WORTH THE WAIT — 2 & Epilogue

WORTH THE WAIT — 2 & Epilogue

Act Two

(The same as before, only this time there is a chair situated at the very back of the stage.  Ben is seen sitting on the bare floor, eating food in a forlorn and dejected manner.  Myles walks in, hands in his pockets, in a very pensive mood.  He starts to pace on stage.  After a while, he stops and looks intently at Ben.)

MYLES: Hi.

BEN: (off-handed) Hello.

(Pause.)

MYLES: Hello.

BEN: (irritated) Hi.

(Myles resumes his pacing, this time with increased speed.  Ben looks at him, shrugs and continues his eating.  After another while, Myles stops.)

MYLES: I’m Myles.

BEN: (off-handed) Call me Ben.

MYLES: Which Ben are you?

BEN: (frustrated) Ben Ben Ben!  Benjamin, Benneth, Benedict, Benny Hill, Beno the dog, Ben-Ben.  Take anyone you like.

MYLES: Oh I see.

(Pause.)

MYLES: Are you waiting for the bus?

BEN: I have to.

MYLES: Why?

BEN: My home burnt down to the very foundations, with me as the only survivor.  I must have been loved.  (chuckles)

MYLES: I rented all my rooms out, except my own.  Then, after a while, I left my house for them, with the house rents in my pocket.  (pause) Lovely charity.

BEN: So where’s the money?

MYLES: It went to drinks, smoke, my guys, women.  I have to be a big boy, you know.

BEN: I see.

(Silence.  Ben finishes eating and stands up, dusting himself.  Suddenly, he laughs, startling Myles.)

BEN: I love this lecturer.  He lectures us once or twice.  I take his exams.  Then, I go to him after two days.  “Sir, I want you to consider me when marking the scripts.  Here.  Take.  This is for you.”  And he says, “Oh thank you, my son.  You know the way.”  Yes!  I have passed!!  (pauses) And there is that woman.  She lectures and lectures and lectures and lectures and lectures and lectures.  She tells us, “Read!  Read!  Read!  Read!”  I read.  It cannot enter.  I read again.  It cannot enter.  And again.  It cannot enter.  And again.  It cannot enter.  I take the exams.  I fail.  I hate that!  I hate her.  I can’t walk with her.  I can’t talk with her.

(Myles shrugs.  Silence.  Then…)

VOICE: (fierce) Who are those standing there??  I said who are those standing there?  Oya, go arrest them quick!!!!

(Ben and Myles are obviously startled by the authoritative voice.  Two policemen rush at them.  Minutes later, a third policeman comes in, limping.)

THIRD POLICEMAN: Yes?  Who are you?

BEN: Ben.

MYLES: Myles.

THIRD POLICEMAN: What are you doing here?

BEN: We are standing, sir.

(A policeman hits him roughly on the head.)

MYLES: We are waiting for that bus, sir.

THIRD POLICEMAN: Bus?  What bus?  Which bus?

MYLES: That bus that will take us to that place.

THIRD POLICEMAN: Eh!  I no blame you.  (takes out a small writing pad) Oya, wetin be your names?

BEN: Ben.

MYLES: Myles.

THIRD POLICEMAN: (writes) You be foolish people!!  You no no say uprising dey here?  We come to keep law and order here.  (pockets the pad)

MYLES: Oga, please!  Abeg, no vex.

(The other policeman hits him on the head.)

THIRD POLICEMAN: Shut up!  I suspect una.

FIRST POLICEMAN: Oga, dis one don chop im food finish.  Nonsense.

THIRD POLICEMAN: Oya, search them!

(The two policemen do so.  The first policeman fishes out a small white banner from Ben’s trench coat and throws it on the floor.  Written on the banner are the Roman numerals D C L X V I.)

MYLES: What is this?

BEN: The number.  But 7 and 3 are around, I know.

MYLES: So?

BEN: 7 + 3 = 10.  A great number.

MYLES: So?

BEN: One, two, three, four, five.  Another great number.  It must be in that bus.

THIRD POLICEMAN: Will you sharrap there!!

(The policemen shake them roughly.)

MYLES: Oga please!  Abeg!!  Take this.  (fishes out a couple of naira notes from his pocket and distributes them among the policemen) Take this eh.  Una don try well well.

THIRD POLICEMAN: (pleased) Ehe!  Na now you dey talk!  Good man.

(The policemen release them and count their money.  As they put it in their pockets, a woman in wrapper runs in, wailing.)

WOMAN IN WRAPPER: (desperately) Please!  Policeman!  Come o!  Come o!  Wahala dey o!

