ACT 1 – SCENE 1
Lights on with a music accompanied by a robust hand clapping echoed into the stage introducing Nmafiong.
Nmafiong walks majestically into the stage with a brisky super print wrapper tied loosely around her waist and a pale green T-shirt firmly designed with some flowers crawling over her sagging breasts. Her foot toes are well decorated with a silver white nail polish to match with her silver milky foot wear. In her hand is a creamy coloured basket full of vegetables and other freshly produce bought from a nearby Atim’s market. Just on her right hand corner is Ifia, Nmafiong’s husband who is seated on a well furnished chair. He is sitting bare-footed and dressed with a typical Yoruba’s famous Agbada wear with a round cap on his head. On the ground is a Calabash and a gourd containing of a fresh palm wine. He sips silently from his gourd as he takes his snuff slowly and silently without any cough or need of clearing his throat but only interrupted by the “Koi-koi” sound from the sore of the wife’s foot wear on the cemented floor and the sound grew stronger and louder as the wife approaches nearer.
IFIA: Oh! (He clears his throat) Nmafiong my wife, you look so beautiful today? Welcome my wife.
NMAFIONG: Ette (As she usually addressed him) Thank you (with a frown face).
IFIA: Woman! You look worried, is anything the matter? I mean, you have never behaved this way before.
NMAFIONG: There is no problem, I’m ok.
IFIA: Come on my dear wife, (He toasted) talk to me for I’m your husband. Don’t you know that anything bothering you is equally bothering me? Or have you had any dispute between any women in the market?
NMAFIONG: Not at all, my husband. Its just that ………….
IFIA: Just that what? (He interrupted) what on earth could make a woman as beautiful looking as you are to look so boring this early hour of the day.
NMAFIONG: (Continues) I heard a very thrilled story on my way back from the market, that which I had being awaiting for years now and …………….
IFIA: And what is the story all about?
NMAFIONG: On my way back from the market, Atim informed me that her daughter-in-law has given birth to a bouncing baby boy.
IFIA: (Jumps to his feet) Oh! This calls for celebration! Oh Abasi ane-anam! (He commended) then lets drink to the good health of the new born baby.
NMAFIONG: Do I hear you say “Drink to the good health of the new baby? Oh! No wonder (she shake her head in dismay).
IFIA: Of course ………..
NMAFIONG: It’s only a pity that you have forgotten that we are getting older as the day passes.
IFIA: And what does that mean?
NMAFIONG: It means that you should stop drinking to people children’s good health and try as much as possible to do what other people are doing for their children’s wives to give them a grandchild.
IFIA: Woman is enough! I say, that is enough!
NMAFIONG: (She continues) when will someone ever drink to your own grandchild’s good health? Ok! I know, until thy kingdom come or till that witch kills my son.
IFIA: You mean that you are unhappy because of our son’s situation?
NMAFIONG: OhEtte! So you want our son, our only son for that matter (she tames her chest) to remain without a child? How can we fold our arms and watch that witch torment our son. Ette, it is impossible, it will not happen. Something must be done, an urgent one for that matter or else …..
IFIA: Or else what? (Cuts in)
NMAFIONG: Or else that witch will kill my son and leave me lonely.
IFIA: Woman! (He called out) Have you no faith. Why have you allow yourself to be used by the devil for the manifestation of his works? You know, (He continues) God is the giver of all things. With Him, all things are possible. My dear wife (He moves closer) God’s time is the best, you can’t tell Him what to do.
NMAFIONG: Then; He should do the right thing and at the right time.
IFIA: Please my wife lets be patient and look up to His appointed time.
NMAFIONG: You can agree with me that we have prayed and fasted, still expecting this appointed time but all to no avail. Ette! This is the right time for us to react or ………….
IFIA: Look! (He interrupted) you are going too far woman! While not calm down and lets look unto God.
NMAFIONG: See, if you like you can fast for 40days and night for God’s time to come. But I can assure you that I won’t be part of that.
IFIA: What do you mean?
NMAFIONG: I mean I’m going to do something urgent before that witch gets rid of my son. (She hurries into the house).
IFIA: (Shouting) see woman! You better not try any thing diabolic against that innocent girl otherwise, you will regret ever taking any action. Be warned! God forbid, this woman will not kill me in this house. Oh! It’s barely fifteen minutes to the hour of ten in the morning; I must hurry to Uma’s house for the family meeting. (He sets out).
NMAFIONG: (Soliloquizing) Mm! Nnamso wants to get rid of my only child. Chei! No! no I must react, yes! I must do something before my son is killed. Oh! That witch is going to smell pepper; today she must leave my son’s house. Yes she must! (She re-affirmed).
