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Tuesday, 29 November 2022

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01. INTRODUCTION OF THE PLAY

The Trials of Brother Jero is a satirical comedy about a fake prophet. It points out religious hypocrisy by using Brother Jero (fake prophet) who preaches, manipulates and keeps his followers in a subservient position because he understands what they desire: money, social status, and power. He convinces them that they will soon be rich and fulfil their materialistic desires and they believe him. He uses his position to deceive, exploit, and oppress his followers because of their ignorance.   

 

 

ANALYSIS OF THE PLAY

FORM

01. TITLE AND SETTING

1. TITLE OF THE PLAY 

The title of this play "The Trials of Brother Jero" reflects African religions which have emerged nowadays because of private gains of the religious leaders like Brother Jero in the play. Like Brother Jero, many African religious leaders represent fake Prophets who use religions to gain wreath and fame.

The word 'trials' has been used by the playwright to portray the different tests, temptations, traps, provocations, seductions, and allurements which Brother Jero confronts as a pastor, hence the origin of the title "Trials of Brother Jero". Brother Jero faces trials like love for women, prophecy, and fame. On page 11, Brother Jero himself admits that he is facing various temptations. He says, “Pray Brother Jeroboam, pray! Pray for strength against temptations”. This happens when a girl passes in front of him. About this temptation, Brother Jero he also openly admits how weak he is when it comes to women. He says, “He knew very well that I had one weakness –women.” (p.3)

 

2. THE SETTING OF THE PLAY

The play is set in urban area in Nigeria during pre - colonial era. It is set in the contemporary socio-political and religious situation in Nigeria and other African countries in general. Apart from the urban setting of this play, the play has various settings where religious services/activities taking place such as houses, churches, and beaches.

 

02. THE PLOT OF THE PLAY

INTRODUCTION  

The play is made up of one act with five scenes that communicate the playwright’s message.

Brother Jero (full name: Jeroboam) is an evangelical prophet who conducts his service along a large beach in Lagos, Nigeria. He is a fake prophet who often takes advantage of his people. He is dishonest to the people around him. He understands what people want. He knows most people want money, respect, fame, and political power and he says he is willing to offer them these by prophecies.

This play reveals the hypocrisy, selfishness, oppression and exploitation exercised by religious institutions, religious leaders and politicians. These leaders use their status, authority and power to enrich themselves. These leaders become successful due to the ignorance of the mass. In the play, Brother Jero uses his position to deceive, exploit and oppress his worshippers in his church. Thus, Brother Jero represents both evil religious leaders and politicians who benefit from the people in evil means. 

 

Scene One

Brother Jero introduces himself to the media as a prophet.

 

In this scene, Brother Jeroboam, who is famously known by his converts as 'Brother Jero, speaks directly to the audience. He identifies himself as a preacher, a prophet. He says has been a prophet for a long time and his parents predicted that he would be a pastor one day because he enjoys it. It naturally fits him. He talks about how preachers are fighting to get a space at the beach, especially at Bar Beach, and attract more converts. He says he is fighting to get his space. 

Brother Jero also speaks about his old Master who cursed him for snatching a piece of land at the beach from the old man. The old man passes by and interrupts Brother Jero. The old man says that Brother Jero will be ruined by his desire for women. The old man leaves. After this, Brother Jero agrees with what the old man says. He says it's true that his one weakness is for women, but he has decided to avoid women.

 

Scene Two

Chume, who is Brother Jero's assistant, escorts his wife to the house of the person who owes her money.

 

It’s early in the morning in front of Brother Jero’s house.

Amope and Chume are on the bicycle and they stop at Brother Jero’s house. Chume brakes the bicycle suddenly and the small accident causes a minor injury on Amope’s ankle. Amope complains a lot about that accident. Chume unloads the bundle tied on his bicycle. Amope takes all the kitchen requirements and goes camping in front of brother Jero’s house.

Chume wants to leave because he is late for work. Amope mocks him that he is just a Chief Messenger in the Local Government office while his former schoolmates are now ministers riding in long cars. Chume decides to leave anyway

Amope doesn't like Chume's job at all. She even hates to go to her grave as a wife of a Chief messenger. 

Soon Brother Jero appears. 

Amope also wants Brother Jero to pay her the money he took. She wants Jero has not paid her money and she wonders why he calls himself a man of God while he has no money and he doesn't pay his debts. When Amope insists that she wants her money back, Chume, Brother Jero cheats her that the money is not in the house and he has to go and get it from the Post Office so he can pay her.

Amope is a short-tempered woman. A fishmonger comes and Amope wants to buy some fish. But she finds out that fish smells bad. The trader says it is not fish that smells, but it's Amope who has not bathed for a week. Amope becomes angry and they exchange insults. The trader carries his fish and walks away after that. 

This time Brother Jero escapes. One boy comes towards Amope beating the drum and Amope chases him away calling him a dirty beggar.

 

 

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