THIRD POLICEMAN: Cool down, woman.  Wetin happen?  Wetin shelle?

WOMAN IN WRAPPER: My husband!  My children!!  They are all gone!  Gone!!!!  I come back from market.  I just see de man run off.  De man wey kill them.  Just see!  My husband, blood!!  My children, blood!!!  Oh!  I don die, o!!!!!  (collapses)

THIRD POLICEMAN: Woman, cool down now.  Oya, describe de man to me.  (brings out his writing pad again)

WOMAN IN WRAPPER: Im wear 2-pac T-shirt, black trousers.  Im get da-da for head.  Im run dis way.  (points to one direction)

THIRD POLICEMAN: (writes and pockets the pad) OK.  Do not worry, ma.  I go report am for dem station.  Wait here.  Boys, let’s go.

(They exit hurriedly in the opposite direction.)

WOMAN IN WRAPPER: (turns to Ben and Myles) Una no go help me?  Please!  Please!!

BEN: Wetin we go do?

MYLES: Sorry, ma.

WOMAN IN WRAPPER: Hey!  I don finish kpata-kpata.  (exits)

(Ben and Myles shrug and laugh heartily.  Myles picks up the banner and tears it into two.  He tears it again.)

BEN: Well…

MYLES: Well…

BEN: We wait for the bus.

MYLES: Yes.

(Silence.)

MYLES: You know, I was thinking…  (walks backwards to the chair and sits down regally.  He assumes the pose of a king.) Slave!!

BEN: (does not move) Your highness!!

MYLES: Where is my crown?

BEN: You don’t have none.

MYLES: Where are my kingly robes?

BEN: You don’t have none.

MYLES: Where is my royal stick?

BEN: You don’t have none.

MYLES: Slave!

BEN: Your highness!!

MYLES: Where are my wives?

BEN: You have none.

MYLES: Where are my children?

BEN: (hesitates) None!

MYLES: What!  I rule my people, they are happy, rejoicing, and my kingdom lies bare?  Nonsense.  Slave!

BEN: Your highness!

MYLES: Where is my food?

BEN: (hesitates) There is no food.

(Myles shrugs and gets up.  He returns to the bus-stop sign.)

BEN: (desperately) Why is that bus taking so long?

(Myles remains aloof.  Silence.)

BEN: Say something!

MYLES: I’m trying.

(Long silence.  They start to loiter in different directions, crossing themselves every now and then.  Then, they stop momentarily.)

BEN: Where is your car?

MYLES: I didn’t buy one.

BEN: Why?

MYLES: Money wasn’t enough.

BEN: Shame on you.

MYLES: Real shame.

(They continue loitering.  Then, a driver comes in, driving an imaginary bus.  From his driving, the bus seems to have some fault.  They stop loitering.)

BEN: (taps Myles on the shoulder) Could that be the bus?

MYLES: (anxiously) It must be.  (calls) Sah, stop first!  Make you pick us now!

DRIVER: (stops driving) Sorry, O!  Dis bus dey out of service.

BEN: What??  Wetin you mean?  We wan go dat place.  Take us there.  Im no far from here.

DRIVER: Na de chassis wey burn.  (resumes driving) I dey take am go repairs.  Don’t worry.  Others dey come.  Wait first.  (drives off.  He exits.)

(Ben and Myles collapse on the floor, groaning in agony and anguish.  The woman in wrapper walks in, counting her steps.)

WOMAN IN WRAPPER: I am finished!  It is over!!

MYLES: (gets up and dusts himself) Don’t worry.  I’m here.  For you.  (embraces her shoulders) Shebi you still have furniture in your house?

(She nods.  He gradually takes her away.  She allows him, sniffing.)

BEN: Myles, where do you think you are going?

MYLES: (as he goes) Away from you.  (They exit.)

(Ben chuckles.)

BEN: I can see he is miles away.

(He shrugs.  A pastor walks in humbly with a Bible in his hand.  Ben eyes him and ignores him.)

PASTOR: My child, what are you doing on the floor?

BEN: (defiantly) I am waiting for the bus.

PASTOR: (slightly baffled) On the floor?

BEN: Is that your business?

(The pastor slowly and sadly shakes his head.  He walks up to the audience and addresses them.)

-*-*-*-

Epilogue

PASTOR: You have seen Thalia and Melopmene fight
And then, here comes the sinews of war
Who shall answer our plight?
Because problems come more and more
As Aesculapius slowly sips away
And Apollo hits us on our way
The lamp of heaven no longer shines
Pax arrives but away she pines
But there shall be an Ultimate
And once again, there will be wealth
It will live with us eternally, like king
So much goodness we shall communicate
And everywhere will be filled with health
Psalms, hymns, songs we shall always sing

(All this while, Ben has been entranced by the lyrical sonnet.  The pastor walks up to him and Ben allows him to lift him up.)

