Just before the Easter holidays, ‘High’, a contemporary play that revolved around the adverse effects of substance abuse on two successful middle-class Nigerian families, enjoyed star billing at the Shell Hall in MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos. The play was supported by the MTN Foundation, in furtherance of its campaign against substance abuse in Nigeria.
It was a crowd puller that delighted the many families that attended. We took some shots of them and then we got inspired to try something a little light-hearted with our photos and tell some stories. We present to you the five types of families we met at the four showings of the play.
‘My family means so much to me’
If you are in a family where the parents make an earnest effort to spend time together and answer the many questions of the kids, you don’t know how blessed you are!
We saw a lot of families like this at ‘High’ and they all testified about how entertaining and educative it was. What a great way to spend a weekend!
‘The ‘Weekend’ Is Here ’
With so much to do day-to-day, it is very easy to lose track of what day we are in, but when we meet people like these, we are definitely sure that it’s the weekend. (Lol)
Well, we didn’t confirm if he can sing, but with that look though we are almost certain.
Throughout the play, he sat with his friends with an almost bored expression but the way he watched the play with such intensity, we were certain his ‘family member’ was among the cast of ‘High.’
Turned out we were correct! 🤐
May we have friends who turn up for us. 🙏🏽
‘The guilt-trip-my-child-to-do-my-bidding family’
The Johnson family in ‘High’ comprised of a single mom, Mrs Johnson and her brilliant ‘efiko’ daughter Lami. Recently deceased, Mr Johnson was promised by his wife at his death bed that she would make sure their daughter received the best education and towed the fast track to a life of achievement and success.
Throughout the play, Mrs Johnson capitalised on this promise to emotionally blackmail her daughter into studying and doing all her wishes. We see her constantly reminding Lami to “Remember what I promised your father…” (eyes roll). The pressure was so much that we imagined what we would say (or better, do) if we were in Lami’s shoes.
“Yeah Mum, Daddy would not be disappointed, in fact, he’s doing just fine where he is right now.”
P.S. – This is just a thought experiment. We highly advise that you not talk back at your parents!
‘The not-new-to-disappointment/I hate responsibilities family’
In the play, the Kanu family – single mother Mrs Dame Kanu and her son Cyprian (who for some weird reason, likes to be addressed as ‘Ryan’ because Cyprian is a name of people with great history and he feels the pressure of having to live in such illustrious shadows) – could be described simply in one term – disappointment.
Ryan was so used to failing that when asked why he did not even try to put in any effort by Lami Johnson, he said it was “so that nobody can ever be disappointed in me.”
It is not bad to be nice and turn a blind eye every now and then, but it is terrible when you always do so, especially when raising your kids. Mrs Kanu was so permissive with her son Ryan, she gave him all he wanted and more, including buying drugs for him, even when he was abroad.
She only realised and decided to take action when it was too late, and her son had committed manslaughter – giving Lami an overdose of the pills she bought for him.
‘The Perfect-in-the-eye-of-society family’
The Balogun family in ‘High’ – father, mother and two teenage kids, Ronke and Kayode – were considered exemplary in the neighbourhood. But beneath the surface, Mr Balogun is a dictator who reminded us constantly that “excellence, temperance and industriousness is the motto of the Balogun’s family.” The children are polite, intelligent and timid. On one occasion, he voices his disappointment at his son getting a grade ‘C’ in Chemistry.
When Kayode is eventually sent to rehab after an accidental codeine overdose, his father tells everyone that asks after him; “Kayode has gone to Ibadan to spend some time with his cousins”, and to his family, he warns; “I forbid you from mentioning this to anybody!”
At some point, Ronke calls out the hypocrisy but her mom reprimands her, saying; “Your father is right, it is for the good of the family.” Ronke implores her mother to “please, for once say something.” Mr Balogun is not moved by Ronke’s threats to run away. When she eventually does leave, he commands Mrs Balogun not to cry because; “I’d rather not have children than have reckless ones!”
So much stress just to keep up appearances.
For more information about substance abuse in Nigeria and what the MTN Foundation is doing about it, please visit www.asapmtnf.com for more information.
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