An Excerpt from My Play – Kings and Thrones

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Here is a excerpt from my published play Kings and Thrones (2007). I hope you enjoy reading it. Reach me @ chumaokoye@gmail.com

XV

Adesewa is sewing patterns into a handkerchief when she hears a soft knock on the door.

Adesewa: Who is there? (There is no answer and she drops the sewing to answer the door) Ha! Kabiyesi, what are you doing here? You cannot come here.

King Elegbede: I need to speak to you where I will not be disturbed and cannot be overheard.

Adesewa: I will come to your chambers.

King Elegbede: I have come to yours. Please let me in and shut the door.

Adesewa: Kabiyesi, this is against your calling.

King Elegbede: When did the custom of ancestor begin to mean something to you? Sit down I need to talk to you.

Adesewa: (Sitting on a stool) Kabiyesi, I am listening.

King Elegbede: Today, I again heard a recital of the names of all the ancestors before me that the court poets could remember. The only thing that stayed on my mind as they recited is that all of them were dead. I suddenly wanted to know where they are. I suddenly wanted to know where eternity is and what would happen to me after I am gone.

Adesewa: Kabiyesi, why would you choose me to speak on something like this?

King Elegbede: You are the only one that thinks independent of the communal thought. Everyone believes the same thing but have no reasons to believe what they believe.

Adesewa: Are you afraid of death?

King Elegbede: I will be if I do not know where I would go after the breath is gone from me.

Adesewa: You always said you would join your ancestors.

King Elegbede: You do not believe in them.

Adesewa: That does not mean they do not exist.

King Elegbede: Why do you despise them so much?

Adesewa: They never lift a hand to help those who need them. They just watch things get wrong and do nothing to help. Then they ask for sacrifices. I would rather they took the sacrifices and saved us the trouble.

King Elegbede: But they answer us when we call them through the priests.

Adesewa: They give us answers we only unravel after the danger has befallen us. What comfort is that?

King Elegbede: So what happens after I am dead?

Adesewa: I can tell you that life would go on and people would forget and someone else would step up. The court poets would include your name in the list of the silent ones. That is all there is to it.

King Elegbede: There should be more.

Adesewa: More? You will get a share of every sacrifice made to the ancestors. But you will be patient being the last arrival. Your rations would be a little less that what you get here as king. So eat well now.

King Elegbede: Adesewa tell me what you know.

Adesewa: Kabiyesi, true, I do not know. It is as frustrating for me as it is for you.

King Elegbede: Tell me even that frustration, it just might help.

Adesewa: Tell me, did you miss your father when he died.

King Elegbede: No. There was more concern about who succeeded him.

Adesewa: When you were chosen did your feelings change?

King Elegbede: No. A new world of excitement was opening. I could not wait to explore it.

Adesewa: I think you understand how it works.

King Elegbede: Would not either of my sons miss me?

Adesewa: Kabiyesi, they do not even know you.

King Elegbede: They know me.

Adesewa: No, they can recognize you but they do not know you. Do you spend any time with them?

King Elegbede: It is not as bad as you make it, and I have to be king.

Adesewa: How old is my son Adedamola?

King Elegbede: Now he is your son?

Adesewa: Our son, if it makes you comfortable. How old is he?

King Elegbede: He was eleven last harvest, was he not?

Adesewa: Fourteen, Kabiyesi, fourteen!

King Elegbede: Fourteen?

Adesewa: The matters of state are more important to you. To you they exist. To your sons, you exist. There is nothing more to it.

King Elegbede: So if I died today it would mean nothing to them.

Adesewa: It would mean a lot if they are interested in the throne you would leave them.

King Elegbede: Is there a reason Adedamola would not want to be king?

Adesewa: If it falls within my power he would not even desire it. He wants to pursue knowledge beyond the shores of your kingdom and be something more than a prisoner of tradition and culture.

King Elegbede: The kingship falls to Akanbi. Would he also spurn it?

Adesewa: That would be entirely up to him and his mother. But I have yet to see a young man who loves his freedom more.

King Elegbede: Adesewa, is this your doing?

Adesewa: Why would I take your sons from you?

King Elegbede: Perhaps because Adedamola is not my heir?

Adesewa: On the contrary, it did me much good. I had time to seek answers to the big questions that only begin to occur to you now. I began to enjoy life and sacrifice it for others and I found peace and joy.

King Elegbede: You are not afraid to die?

Adesewa: No one makes that journey willingly. But when I do, there would be no nostalgia. I would be prepared. I have found the essence of life and now I know I will never die.

King Elegbede: But you will eventually die.

Adesewa: Yes, but I will live on in the hearts of those who have experienced me. It is different from living in the dead recitals of the court bards.

King Elegbede: The paths of my life have been chosen for me.

Adesewa: Very well. Go sit on your jaded throne and wait to die. Mine was equally chosen. I took it back and re-chose my path.

King Elegbede: I do not wish to just pass.

Adesewa: Then live.

King Elegbede: Leave the throne?

Adesewa: Live your life. Do something you have always wanted to do while you still have the opportunity.

King Elegbede: The cost is too high.

Adesewa: I paid mine and you will never hear me complain. I gave up what many would die to have but I have no remorse.

King Elegbede: Adesewa you ask too much.

Adesewa: Kabiyesi, I ask nothing. I only told you how I found peace. I ask nothing of you.

The king stands as if in a trance and heads shakily for the door.

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1 Comment

  1. Adesanya Ololade Yinka said,

    The articles is all about a king called Elegbede that is uncertain about the future. He inquires from his wife, Adesewa whar will happen after his death. She feels reluctant to the king’s inquiries. At the long run, after much persuasion, she tells the king that he is going to join his ancestors and sacrifices will be offer to him.

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