ACT vi, SCENE ii UDO: Before Paa Chukwuma is where me, Nchelem, Maya and Oman sing and dance to different tones. Eri ano teh o We are dancing o MAIDENS: (Dancing and responding.) Iya! UDO:(Dancing
ACT vi, SCENE ii
UDO: Before Paa Chukwuma is where me, Nchelem, Maya and Oman sing and dance to different tones. Eri ano teh o We are dancing o
MAIDENS: (Dancing and responding.) Iya!
UDO:(Dancing and leading the song.) Eri ano teh o We are dancing o
UDO: Eri eri eri Dance dance dance
CHUKWUMA:(Cheering.) Heeeeih! I thank the gods for keeping me alive to witness a dance like this.
(The maidens finish and kneel before him one after the other while he caresses their backs with his bedecked horse tail of honour.)
UDO: Thank you Paa, he who holds wealth for letting us dance for you.
CHUKWUMA: My goddess, you are a good child. Your hut shall be made of cowries.
NCHELEM:(Sweetly.) And me Paa? I deserve cowries too.
CHUKWUMA: You too my daughter.
NCHELEM: Yes I do, if you watch well, I even dance more than all of them. I’m such a good dancer. In our clan, I dance more than all the maidens even Udo.
(The maidens shoot all their eyes at her.)
UDO:(Politely.) Our gods bless you Paa Chukwuma. We will leave now.
CHUKWUMA: Go well ooh? Ehem…call me Anochie.
NCHELEM:(Interrupting.) Paa if it is your will may I also come any time to sing and dance for you.
CHUKWUMA: It is not a problem my daughter.
NCHELEM:(With so much smile.) Thank you Paa, meka, meka, meka. Thank you.
(Maya drags her out of Chukwuma’s presence. Udo walks ahead of them in sheer annoyance.)
ACT vi, SCENE iii
UDO: Under the big tree, Anochie and Dinma wait my return alongside the maidens. Dinma! Dinma! You see…. Nchelem was never any good.
DINMA: What is that? What happened?
UDO: Anochie your father calls you.
ANOCHIE: Udo are you well? Your face is heavy, is it because Ikendah is not here?
UDO:(Forcing out a smile.) I am very well, go and answer your father.
IKENDAH:(Embracing Dinma.) My own, Nkem o. I shall miss you.
DINMA: I am feeling your absence already.
UDO: Go quickly, ah ! Love nwa nti nti. Too much love.
ANOCHIE: We accept.
UDO: Love kill the both of you.
DINMA: Iyaaaah! We accept.
UDO: Shut up, goat.
(Ikendah leaves as the other maidens return to the tree.)
DINMA:(To Nchelem.) Nchelem! Nchelem, okoko, parrot of the hills and the caves. What have you said before Paa Chukwuma.
NCHELEM: Eh! eh! eh! eh! Do not bark at me again. I dance more than every maiden in Ochara and this village and you know that.
MAYA: Who castrated your senses Nchelem? Who can you dance more than? You won’t ever rest.
UDO: She is always the same.
NCHELEM: Yes! Let me be. Your mouth is wide as that of a pot and I will show you that mine is as long as that of a kettle. This is the time when Paa Chukwuma will have two goddesses.
MAIDENS:(In unison.) Whaaat?
NCHELEM: You will see!
(She walks away proudly. Maya and Omam run after her.)
DINMA:(To Udo.) I am sorry ooh? I should not have…
UDO: It is not a problem.
ACT vi, SCENE iv
UDO: Zenu returns from his spell again, he sits with me under a tree. We have to always hide inside a bush you know that.
UDO: Because you are a drunkard. It is as if you are cursed. And I am Paa Chukwuma’s goddess and also a maiden that is not married.
ZENU: I hear but when are your husband people coming?
UDO: I do not know. A husband? My husband? (Starring into him.)
ZENU: I have seen you before.
ZENU: We were sitting in a farm.
UDO: Yes! That is good. You now remember.
ZENU: You are indeed a goddess. My mother told me that she used to be a goddess for a wealthy Chief in your own village before she married my father.
UDO: That is good.
ZENU: Come to my home with me.
UDO: No! People should not see us together. You are a drunk, they will wonder why you are well.
ZENU:(Blinking down tears.) I wonder more than them Udo. I am not a drunkard. If I have been cursed by that, then my mother should be suffering. Please come and see her with me.
ZENU: I do not know?
ACT vi, SCENE v
UDO: Zenu’s mother throws the half peeled cocoyam in her hands away as she sees her son and I sneaking into a hut. Quiet, looks like she has seen us.
ZENU: I wanted to go to her myself.