PASTOR: Let us go to the church.

BEN: (entranced) I feel the piercing, penetrating, pernicious pincers of finances when it walks away and leaves me ale-d.  This is a mendicant outcry.

PASTOR: Let us go to the church.

BEN: They toil to foil and soil for their spoil with their hands of oil while from the truth they recoil, to leave behind turmoil.

PASTOR: Let us go to the church.

(The pastor gradually takes Ben away.)

BEN: (as he goes) What day is today?  Is it Nwikpi…or Uwe?  (They exit)

THE END



21 thoughts on “WORTH THE WAIT — 2 & Epilogue” by Emmanuella Nduonofit (@Emmanuella-Nduonofit)

  1. Now I’m even more confused.

    Xikay…or Tola…?

    Some help here please…

  2. You ain’t getting any help from me Seun, and that is because Im as lost as you are…but I want to insist she is talking about the hopelessness of the Nigerian situation….and I insist there should be a better way of doing it, the names are not even Nigerian, so I may just be grabbing at straws here…Emmanuella, help me o…

  3. I think Ben went mad in the end. Even that pastor sef..

  4. Emmanuella, what do you mean by Nwikpi and Uwe? I will love to know what they mean.

    Is it that Myles took the available way out? ……opting to live with the woman instead of being left out in the street without any hope of survival.

    And Ben….did he actually repent? Or perhaps only to take advantage of the faith and trust in the church? Just like he said………..They toil to foil and soil for their spoil with their hands of oil while from the truth they recoil, to leave behind turmoil.

    Just for the record….I like the depth of your thought. I can see the energy you put behind this work.

    Keep it up!
    And thanks for writing.

  5. Seun, please don’t call on at me o. Emmanuella’s plays require more effort to decipher than I have available…

  6. They are all mad, even the brain behind it. Lol

  7. Emmanuella Nduonofit (@Emmanuella-Nduonofit)

    Alright, let me first of all begin from the end, a bit. “Thalia and Melopmene” are Greek gods of comedy and tragedy, respectively. “Aesculapius”, “Apollo” and “Pax” are other Greek gods as well. “Nwikpi” and “Uwe” are market-days of Uboro-Oro village, close to Oron Town in Akwa-Ibom State, where I come from. One would be wondering what business a pastor has with Greek gods. It’s all part of absurdism, where almost nothing makes sense.

    I brought this play here because I didn’t like the way it appeared when it was the debut drama for Sentinel Nigeria Online: http://www.sentinelnigeria.org/issue1/jingii.php. I understand the final conclusion of all the characters in this play, and even the playwright herself, being mad, but it would be very erroneous to rest on that conclusion without further research, because in a way, there is sense in this play. This play is better understood, I think, when ‘sliced’ into small bits and analysed and studied in that fashion. Remember that stage plays are not only meant to be read and kept away; they are meant to be performed, especially a very good play. One can never read this play on mere face value.

    Basically, in my own opinion not as the playwright, but as an NS-commentator, I would say here we have two guys on a near-deserted street by a bus sign waiting for a bus, with this great belief that by being in this bus, their lives would change forever. Now, for a ‘bus’ to appear and then leave without anyone entering it shows an anticlimax of some sort, and that has its own interpretation or interpretations.

    Please, gals and guys, go back to Act One and my own commentaries thereafter. That may help. Then read this Act again and combine both Acts with the Epilogue. If some of you are still confused, then I must say that this is not your kind of play then.

    1. manual for emmanuella 101

  8. Anytime Emmanuella writes something, she must always ‘release’ the ‘Manual’ as well. I wonder what will happen if U happen to write a novel to be published anytime soon. Will there be a manual too?

    1. not a manual but a university course you have to study for four years

    2. Emmanuella Nduonofit (@Emmanuella-Nduonofit)

      One day, I will NOT bother to create ‘manuals’ anymore, mi dearies, for I can see that this bothers you. Enjoy your own interpretations, hm?

