The Night The Clock Stopped Ticking

The auditorium was jam-packed. The air was light and the mood was utterly gay with laughter rippling across the tiers. With most people returning from the Easter festivities, Anticlockwise was a perfect play to wind down, have a hearty laugh, relax and reflect on where your life was going; clockwise or anticlockwise.

NIi Commey and Novelty Initiative took the National Theatre hostage on the 20th of April 2014 and for two straight hours (per show) subjecting the attendance to a night of uncontrollable laughter and some really deep food for thought. It felt like the clock had stopped ticking. The play, Anticlockwise written and directed byNii Commey (of Romantic Nonsense and Je m’appelle Romance fame), set in present day Accra, a city in Ghana, tells the story of a family struggling to make ends meet while still holding on to their highest aspirations. Oopana, head of the house, a college graduate and ex-banker turned poultry farmer appears to be working really hard but can’t seem add two and two to feed his family. His daughter, Naa Torshie is walking out of her third marriage in four years and blames all her marital misfortune on black men, or rather the black race. She swears to change her complexion in order to alter her fortunes. His son Tettey, however daydreams playing for Chelsea, and fancies himself being hailed as “Tettey Drobga”, after the famous Ivorian striker Didier Drogba. Tettey is also in love with  Abiba who is out of his league, literally. To add salt to injury, Abiba is also betrothed to Alhaji Babangida, a rich tycoon and old enough to be her father. Can they fight the odds and triumph? When success finally smiles on them with Tettey’s breakthrough into the Chelsea team and subsequent enlistment into the Back Stars, joy finally comes home and neighbours find reason to visit their house again.

Anticlockwise explores, among other themes, the basic issue of finding one’s essence in life and throwing all you have at it till it becomes a reality. In short, until you are fed up with your situation and choose to do the “ridiculous”  you can never get the “miraculous”. In Tettey’s case, he sold anything he could lay his hands on and invested the returns in securing his VISA.  The question is, “What are you willing to risk for what is most dear to your heart?” Blaming others like Naa Torshie will only make matters worse. Doing the ordinary things like Oopana will only maintain the status quo at best. But for a breakthrough, you need to do more. you need to believe, You need to persevere. You need to pay the painful price. That is the way to stop the anticlockwise motion of your life.

With a bountiful injection of subtle political satire, witty repartee, double entendre and plain street jokes the audience not only had a heart laugh but easily connected to the play and with the characters. The set was rather moderate, aptly depicting the social and economic status of the Oopnana family. In spite of few glitches from sound and miscues from the lighting crew, it was a perfect comedy for the family.  Applause was spontaneous and the cheers filled the room when the curtains finally came down. If you missed it, hope to catch it when it hits Kumasi later this year.

Have you ever felt like your life was going anticlockwise? What did you do to turn it round? Share. Did you see the play? What do you think? What jumped at you in the midst of all the laughter and the tears? Share a thought or ask the director a question.

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