Deputy Superintendent of Police Salami
(Stage opens on the Dressing Area, marked out by mats and wooden frames, etc, of an evidently ambulant and somewhat amateurish theatre company. A bench. Tables and stools, and possibly a table with a long mirror. Lockers. A flurry of activity: actors making up, trying costumes, reading script, rehearsing gestures, miming some of the later actions in the play. Enter the DIRECTOR, rubbing his hands.)
Director Hurry up. Hurry up. Play opens in five minutes.
An Actor Fair house today?
Director Fair. Better than in the last town we stopped.
Another Actor And no signs of trouble?
Director No signs yet. But don't worry.
Another Actor That's what you said yesterday. Yet we were almost lynched.
Director This time I've sent for the police.
Another Actor The police! Is that a joke?
Director Please hurry up. We're doing nothing illegal. We can seek police protection as much as anybody.
Another Actor I hope you're right. Yesterday was hell.
Director There'll be no disturbance tonight. (He watches them for a while, then steps out of place, and approaches the audience.) Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. We will soon be starting. But while the actors prepare, I will try and give you a rapid summary of our play tonight. The play, as you will soon see, starts in the year 1969, the month of September. That year, if you remember, the civil war was raging in the east of our country, but this play has nothing to do with that. It deals with another war, the one that was later to be popularly known as the Agbekoya uprising, in which ordinary farmers, in the west of the country, rose up and confronted the state. Maybe you remember? Illiterate farmers, whom we had all along thought to be docile, peace-loving, if not even stupid, suddenly took to arms and began to fight against the government! Two, three, four … seven months! And the war was still hot and bitter.