Imagine ‘wahala’ imagine ‘trouble’! The Miller’s Tale: ‘Wahala Dey O!’ is a medieval parody of egoism, lust, revenge, betrayal and love, adapted into modern-day Nigerian world. Although the story is over six hundred years, is notable for it’s contemporary resonance. The play is in three parts:
Part 1 (Prologues. Private lounge in a hotel in Nigeria): Focuses on a group of Nigerian Christian men and women going on a retreat to a sacred place to pray, who tell each other stories for entertainment during the journey. Determined to tell their individual tales at any cost is a perfect recipe for ‘wahala’ and lots of laughter.
Part 2 (The Tale. Ibadan in Carpenter’s hometown): Told by the Miller, charts the descent of a wealthy elderly carpenter (John Bull), a man plagued by jealousy and superstition. His busy household includes, two gossipy servants (Julie/Rabiu), and an unfaithful savvy teenage wife (Alice), who falls for their lodger (Nikori) but strings along a wannabe lover (Abusolon). The lover’s plan for merriment ends tragically in a violent climax of revenge and gossip.
Part 3: (Outside Carpenter’s compound in the street): Mayhem as all and sundry joins in the salacious gossip called, ‘dem sey dem sey’ (‘they said they said’ Nigerian Pidgin). This part of the play ties up the loose ends and fills in the gaps from the perspective of modern day Nigeria, touching on issues of superstition, security, lack of power, corruption and language. The Miller resurfaces to have the last say and lead his dance troupe off in search of a stiff drink. The play closes with the cynical Professor (Chaucer) reminding the audience of his initial warning, and of the universality of human nature and their ‘wahala’.