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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

TIPS ON WRITTING A GOOD PLAYLET

The Playlet
In the last unit, I presented an outline for a play but will try to compress it into a playlet. The title is Option A4.
OPTION A4: A Playlet
Dramatis Personae
Igwebuike – An honest politician, who returns to his state with an intention to help his people.
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Uchechi – His wife
Egobuike – Another corrupt politician
Ubanese
Dike
Agagwuncha - other politicians
Mezue
Bogudu - The I.N.E.C. official
Other men and women who appear on the Election Day to cast their votes.
Part I
(In a well-furnished sitting room.)
Igwebuike: We have made our final arrangements. The campaign is progressing as planned. Our major opposition is Chief Egobuike but I don’t regard him as a force to reckon with
Uchechi. Why?
Igwebuike: Considering his antecedents, he is a tout, a semi-illiterate and a scoundrel. Who will vote for such a person to rule a state that has produced enlightened people in all spheres of life. What can he offer the people except to loot the treasury like his predecessors.
Uchechi: You are wrong. Our society is not enlightened. The political awareness is very low.
Igwebuike: Not as low as you think. I have been attending political meetings, rallies and other gatherings. The consensus is that the people have refused to be fooled.
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Uchechi: I have a contrary view. Your political associates are telling tyou what you want to hear. Open your eyes and see that they are suckers… suckers… suckers…
Igwebuike: Why are you so pessimistic?
Uchechi: I am not pessimistic but practical. Can’t you see that I have stopped attending your meetings? Darling, please listen to me. These so called political associates of yours are here to milk you dry. Politics here is not for honest people. It is not yet late. Give up the struggle or you will be consumed by the level of disappointment you will get.
These people are not interested in building the state but in plundering the state. They do not need you because they do not want a builder but a destroyer.
Igwebuike: I don’t share your views. I interact with them. The people are disenchanted and are clamouring for a change.
Uchechi: On the contrary, the people have been impoverished so much that they are interested in their daily bread. They are interested in putting food on their tables today. So what do they do? They rush to anyone who dangles a morsel of food before them.
Igwebuike: Things have changed
Uchechi: Things will never change… at least not in our generation. It is only in this country that people applaud what ordinarily should be taken for granted. They pay tax, yet there are no roads, pipe- borne water
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is history. The rich have boreholes and the meagre resources of the poor are used to buy water from the rich. I say buy…buy water, meanwhile we have streams…good streams that could provide clean water for all. Look around you, whenever there is electricity (light) people jubilate…unbelievable. If one kilometre of road is tarred, people jubilate. The list is endless.
Igwebuike: Darling, this is why I have decided to make a change. All I need is your support and the support of every citizen of the state. I hope to…there is a knock, (Uchechi opens the door for Ubanese and leaves). You’re welcome my friend. Sit down. (Uchechi returns with drinks, places them on the table and leaves).
Ubanese: Chief, we have finalized all the arrangements. We need about One hundred Million Naira for the final grossroot mobilization.
Igwebuike: One hundred million naira? (Uchechi re-enters)
Uchechi: I…I…, please pardon my intrusion, what did you say? Ten Million Naira for grassroots mobilization. Darling, you see …if you have One Hundred Million Naira, choose one hundred families in this state and give each one million and your job is done. Please leave these people.
Ubanese: Madam, politics is money and money is politics. You spend the money, win the election and recoup what you spent one million times. Politics is business. Politics is investment, real investment. Real investment madam
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Uchechi: We are here to change the lives of the people and not to…
Ubanese: Exactly. Change their lives. The money I am demanding is for the people. Give them sufficient money and you get sufficient votes.
Uchechi: You don’t need to buy vote. Canvass for votes. Convince the people by presenting a credible, workable and people-oriented manifesto and programme. You will get their votes.
Ubanese: Not in this place. Chief Egobuike is having an upperhand. He has been distributing money, food, clothes and has given some people motorbikes. The hundred million I am asking for is just for us to start.
Igwebuike: No my friend, the truth is that I don’t have that kind of money. And even if I have, I will prefer to initiate programmes that would empower the people. Anyway, we will discuss further in the evening. We scheduled to meet in the evening, didn’t we? (exit Uchechi).
Ubanese: Yes, yes we did but I thought that I could get some fund for the mobilization of Ward 2 so that in the evening I would present my report.
Igwebuike: It’s alright but there is no fund here, now. We meet in the evening.
Ubanese: (Disappointed) if you say so. But I thought…
Igwebuike: Don’t worry. We will take care of everything in the evening.
