By prisca sam-duru
Classic works of playwrights often create an imaginative cloud that drives our world. Unlike fiction, most readers derive pleasure in reading drama books as it ‘ministers’ directly to their subconscious minds especially with the heartfelt body language of the characters.
According to the first African Nobel laureate in literature, Professor Wole Soyinka, “Books and all forms of writing are terror to those who wish to suppress the truth.” By implication, Oruama has used his book to expose the truth of the unpublished secrecy within the spines of most traditional settings in this part of the world.
The Return Of The Golden Sword, is perhaps one of the finest drama books that will obviously stand the test of time. This is partly because of its sensational structuring, peculiarity of story line, captivating characters and persuasive narration. Written in simple diction, the 130 page book is boldly printed with an adorable artwork on its cover. These, among others, probably clarify why the book was nominated for the Nigeria Prize For Literature in 2010.
Set in Opu-se clan comprising of 14 villages, the epic drama articulates King Dokunbo’s impulse and insensitivity to his adhering subjects and the royal family, who sees no injustice in his acts. Deluded by anger, the king is thrown into obscure wisdom, in choosing the heir to the throne among his three sons. He wishes to know who loves him most, as a prerequisite to succeed him.
One of the outstanding rhythms of the book is the appropriate lyrics introduced by the author in native language throughout the play.
Soon after the enthronement of King Dokunbo, Obia witnesses a calamitous flood that threatens to ravage the community, putting the town in a topsy-turvy. Those who are adversely affected run for their dear life. The saddening lamentations of the helpless masses cause great concern to the monarch. Though momentarily worried, the king also never knows peace as the subjects including the queen are on rampage.
The first play, chronicles Ibibo’s life, a chequered tapestry filled with love, loyalty, nobility, betrayal, and the unfathomable tyranny of a father who, as king, sees nothing wrong in banishing his son, letting his subjects suffer oppression, and bringing down the roof of his palace on his own head because his decision is law, it cannot be changed.
King of Obia Dokubo’s avowed rigidness contrasts with his perfidy with the fates, aiming to outwit the gods, after they suspended the calamity that was to obliterate his kingdom. But the gods must be appeased by whatever means, and so Act One, Scene Two, ends with Queen Ine paying the supreme prize, leaving her three sons, the trinity, motherless while her husband easily shrugs off her sudden demise.
The last days of Ine and her expressive agonies live a mark of memories to the undying chord that tie a mother to her beloved child. Ibibio was a victim in this instance as he mournfully witnessed the passing away of a heroine mother after she narrated the ordeal of death sentence passed against her by divinity due to her insolence to divine directives.
Ibibio, the youngest child finds himself in the King’s gambit after the mysterious death of his mother especially as he tells his father, that he loves him more than the common salt. The prince was banished from the palace and a battle line was drawn between the father and his son. Trapped by the loins of emotion, the other two princes take up their journey into the bush in search of their brother in the name of bonded trinity.
Ibibio was ravaged by many days of hunger, thirst, and the savagery of jungle beasts that he describes as more humane than his father. Lolo, the heartthrob of Prince Ibibio has a lion share of the tragedy as she vows to look for Ibibio, not minding if she loses her life in the name of love.
But at the end, peace reigns and all the warring parties are reconciled. How did it happen? Find out from Oruama’s book of books. The book is a rare compendium that balances the socio-political and cultural challenges in an ideal state with holistic realism for settlement. It is recommended for everyone that cherishes the best works of art locally and in the Diaspora.