Satan: A Dark Comedy is a stage play written and directed by writer and media entrepreneur, Joy Isi Bewaji
First of all, there’s no doubt that the title of the play is about as intriguing as titles get. I wasn’t quite sure of what to expect when I saw the promotional materials on social media, because, frankly, dark comedies aren’t exactly commonly explored in these parts.
Was it going to delve into the numerous vices cum evil the fallen angel is widely believed to engineer in our world? Would it downplay these perceived villainous activities and question such beliefs? I was soon to find out.
I looked forward to seeing Satan, not just because stage plays are still somewhat a rarity and come across as far more believable than film acting, but also due to the fact that my appetite had been sufficiently whetted in the build-up to its showing; thanks to the marketing efforts of its producers.
Finally, D-day came and I was not only there bright and early, I also took a friend along.
Satan—A Dark Comedy kicked off with a sonorous rendition of Leonard Cohen’s classic Hallelujah and from then on, it was an exposition of nuances, salient and hidden messages, fitting theatrics and applause-worthy performances.
Satan was a potpourri of acting, music, comedy and dance; elements that are certain to appeal to an eclectic audience of art lovers. The central theme addressing the often naïve and lazy manner in which the average person cedes power and issues that border on good old common sense to the personality called Satan could not be missed.
The apt portrayal of shades of lust, greed, and jealousy humans fall prey to on a daily and our penchant for chalking every misdemeanour or outright crime to the wiles of the convenient fall guy—the devil, drew nods, interjectory laughs, and comments of acknowledgement from the audience.
I loved that the actors brought each character to life without any tinge of over-acting. I particularly loved the lead character, Satan played by Austin Onuoha and the adulterous husband, brought to life by Friday Francis. They nailed their roles in spectacular fashion and I would hardly be surprised to see them in more high profile stage productions in the near future.
It’s hard to pick out areas where Satan left a little more to be desired. However, it would have been nice to catch a glimpse of the much talked about Uju, who had her friend’s husband “risking it all” for a piece of her. I imagined her to be some voluptuous temptress but never got the chance to confirm this.
Also, the desperate promotion seeker who fell for Satan’s wiles and ended up in jail for poisoning her colleagues could have been more convincing if one saw her actually shed a tear or two as opposed to simulating the act of crying (which she did well, by the way); but that’s just me nitpicking.
Nevertheless, from the husband who couldn’t keep his raging hormones in check to the overly subservient wife who would rather blame her friend and the devil for her philandering husband’s misadventures to the worker whose unbridled envy culminated in her downfall, Satan leaves us with copious lessons.
It admonishes that we take more responsibility for our actions and quit the tiring rhetoric of “the devil made me do it”, without being preachy. After all, a lowly waiter was tested time and again and came out unscathed.
In all, Satan delivered on its hype and promise. The cast did justice to their roles; an evidence of the countless rehearsals that must have gone into the preparations.
It’s one thing to have a well-written story, it’s another to bring it to life with convincing acting.
Satan delivered on both fronts.