Nicholas: telling the Duncan-Williams story [Review]
“Stop judging people if you don’t know their full story.”
This was the thought that kept running through my mind when I recently watched ‘Nicholas,’ a play that was conceived, scripted, narrated and enacted to tell the life story of a revered man of God in Ghana.
The truth is, Uncle Ebo Whyte and his Roverman crew do not disappoint when it comes to putting up quality plays to drum home whatever message they want. So when I watched ‘Nicholas,’ I was not surprised – rather, my respect and admiration for the crew increased.
It was crafty, revealing and engaging!
The play opens with Andrew Adote, clad in a clerical, exuding ‘man-of-God’ qualities and actually preaching in his baritone voice.
In fact, in the beginning of the play, I thought he was coming to play the role of a pastor in one scene, vanish and come back in another costume to play a different role. But he comes in after every scene to ‘preach’ in the same clerical– then it occurred to me he was the narrator.
Andrew’s narration is set on the pulpit where he preaches to his congregation about the goodness of God to him, using his personal life as a case in point. So he leads the congregation (audience) on to the scenes as they unfold.
Using the first-person narrator style, Adote is not just a story teller but the protagonist in the play. The play is about him.
The story is about a certain Nicholas who went through pain, ridicule, hardship, and heartbreak in life.
He survived D&C in his mother’s womb after his mother had attempted to abort him. His twin got successfully aborted, leaving him to survive.
Growing up, Nicholas was academically poor. He would rather go to push truck at the market when he dresses up for school. And to him, his hatred for school was as a result of his low performance. He was too old for his class that he was mockingly called ‘school papa.’
He escaped death at the hands of an executioner for ritual purposes; he had a very narrow escape from being thrown into the sea for being a stowaway on a ship.
He battled with unseen forces that left him with the loss of three fingers.
He went to College before learning how to read and write; he has gone from one failure after another, from one misfortune after another but is still standing strong and making an impact beyond the shores of his motherland.
Nicholas! is a celebration of one man’s fight for survival and significance and of God’s amazing grace. From being the least likely to succeed of his father’s 37 children, Nicholas has accomplished more than most of his generation and gives all the glory to God.
It’s all about Duncan-Williams
The ‘Nicholas’ story is actually about Archbishop Duncan-Williams, the Presiding Archbishop and General Overseer of Christian Action Faith Ministries (CAFM).
Many people have heard stories about how he lost his three fingers and his popular divorce story but may not have had the opportunity to know how and why they happened.
Watching the play, I got to know Duncan-Williams better. I have come to appreciate the challenges he went through.
In fact, the archbishop who was also present at the National Theatre to watch the play, was dumbfounded when he watched his story been expertly told on stage.
Stage plays are very difficult to produce. It really involves so much to make things seem real. Honestly, not all props or settings can be represented on stage.
So I understand when they had to resort to technology to portray certain settings on the LED Screen.
At least they were able to tell a good story with the lighting, props and technology.
Roverman’s actors are not ordinary. These are very talented individuals who are adept in not less than three performing arts disciplines – dance, music, drama.
They wowed the audience with their exquisite acting prowess.
My star actor in the cast was Andrew Adote, who played Nicholas (the man of God). He was the narrator (the Duncan Williams) around whom the story revolves. His deep voice was not his only arsenal. He was able to imitate the posture, diction, tone and inflection of the archbishop to the hilt.
In fact, he has exhibited his immaculate acting abilities through almost all the Ebo Whtye plays I have watched him feature in. His versatility is unmatched.
Great actor by all standards!
Orientation to change
Every piece of art work carries a message – a message with a particular focus on affecting an aspect of human life.
Just as I stated in my preamble, ‘Nicholas’ is not a panegyric on Duncan-Williams, but a story that admonishes people to be careful about how they judge others.
When he got divorced, he received backlash from many people including his own pastors and church members, some of whom had even worse marital problems. People broke him down. He was judged and condemned but God did not give up on him.
In fact, one’s position determines their vision; a reason it is expedient that before you condemn people, you get to know their full story and understand their actions.
‘Nicholas’ will show again at the National Theatre on 2nd & 3rd December, 2017 but after that, I’ll be glad if it is taken round the country for a lot of people to see.
It will be great inspiration to people.
By: Kwame Dadzie/citifmonline.com/Ghana