  9. @seun i read the play and was as confused as you are. however, like the MAD playwright said, i looked at the individual dialogues to make some form of sense. what i saw was pockets of the dialogue dedicated to different ideas.

    like the slave and king part being a form of diversionary tactics we use to pass time and make our troubles look invincible.

    the police men displaying the corruption and rot.

    the man going with the woman as letting go of dreams, settling for less, taking advantage of situations…

    the pastors ranting may signify the confusion that religious leaders constitute in the situation of the country

    a thousand meaning indeed. even with the manual, i am confused

    1. i will most definitely like to see the play and play Myles

      1. Emmanuella Nduonofit (@Emmanuella-Nduonofit)

        Please, @Xikay, I very much doubt that you can interpret Myles’ role here if you want to play him. I tell you, there are heavy meanings in between his lines. This is the kind of play deeply critical stage play directors would love to work on. I mean, I didn’t say much when you were excited to play Heelas in THE LECHER, and almost everyone enjoyed the plays TROUBLED THOUGHTS [http://www.naijastories.com/2010/07/troubled-thoughts/] and MERELY A HOUSE [http://www.naijastories.com/2010/06/merely-a-house/], and ‘dodged’ the plays INTO THE EARTH [http://www.naijastories.com/2010/05/into-the-earth/] and SPEAK IDLE [http://www.naijastories.com/2010/08/speak-idle/] because these two latter plays were as confusing to them as this one. The one thing I can say, for now, is that life isn’t as straightforward as we want it to be. And so, we should accept its highly artistic crookedness, right? :)

        I believe what I’ve just said ‘adds’ to the ‘manual’ you guys said I’ve created, hm?

        1. and what makes you think i cant interpret the role?

          1. Emmanuella Nduonofit (@Emmanuella-Nduonofit)

            @Xikay, I am DEAD sure you can’t, because it looks as if this play will see the light of day posthumously. And besides, like I said, a play director with a good critical mind is the best person to handle the performance of this play. Em, I challenged you, didn’t I? Think of it, hm.

    2. Emmanuella Nduonofit (@Emmanuella-Nduonofit)

      @Xikay, I am honestly impressed with the little ‘slicing’ you’ve just done so far. Good. I guess the issue here, for me the MAD playwright, is to keep the reading audience confused, but the same thing won’t go for the viewing audience though, and to take what makes perfect sense and turn it into ‘perfect nonsense.’ It is quite understandable for most people to turn their backs on a piece of work they can’t understand, but that final resolution could be erroneous in my opinion. Patience, my dear, patience! It’s a pity that there is no NS-critic ‘sublime’ enough to show me something I haven’t seen in this play. Sometimes, I even wonder why Richard Ali chose to publish this play in the debut issue of Sentinel Nigeria Online magazine among three plays I gave him via email. Well, I guess he is yet to tell me, even though from the countless private Facebook conversations I’ve had with him, I could just take a wild guess, yea.

  10. @Emmanuella, u must be a student of “Waiting for Godot”. I saw absurdism thruout. av not read the first part but, I really appreciated this…
    I hope ur critics can step back and maybe try this angle…might help.

    check though
    “…eating food in a forlorn and dejected manner” I know that we can look forlorn and dejected just like I know that we cannot eat food in a forlorn and dejected manner.

    1. Emmanuella Nduonofit (@Emmanuella-Nduonofit)

      Trying to correct me concerning ‘eating food in a forlorn and dejected manner’, this shows the kind of ‘freedom’ writers have in the use of words, still yet words meant to be used ‘carefully’. And since you couldn’t bring up suggestions for me to replace those words, let me do that myself as an NS-commentator: “…eating food sadly, slowly”. What do YOU think, @adaobiokwy?

      Isn’t it obvious that I encountered the play WAITING FOR GODOT and went MAD, hm? In that play, Samuel Beckett made me understand that craziness, misunderstanding, absurdism, etc lies in every realistic part of life. Only mad people invent things, things that work. They think so much that they get migraines. Absurdism was a concept that came out after World War 2, I think. So this goes to show that currently, Nigeria is busy fighting its own internally self-inflicted battles, politico-economically.

  11. @Emmanuella-replace it wt whatever works for u…I could overlook that in poetry (under poetic license…if ever!)…drama? prose? nah…lol.

    1. Emmanuella Nduonofit (@Emmanuella-Nduonofit)

      There isn’t any excuse at all, even in poetry. Some lazy poets hide under that cloak ‘poetic license’ to write rubbish sometimes [I’m just talking generally here, o! This means that even if I do that, please sue me, or scold me, if need be, hm]. Poetry is the most powerful genre of literature, prose is the most profitable genre of literature and drama is the most communicative genre of literature and each of these genres are very much intertwined in both quality and quantity. So, mi dear, if you see that something is wrong, if you feel that something is wrong, say it and back it up very well, ok. Keep it up! *thumbs up*

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