Renowned playwright Uncle Ebo Whyte has an unquestionable reputation for ‘breaking’ taboos and being a daredevil who demonstrates an uncanny ability to satirise the most difficult subjects of our society.
For years now, he has dazzled theatre enthusiasts with world-class plays which undoubtedly continue to leave indelible marks on the minds and hearts of the hundreds who fill the National Theatre each time his quarterly plays are staged.
Sins of the Fathers, Life is Some Way, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, The Day Dad Came, and Unhappy Wives, Confused Husbands, are but a few of his iconic productions.
His latest work, Trials of the Ghanaian captures the life and attempts of Ghana’s satirist Kwaku Sintim-Misa (KSM) who came to Ghana as a returnee after studying and working in the USA hoping to change some attitude of Ghanaians.
The play, in a beautifully woven language, laced with exceptional comedy exemplified the negative but pervasive attitude of the average Ghanaian – the kind of attitude you exhibit and counter on a daily basis.
Just like KSM, Uncle Ebo disclosed in an interview with Myjoyonline.com that he is nursing the idea of doing a play about the life and exploits of former President Jerry John Rawlings.
“I would wish I could do a play on former President J.J Rawlings,” he disclosed confidently adding, the ex-President, “is one of the most interesting characters that Ghana has ever seen, not just interesting, significant personality that Ghana has been blessed with.”
While this is achievable, the Food for Thought presenter on Joy 99.7FM noted that, unlike KSM who is a close friend of his, “a lot of times, a lot of Ghanaians are not too comfortable with you doing their story so it is difficult.”
But JJ Rawlings is not Uncle Ebo Whyte’s only target for a masterpiece of a play.
He has also set his sights on doing plays on renowned personalities such as Arch Bishop Duncan Williams, Dr Mensah Otabil, Michael Essien, Abedi Pele and Multimedia Group Limited (MGL) CEO Kwasi Twum but was quick to say “I am sure Kwasi Twun won’t give me permission [to do it].”
With “Somebody like Azumah Nelson,” he stressed, “it will be a shame for us to allow that man to go and nobody will do a tribute to him.”
The Roverman Productions CEO however observed that “It is easy to rattle these names but these are not people I have contact with and I am not too sure how they will take it because I wouldn’t want anyone whose story I am doing to dictate to me how I should do it. The person should trust my integrity and give me the chance to do it in a way that I think will do justice to him and also be fair to everyone.”
While Mr Rawlings has not watched any of his plays, his wife Nana Kionadu Agyemang Rawlings, he said, has and he is hopeful that the wife will be the channel to reach the former First Gentleman for the play.
Touching on Trials of the Ghanaian, Uncle Ebo revealed that it was a difficult play to produce explaining that he “was basing it on a real life character, a personality who is alive, a personality who is popular … so we had to get the essence of his character right. At the same time I didn’t also want it to be biographical; I wanted to keep it a fictional thing.”
And he was caught up in a web of directing “the play in such a way that the laughter of the people will not stop us from continuing.”
Trials of the Ghanaian takes stage again at the National Theatre on Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10. The play will show twice on each day.
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