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Ubanese: Chief, there is no time. Election is next week. Anyway, you see in the evening. Exit.
Light fades
Part Two
(At the Party House)
Mezue: Chief, as I was saying, your Oyibo ways are too much. The sheep says that if the soldier ants carry a dance to his house, if he does not know how to dance, he will start jumping. You don’t seem to know how to dance the dance of politics in this place but you can at least jump. Chief jump, jump, and jump. The important thing is result. Chief… result. We need result. We need to win this election you must spend money. Bring out a few dollars, we change it and the money will be so much that one’s jaw would break while counting it.
Agagwuncha: Chief he is right. We need victory and we have to work for it. We need money but the way you’re going about it… ah…ah I don’t understand. Bring money, you provide peanuts. Hire thugs, no. Do this, no. do that no. Let me ask you, do we see a baby’s first tooth with empty hands?
Igwebuike: Let me explain…
Agagwunchi: Sorry Chief that I am cutting in. Politics in Obodo Oyibo is different from politics here. You are in our own Rome now, please behave like Romans to ensure victory at the polls.
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Mezue: I am your Campaign Manager and I have nothing to show for it. My name is Mezue. Mezuelum Kanm and Mezuelugi. Meet my demands and I will meet yours by delivering the state to you.
Igwebuike: I thought that we are in it together. It is not my victory but our victory. Alone, I cannot do anything but together we will triumph.
Ubanese: A person’s name looks for him. Igwebuike – unity is strength. You are right. But you are the flag bearer. It is our victory but it is you that the electorate knows and when you win, you only admit the people you like to the State House. You lead and we follow. Provide the funds and we deliver the state to you.
Igwebuike: Gentlemen, you talk as if I have not provided funds for the campaigns. No doubt, you need money…for logistics and not for sharing. You will recall that I allocated sufficient funds for the youth wing, the women’s wings and foot the bills for the campaigns transportation, and other expenditures you presented. I don’t understand this money-sharing aspect. Do we call people together and start.
Ubanese: Leave that to us. We know how to do it. We did not join politics today. Provide the fund and we deliver the state to you.
Mezue: Gbam.
Agagwuncha: Chief, you can see that we are not paupers. We are not begging for money to share among ourselves. Gboo, Ibe anyi (they nod their
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heads in support). We need this money to give to voters. To strategize, if others are carrying five ballot boxes we will carry twenty. If they are employing one hundred agents we employ one thousand. If others are…(an explosion is heard outside, some youths storm the centre. There is commotion outside the place).
Light fades
Part Three
(At home)
Chief Igwebuike has bandages on his head and shoulder. He walks with the aid of a working stick)
Uchechi: Darling, please leave these people and lets go back to U.S.
Igwebuike: He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day. We need people to sanitize the system. If we all run away who will be here to improve the lives of these people, to liberate the oppressed, to speak for the voiceless, to…
Uchechi: Enough of these slogans. We point to the ruins of what used to be the valiant’s house from the house of a coward. Your life and our lives are more important to us. You car has been destroyed and if not for God’s grace, this house have been burnt down. They may come back to complete their assignment
Igwebuike: These are the prices we have to pay for the well being of the people
Uchechi: Which people
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Igwebuike: Our people. The suffering, the oppressed and the impoverished people of this state.
Uchechi: The people you are fighting for are not interested in you. You have refused to share money like your opponents.
Igwebuike: And I will never share any money
Uchechi: And you hope to win an election
Igwebuike: Yes. My constituency have seen a little of what I would do. There is now a borehole in every village square in this town. I have provided transformers at strategic places to improve electricity. I have graded virtually all the roads and tarred some in my community. If as an individual I am able to impact on the lives of the people this way…
Uchechi: That is the problem. As long as, as individuals, they don’t get money from you forget it. I move around with the women’s wings. I feel their pulse. They are not happy with you.
Igwebuike: You are wrong. Don’t you see the tumultuous crowd at our rallies?
Uchechi: The same crowd appear at other rallies. Listen to the voice of reason. Listen to your family. Listen to your mother. Remember your friends advice (light moves to another part of the room where Igwebuike and his friend Eziokwu are discussing).
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Eziokwu: You are very obstinate. A hen in a new environment stands on one leg but you are not just on your two legs but you are fluttering all over the place. Your values are different from the values of the people you are dealing with. What matters here is money. Money speaks, money determines, money controls.
