play……will be showing this weekend in Lagos(see poster above for additional details). Titled Broken Walls, it deals with the issue of mental illness which people in ‘civilized’ society try to sweep under the rug as non-existent often to the detriment of the health of the individual (usually a family member) who is directly affected. A couple of months ago, laspapi wrote on his blog
a deeply moving account of his experience with a friend who battled with this illness.
Mental illness affects not just the person who is regarded as mentally ill but also family and friends of the individual who are either embarassed or not empowered enough to deal with the situation which they are faced with.
I once had a laugh when I saw a sign in a university library just behind the desk of the Head Librarian which read –
Every one has their five minutes of craziness, please bear with me if at the time I am attending to you I am going through mine
The seriousness of the words of that sign is brought home in a conversation that I had with a friend who at the time was going to a series of difficult life-changing set-backs and explained her situation by saying that at times in life you are faced with circumstances which put you on a thin line between wéré alasho and wéré onihoho* This is another allusion to the fact that we are all possibly mad in some way and it is just a question of time and chance before our madness manifests itself. In any case, craziness, madness, dementia, whatever it is, those are just words…we should not lose sight of the fact that at the end of the day we are all human and need to be treated as such…it could happen to anyone
A special thanks to laspapi for shining the spotlight on an issue which many people would prefer to overlook…I only wish I could make it for the play, but then again there is an open invitation for laspapi to stage his plays stateside and I just added Broken Walls to the list of plays I’d like to see
* Mentally challenged people are often seen roaming the streets either scantily clad or in the nude…wéré alasho – is a sarcastic term denoting someone who is clothed but acting out of sorts, wéré onihoho means the former – scantiliy clad and acting out of sorts