There’s a sobering scene from Uncle Ebo Whyte’s play, “Rejected,” that has stuck with me since I went to see it. It is one of utmost defeat: Comfort (played by Viva Aderko) lies still on the floor of her kitchen, in the arms of drunken lawyer friend Sammy (Andrew Akote). She wears a black skirt extending slightly beyond her knees; her pink sleeveless blouse is damp from her frantic movements earlier. He’s cradling here, singing her a song – Sammy, trying to keep her present, but can hardly sustain a clean note through his own sobs.

Sammy is dressed for a wedding; he rocks a sharp black tuxedo with a stylish bowtie and pocket square. He had just missed the punishing encounter Comfort had been put through uncovering what unbelievable ambush her husband, with the help of a mother just as greedy as himself (Crystal Aryee), and his brother (Andrew Bulley Jnr.), had orchestrated. Right there in her own house, she had been hit with spectacular evidence of her husband’s infidelity and wickedness.

What Comfort had just encountered is unbearable for any woman, more so a woman with her benevolent heart. After presenting this conundrum to her many emotions, she resorts to the one trusted solution: suicide.

When moments earlier, Sammy  had noticed the glass on a table nearby, he instantly knew what had happened, for he had unintentionally divulged to her the initial clues to this grand deception in the opening scene –the bosom of a drunkard is never safe ground for secrets. And so, he had called the ambulance service right away. But it is clear from the numerous unreliable landmarks typical with giving someone directions in Ghana (a big gutter, a food joint, etc), and how often he casts nervous glances at his watch, that he fears they might not make it in time.

The entire play takes place in one scene: the residence of the Thompsons, and it is clear the amount of detailed effort that went into its design. And it’s as much in the big elements as it is in such minute ones as lovely pictures and convincing wallpaper installed for this production.

The play was preceded by the launch of the sequel to Uncle Ebo’s widely received debut novel The Deal at 6 pm, and even as we counted down to the unveiling of The Perfect Couple (and then the play), it was clear how much we all have been so endeared to the celebrated author and playwright, and also, how much we have come to rely on him for periodic doses of humor and relationship gems.

Uncle Ebo painstakingly curates an experience at his shows every single time. Right from when you go through the doors to when the curtains fall, you are teleported to somewhere strange…pleasantly so, I must stress. I can testify because I have encountered it for myself. The reception you receive right at the entrance, sets you in the appropriate mental space for what he intends in his play. There’s a certain quality about the Uncle Ebo experience: from security, to ushering, to the flavorsome home-made snacks and cocktails, to technical detail.

Music is integral to Uncle Ebo’s plays, and like is the case for his American counterpart Tyler Perry for instance; the cast isn’t just as superb rendering their various characters, but sing decently too. It is not limited to what happens on stage, I assure you. And as someone who holds a dedication to music because of the nature of my job, I found the music just right. As I settled down in the company of my friends and model couple Nii and Eunice in aisle seats somewhere in the middle of the auditorium, we were serenaded with top-notch instrumentation from a local jazz band. Their performance created an entrancing air of relaxation that I’ll simply not forget.

Rejected, like all other Uncle Ebo plays, overflows with intense emotion – quite a variety too. At every single point in the play, you’re feeling something powerful. It is a comedy, and so is interspersed with copious placements of premium humor.  The play thrives on the roars of laughter across the auditorium. There’s a quote credited to American comedian Bill Cosby: when you’re able to make people laugh, you have their attention. The play navigates love, loyalty, taking responsibility for your actions, betrayal, greed, redemption –topics that will get you pensive within seconds as I found myself undergoing at various points during the play. It is arduous to articulate such strong themes, and effectively too. It is why you require a robust vehicle. The way uncle Ebo utilizes this vehicle of humor is simply unparalleled –through enthralling unpretentious dialogue, costuming and gesticulation. And while all six cast members did a truly stellar job, Crystal Aryee is my star. Also she’s one reason the “stereotype” of the Ga woman being no-nonsense isn’t going away anytime soon.

Everybody present; from seasoned broadcaster Oheneyere Gifty Anti to founder and boss of UT Bank, Prince Kofi Amoabeng, had something special to say about Uncle Ebo –the dominant themes being his sterling work ethic and startling creativity.

Rejected is Uncle Ebo’s 32nd consecutive quarterly production since first hitting the stages with his 2008 family-oriented live theatre piece Unhappy Wives, Confused Husbands. Since then, his Roverman Productions has grown to become a major player in the theatre space in the country, performing to over 38,000 patrons a year across the breadth of the country.

One final point about Rejected: the look in Sammy’s eyes that Thursday night in the National Theatre as he sways in grief and doubt, nevertheless willing dear Comfort to life, together with what happens in the rest of the brilliant play, proves this: sometimes, the very thing you’ve been looking for is right under your nose.

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