I just had the pleasure of seeing one of Uncle Ebo Whyte's Roverman's latest production, 'Puppeteers' performed beautifully at the National Theatre in Accra.
If you are a fan of Ebo Whyte's plays, then forgive me, I was a first timer at last Wednesday's show. Even though I have had the chance to see many of his plays, I had always not found time to attend.
At first glance at the venue, I thought the performance would be nothing extraordinary, but walking in I was transformed into the land of the 'Puppeteers'. The beautiful set was created completely out of wood but had a distinct airiness around that you wouldn't expect from such items. The props, including a sofa, a dining table, coffee chairs and tables, a kitchen cabinet hanging out of a wood, were all used throughout the show.
Well, a lot have been said about Roverman plays that they do not start late. Being a first timer, I thought those were only hearsays. But no, I was wrong. The play was to start at 6.30pm. As I got in there around 6.25, live band music welcoming patrons stopped playing to make way for the show. At exactly 6.30pm, the curtain opened and the show began in earnest.
For the past seven years, the plays staged by renowned playwright, Uncle Ebo and his Rovermann team have primarily centered on social issues, including sports, economy, education and so on.
Rovermann's latest production, 'Puppeteers', saw Uncle Ebo take on interesting feature of the ghanaian society, that is, power in all spheres of life.
At the start of this play, a judge moves into a new neighbourhood and the first welcome he gets is from a bunch of people who call themselves the 'Pickpocket and Thieves Association'. The Association had come to ask the judge to join their fold or face their wrath in the town. Would the judge heed to their demands, in spite of the power he holds to prosecute them? How would he even prosecute them when it appears the 'high' and 'mighty' in the society 'kow tow' to the robbers? What ensues next is for you to explore.
Uncle Ebo had earlier said the power phenomenon in 'Puppeteers' is basically to open the eyes of good people in position of power to some of the tricks that power attracts in the hope that one who gets elevated would ensure that their position does not become a highway of crooks to ride on to do what they want to do.
Meanwhile, each actor in the play, from the smallest to the largest, has their moments and knows exactly what they are supposed to be doing. The choreography was simple enough for each actor to perform well, yet diverse enough to hold the audience's attention. The vocal performance of each actor was also great. No actor pulls focus when they shouldn't.
The lighting design and the costume design was on point, as they enhanced the show in their own ways. The lighting was magical, with beams of spotlights playing their own distinct parts in the show.
The costumes were unique to each group of characters; 'the high society thieves', judge, wives and sex workers; everything complemented each other.
A beautifully crafted masterpiece, Rovermann has pegged his production as one of their best yet and had promised to wow patrons within the first five minutes. Were they able to achieve that? Yes, they did. As the play takes centre stage, patrons were spell bound by the acting prowess of each of the cast. Even though I had challenges with ascertaining the actual story line and plot at the beginning of the play, I guess that is the beauty of Roverman plays; to keep you glued to your seats and keep you in suspense.
I encourage you to go watch this production. At this time of year, theatres are putting on different shows for their audience, but I assure you wouldn't find one like the 'Puppeteers' by Uncle Ebo Whyte.
Puppeteers plays at the National Theatre on November 28 and November 29, 2015 and December 5 and December 6, 2015 at 4pm and 5pm daily.