‘…you see your Father’s love as a reward, the measure of which is according to your performance.’
The character, ‘Torera’ in Peace Oni’s Abba Father
The parable of the Prodigal son is found in the book of Luke in the fifteenth chapter, from the eleventh verse up until the thirty-second verse. For most of us, it explains succinctly God’s unfailing love and everlasting attempt to reconcile with man. Even when we stoop so low as to consort with the ‘pigs of this world’ – feeding from their troughs, cohabiting with them – God doesn’t disinherit us. Rather he waits for us patiently, waiting to celebrate us when we come to our senses and find our way back home.
Jesus didn’t, however, talk about the one who never went astray. The seemingly loyal and faithful son that was always available. He recognised his status and worked to show that he had earned his place as an heir. Imagine his indignation when the ‘squanderer’ comes back and his being celebrated. What nonsense!
This article is not about what I think. Rather it is about two works of art – a stage play written by a wonderful young woman, Peace Oni and a drama – based on this stage play – produced by an outfit – Afrikoinart. I watched the drama today at the Main Auditorium of the Nigerian Law School at 7.00pm and I have to say that I was blessed. Normally, I am against spoilers but I can’t just help sharing this one time.
Basically, the setting of the play is a small Yoruba town. The Father of the prodigal son is a very wealthy farmer with a lot of servants and land and crops. Business is good, harvest is plentiful and all is well until the prodigal son decides to go on a frolic of his own. The elder brother considers him irresponsible –typical of a spoilt rich kid – but what he doesn’t bargain for is his Father’s inconsolable sorrow at the departure of the ‘thoughtless son’. He doesn’t understand this. He thinks his Father should be satisfied because he – that is the elder son – works hard and is responsible etc. So each time he sees his Father’s despondency, he is compelled to work even more hard so that his father can love him more, because if his Father really loved him, he would not be so sad about the departure of his elder brother.
Tragedy strikes, robbers attack and a large portion of the harvest is taken away. He seeks the advice of the head of the servants because he has ‘failed’ his father. His fiancé is dying and he can’t’ ask his father for the needed potion because he is not working hard enough. If he had worked hard enough and stood his ground, the harvest would have been safe. The Prodigal son returns, his fiancé gives up the ghost and all hell is let loose. How dare he (the prodigal son) show up? How could father celebrate such irresponsible behaviour when he who had never missed work any day of his life has never even bought new clothes? I can’t help but leave you to imagine the end of the story. Like I said I don’t do spoilers, but this is what I have to say:
- If you see Peace Oni and/or Afrikoinart in connection with any stage play or drama, please, please and please find your way to the venue. I saw passion, talent, dedication, focus, practice, hard work and comradeship on stage. I saw people who, in spite of all odds, gave their best to deliver a message.
- God’s love towards us is NOT dependent on the amount of work and energy we expend in working. God loves us. The end.
I just pray that we come into the understanding of the real nature of God’s love. 1 eph 3: 16 – 19. I want to appreciate Mr Osamolu of the Nigerian Law School Abuja Campus and the CLASFON executives 2015/2016 of the Abuja Campus for making it possible for this to happen.
This is my own little contribution to the Afrikoinart group (and the (mind-blowing) Diadem of Light dance group). I hope that your message goes global. I hope you wax stronger. I pray you speak the truth at all times without fear and favour. I want to promise that I would cover, in my little way, all your productions and stage plays. I don’t know if I can do that. I will try. So, watch out!!!
P.S I never expected to have so much fun. I got more than what I bargained for. This is a stage play that is in a class of its own. I hope you enjoy the pictures!!! When next Afrikoinart is coming to town, don’t ‘carry last’.
Big shout out to Oluwadunsin Adebayo (Watch this space for some of her works) who helped me put my thoughts together and supplied the quotes and Precious Ivongbe with whose Ipad I took some pictures. I love you both.
Below are some quotes (or words to that effect) I hope strike a chord in your hearts.
‘Owonikoko(Elder son): But Father, I have served you faithfully, i have been loyal, worked tirelessly but you have never thrown me a party.
‘Father: But you never asked!!! If you had only asked me, I would have thrown you a party and invited this seven villages. ‘
‘Morenikeji: All you had to do was ask your Father for the sap of the Moringa tree. Now my sister is dead!!!’