Aboriginal Theatre’s Fractures in Retrospect

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The menace of immigration and fractured family lives formed the highlights of the Aboriginal Theatre’s production of Fractures, an African adaptation of Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge. It was recently performed to a full-capacity hall at MUSON Centre for two days with the prospect of sustaining the spirit of entertainment in the city. A tragedy may seem like an unlikely genre of drama to entertain people but the comical tilts in the play’s characterizations were quite profound.

Beginning with the play narrator (Tunji Sotimirin), who was the immigration lawyer and a supposed bridge-builder in the growing family feud, the drama ascends to its climax in the heat of the conflict between Idris (Ropo Ewenla) and the two Nigerian immigrants in UK, Jide (Gideon Okeke) and later, Dayo (Patrick Diabuah). In truth, Idris’s character developed from being a large-hearted protagonist who willingly accommodated the immigrants in his home to the villain who proved to be the enemy within.

Idris adores Toju (Beverly Naya), his wife’s niece whom he had raised as a child. The affection becomes worrisome when he finds her physically attractive. Toju has grown to a beautiful young lady who falls in love with Jide, a playful and an aspiring disc-jockey. Idris doesn’t hide his disapproval of the romantic relationship and subsequently plots separations to end the love game. His first shot is to send Toju to a drama school which he never wanted her to go. His second shot is to persuade Jide into an arranged marriage to secure permanent residency in UK. Though Idris’ plans are foiled by the strength of their love, another scheme to end the relationship comes to his mind that spells disaster for Dayo who gave up everything to travel to UK, work and save money for his ailing daughter’s planned surgical procedures.

Ignoring the advice of the immigration lawyer and Nike, his wife, Idris blows the whistle on the two immigrants. The immigration officers arrive, search for the immigrants and take them into custody. Embittered by Idris’s unguarded selfishness, Dayo attacks Idris on Toju and Jide’s wedding day. Idris was rescued by Nike whom he had forbidden from attending the wedding ceremony. During the fight, Nike is mistakenly stabbed by the headstrong Idris.

One of the pleasant surprises in the drama is in the character of Dayo. A very humble Lagos driver and father developed to an avenger who is at risk of imprisonment or deportation to Nigeria. The play drums in the reality that the greener pastures sought by many immigrants can be full of thorns. Patrick Diabuah emerges from the usual role of soulful musical actor in plays like Wakaa and Saro to a vicious street boy in Fractures.