'Prison Graduates’ is a comedy-filled stage-play, themed on four exuberant young men looking to rebuild their lives after years in prison.
Even before the play was staged at the National Theatre on Saturday, the euphoria around town was at an all-time high. Lovers of stage-plays just couldn’t wait to see what April Communications had for them. I couldn’t wait either!
The entire branding package leading to the premiere of the play was just top-notch. The team that put together ‘Prison Graduates’ was basically everywhere – trying to promote, create awareness and size the public up for the main event on Saturday.
And after I saw a video preview with the likes of Adjetey Annan and Clemento Suarez (all members of the cast) rapping to communicate the date, time and place of the play, my urge not to miss it increased the more. So I was present, and boy; was all worth my time.
The stage-play ‘Prison Graduates’ tells the story of four exuberant young men looking to rebuild their lives after spending so many years in prison. Written by the late Efo Kodjo Mawugbe, produced by April Communications and directed by Fiifi Coleman, the play seeks to bring to the fore how failed systems in a country could ultimately stall the bright futures of its youth.
Looking to rebuild their lives after years behind bars, these four decided to take up new identities. And that they did by first having a change of name, then they moved on to carving a career for themselves.
Imagine freshly released criminals having intents of becoming boxing agents, bishops, politicians and civil servants. Well, those were the dreams of these four ex-convicts.
As they demonstrate how they will go about their duties, the audience simply could not help but break into laughter.
Then there is also the scene of the ‘selfie nurse’ who prioritizes her looks over the welfare of her patients. Now what do you do when you find yourself in a hospital and you are asked to be sent to the D-ward – a ward the doctor boldly states is the Death-ward? You can imagine the face of the patience there.
'Prison Graduates' also explores to detail the importance of having a country where the youth strive to make things work. Surprisingly, one of the scenes sees the need to have HIV Aids spread across the country, a business plan by one of the 'graduates'. To him, the spread of Aids means there is a great future for coffin makers. Can you imagine that?
And wait! Have you ever heard the daily prayer of every civil service personnel? Then here we go [picked from Psalm 23]: ‘And give us this day our daily bribe, and help us steal from those who pass through our hands …..’.
And will you ever vote for a political party named Do Or Die (DOD) Party? The answers lie in the stage-play ‘Prison Graduates’.
It was absolutely fun-filled, and by now I’m sure you must be reeling if you missed it. But as with everything good, there is also the bad side.
The show started pretty much late. As communicated, it was supposed to start at exactly 7:00 PM, however, it did start almost 40 minutes later. The DJ on the night also almost ruined the show. He seemed to be on a totally different page whenever the acts were singing a particular song, and that didn’t help matters at all.
Again some of the scenes could have been acted better if more hands were included. The four main casts performed all the roles, and for a play which had many different subplots, fresh faces in those roles would have done the trick.
But all the same it was an impressive play, and the audience loved it. I did enjoy it too, as the stage-play fused drama, music, and comedy to great effect.
The entire team of April Communications must be congratulated for putting up such a great show. ‘Prison Graduates’ is definitely going places, and its impact was best typified by the mammoth crowd that graced the National Theatre to watch.
And for a play that had notable personalities like Nigerian actor Zack Orji, VGMA Artiste of the year Joe Mettle and legendary comedian KSM clapping and laughing all night, credit must be given where it is due.
‘Prison Graduates’ does not just entertain, but also educates and explores the loopholes in the society we live in. If you missed this one, then make sure you don’t miss the next stage-play by April Communications. You would definitely not regret it.