UDO:(Peeping from the hut.) She is coming, she is running….
(Mankor is already inside the hut, panting and generating awareness.)
MANKOR: Zenu! Zenu!
ZENU: Mama, it is me.
MANKOR: Are you now defiling our maidens?
ZENU: No! Ah! Mama.
MANKOR: Wait! Where is your palm wine?
UDO: Mama Zenu, I greet you! Your son does not believe that he has been a drunkard for too long.
ZENU: Mama is that true?
MAKOR:(Holding and inspecting her son pitifully.) Ah Zenu. Zenu nkem. (Suddenly screams.) Obodo come o, people come and see.
ZENU:(Obstructing her mouth with his palm.) Mama do not shout, don’t shout. This maiden is sent by the gods.
( Nzube and Ezinwa her sisters rush into the hut with their friend Mininma.)
NZUBE: Mama! Mama!
EZINWA: Mama what is wrong? We heard you scream. Ah Zenu, drunk son of a drunk father.
UDO: Do not call him that anymore.
MININMA: I know you maiden. I have seen you.
UDO: Yes! You are not mistaken.
ZENU: Mininma is the friend of my sisters, how did you two meet?
(Nzube and Ezinwa embrace their brother cheerfully.)
MANKOR: Where is your father? Did he not hear me scream?
NZUBE: Mama he has staggered out again. Our everlasting drunk father.
ZENU: Papa is still lost to palm wine?
EZINWA: Yes o! Zenu your own was even the worst. You were always drunk from morning till night, even while you are sleeping. You even drink in your dreams, on top of trees, inside shrines. Eziokwu! True!
MANKOR: This child, close your mouth a little! Hah!
(Udo tells her story to the small crown behind the hut as they sit on low stools.)
MANKOR: We have appeased his chi so many times but nothing changed. Thank you my daughter.
EZINWA: Please Udo, let us tie you together with my brother.
NZUBE: Shut up! He is Paa Chukwuma’s goddess from Ochara.
MININMA: Now we know.
MANKOR: What kind of evil has cursed my son oh gods of our land. Eli come and finish this fight for me. Finish this fight for me o. Eh my daughter, so you say each time he sees you he becomes Zenu again, my only son who took after my father, my pride in this kindred. Heeei! Whatever is doing my son should come and do me o.
UDO: Let us take away the keg from him.
MANKOR: He dies instantly. We have done it before.
ACT vi, SCENE vi
UDO: Ikendah awaits me under the big tree. I hurry to him after spending enough time with Zenu’s household. You are here? I am very sorry Ike.
IKENDAH: I am here? Where are you coming from?
UDO: Eeeer. Nowhere, I mean I am coming from the village. I have a new friend.
IKENDAH: A new friend?
UDO: Yes, a very good friend. Mininma.
IKENDAH: Mininma? Nzube’s friend near the playground?
UDO: I wouldn’t know. I was talking with her…singing and talking…just talking.
IKENDAH: Oh! How was it?
UDO: It went well, she is so fond of me now.
IKENDAH: Not more than I am.
UDO: That is good.
IKENDAH: I am going to check my traps. Join me into the forest.
ACT vi, SCENE vii
UDO: I sit alone behind a hut breaking through my mind. Zenu, drunk son of a drunk father. Hmmm! A noble looking kinsman. Why do you now live in my head? Why do I need to come to you? He sees me and stops, why? Why is he cursed? What is happening? Gods of our land. Gods of my ancestors Odenigbo, the great warrior. Eli why is such a kinsman wasting on palm wine? Zenu, who is doing this to you? Rebuke that curse. Cut down that evil spirit with your matchet now! Zenu I pray you.
ACT vii, SCENE i
UDO: Anochie is walking to the big tree. He is going to meet Dinma, that I know. I follow him closely till I see Dinma waiting. Anochie I’m with you.
ANOCHIE:(Turning to her.)Ah! How did you appear here now?
UDO: I was only passing. My friend is already waiting for you. Let us see her.
ANOCHIE: That is not a problem.
(They walk few steps to the tree.)
DINMA: Udo, Ndaah?
UDO: I am well, you now visit Anochie more than you visit me.
UDO: Dinma please I will go back soon. Please help me send words to my mother. Tell her that I will not come back to Ochara for the New Yam Festival.
ANOCHIE: Oho! That is good.
DINMA: Eh? Why?
UDO: Well tell her that I am helping Paa Chukwuma to eat up his old yams fast before the festival.
UDO: Yes! Tell her that. I am leaving, Ikendah is waiting.
ANOCHIE: Those two.
DINMA: I shall come and see you before I leave.