needs; she has a chance to make quick money from a customer, who forgets his purse. Rather than take the money, she runs after him and hands the money over. Satan or her thought pattern is shocked at her altruistic behaviour, which is not the norm or standard behaviour around her. Clearly, she is the master of her thought and resists it straying into the forbidden terrain of stealing.
In all these acts of following one’s thought to commit evil (Married Man and Career Woman) or good (Waitress/Student), Satan (Austine Onuoha), is the unifying factor that links them. Indeed, Satan is the devil in the detail believed to be the ultimate manipulator. But Satan protests his innocence and the assault on his person for being always linked with man’s ‘imbecility’ in not being able to control or steer his or her thought towards the right path.
Indeed, Satan sees himself as an ‘innocent bystander for your (man’s or woman’s) woes.’ And he asks the adulterous man, “Was I there while you were on top of her? I only nudged you. I know you have a weak spot.” Satan agrees to seeing through man’s “twisted fantasies… I see your thoughts…”
But it is Waitress that delivers Satan and his nudging wiles a hard-hitting punch, as she is pestered to reveal how she is able to resist evil and choosing to do good, “Go walk up and down like a jobless Nigerian youth!” Satan is stunned; he’s obviously jobless; it is what explains why he goes about snooping on people’s thought patterns to alter them for bad. Only those who are fickle, and there are many, who fall for his wiles to their ruin.
Bewaji’s Satan: A Dark Comedy is a hilarious delivery that cracked up the audience for real. But it’s living reality on man’s daily experience stuns one into silence. She captures Satan’s mind-games on man so well and Onuoha’s delivery was superb on the night, with his nuanced artistry defining a character so slippery in his wicked dealing with man.
Source: G Entertainment