TWO PLAYS by CHUKWUMA ANYANWU. Review by SOLOGIDI DONATUS

{BOOK REVIEW}

TWO PLAYS
by
CHUKWUMA ANYANWU

Review
by
SOLOGIDI DONATUS

A REVIEW OF THE BOOK
WRITTEN by SOLOGIDI DONATUS
Abraka, Nigeria
Firstly, I felt like a fish out of water when the author (Dr Chukwuma Bonny Anyanwu ) asked me to write the review of his book “TWO PLAYS” It was totally an uncharted waters for me, acknowledging the fact within that I practically had no preconceived notions of what review writing is, much less in a technical field as literature.

Wallowing in my unsuspecting thoughts of the challenge and task ahead and as to why a literary mogul in the likes of Dr Chukwuma Bonny Anyanwu, the secretary and well renowned member of the Association of Nigerian Authors, [ANA DELTA] whose works have won different literary prizes would afford to give a student to write a review of his work, I see a man with copious humility intertwined with the milk of human kindness and the zeal to raise younger generation of students in the literary world. I am indeed, very grateful to write this review with all sense of purpose and commitment.

After a very critical analysis of precision and a view from the wings, please permit me to state that my comments and opinions about this book “TWO PLAYS” are merely tentative and personal; hence they are not immutable and as such subject to further scrutiny. The book is a conglomerate of two plays (as the title suggests above) consisting of “A View From The Wings” and “The Brothers” respectively. Each one of the plays (with stage directions) tells a story of how the ball bounces in a conventional Nigerian society. “A view from the wings” has several themes discussed in it ranging from betrayal, sneaking suspicion, unemployment, ethnic chauvinism to tribal jingoism. While in “The Brothers” the play tersely depicts themes of Wisdom as evident in Uncle Ikenna’s “hypothetical imperative” which saved the family from untold pains and unmitigated disaster,the theme of forgiveness as shown by the brothers [Ekenne and Kurtis] Mischief, being displayed by the termagant house wife [Nnenne] Courage and bravery as portrayed by Kurtis, his girlfriend Honney and Emeka. ‘A view from the wings’ equally and allusively condemns and censures the inherent malady of the behaviours of some lecturers in our educational system where they feel they are all and all hence, can do and undo.The author who happens to be my lecturer has a host of other publications to his credit. His other works include : Boundless Love {a play, kraft 2007} which won the 2004 Association of Nigerian Authors [ANA] Delta Branch, Another Weekend, Gone! {a play, kraft 2010}, Evil Hold {a novel, bookwright 2010}, The Twins {a novel, Bookwright 2011}, Heartbeats {poems of youthful love and innocence among others. He’s happily married with children.My thoughts and feelings for the book are quite fair and the way the stories were told. Without a modicum of doubt, the author’s footprints on the seashore of literature is near national and international crescendo. Let me at this juncture discuss my favourite characters in both plays. In the view from the wings, my favourite characters are the two affianced girlfriends of Babatunde Owolabi a.k.a Babs and Chidi Ijego, Nkechi Egonwanne and her Yoruba friend Tokunbo. I was particularly interested about them because of their prudence. In the second play “The Brothers” my favourite character couldn’t have been no other than Kurtis (the last born). I see a young boy with the nerves of a steel in him. His courage? Bravery? Quite impressive I dare say. The characters in both plays felt real to me as they enunciate the nature, character and functions of paradoxical average Nigerians. The stories were narrated straight as one didn’t have to make a conjecture on the next line of action. Subjectively, my favourite part of the first play was when the two friends Babatunde and Chidi decided to open a church in order to assuage their suffering. This part of the story tersely illuminates or metaphorically alludes the debilitating state of unemployment and its appalling trend which has plunged the hope of young Nigerians into an abyss of despair and uncertainty of what the future holds. It equally portrays the fake pastors and prophets who go on deceiving people with the name of God. The church in Nigeria is apparently becoming a business adventure. We don’t really know who is called and who’s not. After all they say, “all call na call”. Notwithstanding the perfidious puritans and pretentious witches and wizards that holler sermons of righteousness on altars in religious sphere, the book hyperbolically extended such acts mentioned above to all clergymen which is not so in reality. We’ve got quite number of genuine men of God, unlike GINAFAM. So, I think this was the part I didn’t like. It is indeed of a truth that what an elder sees while seating a child cannot see even when standing on top of a mountain. The words of our forefathers are indeed words of wisdom. This succinctly tells the wisdom in uncle Ikenna in “The Brothers” when it became obvious that neither Ekene and Kurtis nor Nwabueze and his wife Nnene would fess up, eat their words, come down from their high horses and render apologies, uncle Ikenna being the eldest in the family applied wisdom. It reminded me of an aphorism which says “always listen to your elders not because they are always right but because they have more experience at being wrong”. His decision to use oath taking as a measure to reinstate peace and order in the family and to know the party at fault eventually became “hypothetical imperative ” as Nnenne sent herself on self-exile on the face of shame and defeat. This part, of course, was my favourite in “The Brothers”. In page 72 of “The Brothers” in Ikenna’s warning to Kurtis on his initial blunt refusal to take an oath “wine”, I presumed was typed as “mine”.
In page 68, in Nwabueze’s speech to Ekene ” Ekene, you are forgetting yourself! When the mouth goes to war before the legs, it does not return with the legs……”Before God was created by the white man who imported him to us, I have known him. The eyes that fear nobody goes blind! In Nwabueze’s rhetorical question, I believe it was meant to be “Before the white man was created by God…” Also in same speech, the last sentence has ‘misplaced concord’. I think it ought to be “the eyes that fear nobody go[not goes] blind.

In page 73, in Ikenna’s speech ” That is irrelevant. It’s has been proved in your presence”.. I think either the ‘apostrophe’ or ‘has’ is not needed. Ultimately, the reading culture in the country especially amongst youths is becoming obsolete,antiquated and almost getting into extinction. I hereby use this medium to give a wake-up call to all lovers of education to rejuvenate and imbibe the culture of reading. Books such as “Two Plays” is something one wouldn’t afford not to read. It’s enlightening, entertaining, funny and amongst all, educative. The author has tagged the price in an economically-affordable amount. Please do well to grab a copy.

In all, I wish to extend my hands of gratitude to the author for this rather singular and spectacular honour given me to write the review of this book. God bless Nigeria, God bless Delta State University!

SOLOGIDI DONATUS
400level Mass Communication, Delsu, Abraka. And also a bona fide member of the ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIAN AUTHORS (ANA) Delta State Chapter. He is a Pengician who is an INK addict.

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