Minna Davies depicts the fallibility of the gods in Lipstick Fever

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Scene from the play

Explaining the extent betrayal hurts, Mineko Iwasaki, a Japanese author, said: “Stab the body and it heals, but injure the heart and the wound lasts a lifetime.”

Iwasaki’s thoughts last Sunday came alive when Just Theatre House presented the stage play, Lipstick Fever at the Shodex Garden, Anthony, Lagos.Written by Minna Davies, the play showcases the pains of duplicity and how even the gods, which suppose to be above mortals in feelings and deeds react when their lovers betray them.

Performed before a live audience, this mythological satire centres on love and the characters of the gods. It talks about Yoruba gods and goddesses having sensual feelings for one another and also playing dirty like mortals.

Centres on Oba (May Efe Okanigbe) the banished wife of Sango, who not finding any of the gods faithful turns to mortal man for true love. Happy that the man would cherish and love her like none of the gods ever did, she waits for her birthday to flaunt him before fellow celestial beings.

At the said day, before the event Esu (Harry Bidemi Shokunbi) comes to woo her back, but the goddess is head over heels for this mortal man. Esu has on different occasions injured her heart and she swears never to let him toy with her again. So, not his sparkling wit could make her change her mind. While still trying to win her love, other gods and goddesses appear. Sango (Gerald Ochuba) comes with Oya (Debora Esenwa), while Ogun (Peter Omerenyia) arrives with Osun (Chidinma Lucy Nwobodo). Esu is alone; no lover or wife.

As the party progresses and other gods happy that they have found true love, Esu begins to reveal the ugly secret of each. He uncovers how Oya and Ogun have been frolicking in secret and also how Sango and Osun have been bedmate. With these secrets, the celebration turns sour and the gods and goddesses leave Oba disappointed at their lovers. Their hearts bleed, as they are all guilty of double-dealing.

Not given up on Oba, Esu this time returns to Oba in the image of Oba’s true lover. Oba falls like a pack of card, not thinking of Esu’s malevolence. With theme and sub-themes as betrayal, love, discipline and perseverance, the whole scenario stands as a typology of a nation struggling to have its footing among the comity of nation. While the gods remain our disorganized leaders whose lust for mundane things and greed for power have made them lose focus of what leadership is all about, the party venue stands for the parliament that leaves serious state issues for discuss paltry, which at the end of the day arrive at no serious conclusion.

Esu, the benevolent and malevolent creature, stands for the nation’s intemperate, who instead of sitting down to discuss at the round table would prefer the way of war.Directed by Ifeanyi Eziukwu, Oba was on top of her game. She interpreted her role naturally; her voice, body language and costume were just ideal.

Ogun was not assertive with his words. He recited his lines, while his body language was not inline with his action. A character whose statue and body language projects authority would have been the best. In fact, the character that played Ogun would have being ideal for Esu.

Esu, the benevolent and malevolent creature, did not do badly. But the director had already judge him bad by clothing him in black throughout the play. Esu could come in any colour and any attire, even though he is of black consciousness.

The director should avail himself of the opportunity provided by the managers of the garden by using the stage light to depict the effect of the words of the gods. For example, when Sango said: “ I am the god of thunder,” one expects the stage blink and the speakers to roar.However, the storyline was thrilling. The play continues with two shows at 3pm and 6pm at the same venue on 23, 28 and 29.