Igwebuike: I am surprised…
Eziokwu: (cuts in) When you told me about your intention, I tried to dissuade you but you refused. I have followed the campaigns, the meetings and the so called strategies closely. My verdict is that you are dealing with insensitive and heartless rogues. They kill with the gods and organize funerals with humans. Be careful. They will ruin you. It is not yet late, you can step down or step aside before the system destroys you.
Igwebuike: My friend…please allow me to conclude you are not a politician, the way we know it here. You have a good profession, and business. Go back to the States if you want to or settle here. Establish here. Join politics if you want to but you have to study the environment and decide whether to plunge head long or participate from the periphery. These men you are dealing with are mean. They will squander your money and still vote for the highest bidder and not for the most qualified.
Igwebuike: What of party loyalty.
Eziokwu: (laughs) You exhibit your ignorance. Party loyalty does not manifest on empty pocket. Their hands must be full for them to be loyal. How
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many of them are funding the party…only you. Their interest is their gains and the higher the gains the greater their loyalty.
Igwebuike: Remember that the election will not be through secret ballot but the Option A4.
Eziokwu: That is the problem but will open your eyes to reality. As long as you continue with this stance, your party members will stand behind those they collected money from. Your opponents are not as clean as you are. Before they give anyone any substantial amount of money, they will take the person to a shrine to swear that the person must vote for them, so, where does that leave you?
Igwebuike: No, no… I don’t believe that these people will do…
Eziokwu: Lets wait and see. I am trying to show you the cow but you prefer to look for its footprints. You are my friend and brother. I have done my duty. Here is my resignation letter from the party.
Igwebuike: No I can’t accept it. (Eziokwu tears it and leaves)
Uchechi: He was right. Look at you, battered, shattered and heading to bankruptcy. Check your bank balance, almost in red. I hope that you will not have a heart attack when you see the result of the election.
Light fades.
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Part Four
(At the polling booth. The crowd has gathered and people are discussing in smaller groups. The noise is like what obtains in a market. The INEC officials and other political agents, Bogudu are trying to maintain order).
Bogudu: Please listen. The campaigns ended yesterday. Anybody who campaigns here will be arrested. This is a new electoral process. As you can see, we do not have ballot boxes. You know the candidates and their parties. If any of the candidates are in this constituency, she/he will stand and his supporters, no, those who want to vote for him will stand behind him. Where the candidate is not available, one of his/her supporters will stand in front with his/her poster and those who want to vote for him/her will stand behind the supporter. I hope that this is clear (there is noise, murmuring, some affirmations, some consternations, etc)
Man: After standing behind what happens
Bogudu: Yes, I was coming to that
Another woman: Come quickly, I am on my way to the farm
Bogudu: We will count the number of people in each line. The counting will be loud enough for everybody to hear. We will record the number. Each agent will record the number, and in the end, we will announce the result in this ward. It means that immediately after the election you will know who wins in your ward. It is open. No mago mago, no wuru wuru.
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A woman: Na so. There must be wuru wuru. Politicians. Tufiakwa.
Bogudu: (calls out each party and their representatives): PPA – stand here. AAP – stand here. PAD – stand there DDP – stand there. Yes they are complete. Face the people and lift your posters. (Addresses the crowd) we will give you five minutes to identity the candidate or party of your choice. (Some people move around. Others are in clusters discussing or chatting). Okay…okay. Now stand behind your candidate (the crowd obeys and at the end of the exercise, only Uchechi stands behind her husband. Igwebuike did not turn back but as the counting begins, Bogudu starts with him). One! Two…record…PPA – two votes. He looks back and gazes for a while and slumps. (There is commotion. People run to carry him).
Light fades.
Part Five
(At home)
Eziokwu: Here are the tickets. I have booked the flight. Your son Uche has made arrangements for the hospital. You will be able to leave by 3pm tomorrow. I hope that you are set. The ambulance that will convey him to the airport is ready.
Uchechi: Thank you very much. But I have my misgivings. I don’t think that he will survive this attack. (Sobs) I warned him…we warned him.
Eziokwu: It’s alright. This is not the time for blame but for action. Let’s see what we can do to save his life.
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Uchechi: But he is still in coma. Will they allow him on board.
Eziokwu: That has been taken care of. You are going with a chartered flight and a Medical Doctor will travel with you
Uchechi: God bless you
Black out
 CONCLUSION
In the written play, we try to create a plot, characters, a conflict that builds up the play to a climax and then a resolution.
 SUMMARY
In this unit, we have tried to write a playlet.
 ASSIGNMENT
Read the playlet carefully:
• who is the protagonist
• identify the conflict
• what is Igwebuike’s tragic flaw
• identify the flashback.
• Then write your own playlet

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