Publisher: Cel-Bez Publishing Company Limited, Owerri
Year Publication: 2009
Number of pages: 78
Preface Writer: Professor Emeka Nwabueze
The dramatist is known to have offered valuable advice on the concept of life and living. Whether the information is rendered through direct linear plot or clothed in symbolic imagery, the point remains that drama derives from everyday life. The uniqueness of the dramatic form is not only the fact that it draws from life, it also uses human being, human attributes and behaviour to communicate meaning and influence, even change human behaviour in a materialistic society like ours, whose citizens are haunted by the ghost of hedonism, the dramatist has tobe committed not only to the problems of his people but also to naturalistic realism.
The young playwright, Chidozie Chukwubuike in this play, On the Brink of Doom derives his inspiration from the society. Its aim is communication with the audience. Its subject is the DIDS pandemic, and its utility is change. The need for a playoff this nature cannot be over emphasized. The disease, AIDS has remained a terrible monster in the contemporary world. In Nigeria, the situation is lamentable. The rate of spread has increased from 1.8% in 1993 to an alarming 5.4% in 1999. And there is no cure in sight! In a country where the government is not doing enough to sensitize people on the consequencies of the AIDS daemon, Chidozie, as a writer committed to the problems of his society has resorted to the stage as an adequate answer.
In dealing with this delicate problem the play, though replete with repugnant contents and jaded action, manages to lay bare the social problems of the disease without resorting to pornography. The playwright manages to coat the bitter experiences of the characters with the sweetness of theatrical tricks. Yet he manages to keep the didactic concept of the play continuously alive. Because of the promiscuity of some of the characters, the tragedy perceived in the play’s horrendous denouement seems inevitable. Going through the actions of the characters is like going through a panorama of ritual, like being initiated into the dark corridors of the human mind. Each part of the play grips us, shocks us into ‘bitter-sweet’ realization of the consequences of human action, and transforms us from percipients to serious participants in the difficult task of interpreting life.
Because the greatest victims of the AIDS epidemic are youths, the playwright has rightly concentrated the major actions and their attendant consequences on them. The aim is to keep them in their natural habitat while their actions unfold before them through a powerful dramatic activity.. Chidozie, like an artiste conscious of the problems of his society has succeeded in portraying the major social problem of the contemporary society. Art does not hurt, it informs, entertains, educates. Its function is to awaken in us certain emotional feelings; feelings which purify us and initiate us into the realization; finally shielding us from the sordid perils of catastrophe. The play has succeeded in persuading us to recognize the role of theatre as a valid means of group communication. Happy reading!
Emeka Nwabueze, Professor of Theatre Arts University of Nigeria Nsukka.