Opinions Wed, 21 Jun 2017

Why couples can’t discuss Ebo Whyte’s Damaged Goods comfortably

A good marriage, they say, is like a forest. A forest is often uniformly thicker and greener when viewed from afar. When one gets closer or into the forest, however, one is likely to be faced with the reality. The illusion of the perfect lushness of the forest will give way to sights of sparse areas, bare lands, dead branches and trees, giant trees and stunted ones. Such are the seemingly perfect marriages that everyone looks up to. They are only perfect from afar.

So when the popular TV show host got to the home of Rev. Arkurst and his wife, the intention was to celebrate their marriage. Her introduction showed that the whole nation wanted to hear about the mystery surrounding their perfect marriage. Theirs was the ideal kind of marriage, one which others ought to copy and paste in their own marriages.

But while the production crew was getting ready for the big interview, the DNA results of the three children of the couple reached Rev. Arkurst, and to his surprise, none of them is his. And not two of the children had the same DNA. To confess or not to confess? To break up or to stay? And who is really the damaged goods?

The answers are found in James Ebo Whyte’s latest play, “Damaged Goods”. The story resembles a real life situation that made headline in Ghana recently. But far from what almost every member of its audience would do or expect, the play takes a dramatic turn. The outcome challenges the mind, but calms the heart. It pitches the heart and the mind against each other in a perpetual conflict, with the heart agreeing with the story line and the mind saying, “I cannot take this, no matter what!”

Veteran actor and Lecturer at the University of Education, Winneba, Dr. Brew Riverson, said at the rehearsal last Sunday that “Damaged Goods” was one of the few plays that moved him to the point of tears. Though emotional, the play is punctuated by a heavy dose of James Ebo Whyte’s witty sense of humour.

Uncle Ebo Whyte’s plays do not fail to take advantage of the trending issues to give their audience rib-hurting laugh. Before curtain bow, the cast will treat audience to an exhilarating version of the Ladder Challenge.

“Damaged Goods” is sure to entertain. But it also carries one of the deepest lessons of successful marriages and personal and corporate relationships. It is a play that tells how each of us may have contributed in building the devil we see in our partners.

Each time I go to see an Ebo Whyte play with my wife, we spend a greater part of our journey back home discussing the content and the lessons, agreeing and disagreeing either with the plot or our own varied opinions. Unfortunately, however, it will be difficult this time around.

No couple would discuss this play without putting themselves in the shoes of Rev. Arkurst and asking for each other’s opinion. If my wife asks me what I would do in Rev. Arkurst’s situation, I will be frank and tell her the pleasant truth. And I believe she would say the same thing. And the rest of our journey may be embarked on in silence, each one lost in uncomfortable thoughts as we try in vain to find answers to the question, “Does s/he really love me?”

Damaged Goods premieres today (Wednesday, June 21, 2017) and will show at the National Threatre on June 24 & 25 and July 1&2. Tickets on sale at the front desk of Joy FM, Koala, Tema Community 11 Shell.
Columnist: Manasseh Azure Awuni