(Nmafiong prepared as fast as she could and set out her first adventure to her son, Inuabak’s house)
This scene takes place in Inuabak’s sitting room. The room is well furnished. The couple is closely seated together as though they were unseparated siamese twins bounded together by nature. They are chatting and exchanging cherishing words capable of creating a more level of intimacy between the couple. Shortly after, they are been interrupted by an abrupt knock on the door.
INUABAK: Please sweetheart, kindly see who is at the door.
NNAMSO: Yes your majesty (She addressed moving towards the direction of the door) Oh! Mama is you, you are highly welcome (in an attempt to embrace her).
NMAFIONG: Yes! I have come for you. You shameless and heartless witch, today you are leaving my son’s house.
NNAMSO: (Still standing with hands well stretched in readiness to embrace her mother-in-law and extended slightly below her shoulder, then lowers it slowly) But mama why? (Tears run down her checks).
NMAFIONG: (Stands still, her two hands tightly placed on the waist, as her right foot stamps steadily on the ground while her head goes nodding like that of an agama lizard) my beloved witch in the Lord, never you try calling me that mama again, over my dead body could I be a mother to a witch like you. Do you have it in mind that after charming the son that you can still bewitch the mother?
Your obligation in this house since twelve years ago is to cook and eat. Look at yourself, as slim and feeble as you were when you came to my son’s house, look how chubby and fatty like-pig you now look. Man – Woman like you!
INUABAK: Ah! For heaven’s sake, what has kept this woman waiting so long? Anyway, let me see for myself. (He walks towards the direction of the door) Oh! My beloved mother! (He exclaimed) Mama welcome (He gave her a tender embrace) Mama how is Papa and Rita.
NWAFIONG: My son they are all fine.
INUABAK: I hope that Rita is studying hard in a school o! (He continued humorously when he caught an abrupt glimpse of the wife shading tears profusely). Please mama come in, (Mama moves forward) honey, what is the matter! Come on! Please speak to me stop crying and go and get mama a chilled drink.
NMAFIONG: Hei! My son! Do you want her to kill me?
INUABAK: Mama what do you mean?
NMAFIONG: I mean that she is unfit to serve me or don’t you understand things even when you’ve lived with it for years?
INUABAK: Ma….ma! You sound so difficult to be understood, while not stop meandering and go straight to the point, please.
NMAFIONG: My son, look at me, you know that I’m getting older and as such I and your father ought to have had grandchildren from you for long.
INUABAK: Mama I know.
NMAFIONG: Very good my son, since this your so-called wife is unproductive to you and even a disappointment to the entire family; I suggest that you take another lady for a wife.
INUABAK: Mama I have heard you. But point of correction, my wife is not and never will she be unproductive.
NMAFIONG: There you go wrong my son! For how many years? For a good period of twelve years, she has not been able to perform her marital obligation to its fullest not even to a one-quarter.
INUABAK: Please Mama, leave God to handle that. I so much believe that God will give me a child at its due course.
NMAFIONG: No my son! You must adhere to my orders and advice. That lady is a witch and she is responsible for your childlessness and ………
INUABAK: (Interrupts) and you should not call my wife a witch.
NMAFIONG: I say that she is a witch and will sooner or later finish you up but I will never fold my arms and watch her torment you. She must leave this house today!!!
INUABAK: Please mama mind your words and how you alter them at my wife. Please, I’m begging you.
NMAFIONG: You still call that hard-hearts and barren witch a wife?
INUABABK: Is enough mother! I won’t condone any abuses from you or …..
NMAFIONG: Or what? (She interrupted)
INUABAK: Or I will walk you out of my house.
NMAFIONG: (Stood up) so-o! It has come to that point for you to walk me out of your house?
INUABAK: So it has come to that point for you to call my wife a witch.
NMAFIONG: Inua, so you want me to leave your house? Its ok but I think this witch has to leave first. (She ties her wrapper very well and grabs Nnamso by the hand). You must leave my son’s house today, you barren witch. You have done your worst.
NNAMSO: Please Mama, leave me alone. Are you God?
NMAFIONG: You must leave this house
INUABAK: Mama please, leave my wife alone and please do take your leave. See mama I’m getting tired of all these disturbances in my marriage. Please go! God must visit us someday.
NMAFIONG: So-o! You want me to leave your house? You are sending me out of your house? But remember that the child that does not want the mother to sleep; such child can never sleep. You will come begging!
INUABAK: Mama the God that I’m serving will not let me down.
NMAFIONG: Don’t worry. And as for you Nnamso, we shall see, we shall see who regrets!!!
NNAMSO: You shall witness God’s plans in my life. Believe it or not.
NMAFIONG: Unless my name is never Nmafiong Ifia Udoutere! (She walks out).
(…TO BE CONTINUED)