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5 Timeless life lessons in ‘Once Upon A Riddle’
Having worked on this story for over a year, I am filled with joy to finally see it come to life on stage. Being our eighth play, we are taking it a notch higher. We have written fourteen (14) original songs set to be performed for the first time ever during the play.
In #OnceUponARiddle, a superstar is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer on his birthday. With just a few months to live, he meets a mysterious man who promises to give him extra life if he answers a riddle correctly. This musical didactically throws light on how money doesn’t matter anymore on one’s deathbed if they have to choose between it and their life.
In a world where money has become the ultimate goal, such a timely play draws the attention of its audience to the little things they daily take for granted. Telling a unique story through music, dance and drama, one question the music directly poses to its audience is, “How different would you have lived life if you knew you had only 6 months to live?”
There are timeless lessons carefully inculcated into the story. Some of these lessons include;
- The applause is for your position, not you
If you are the president, people will hail you because of your office. If you are an army commander, you will be saluted wherever you go. The applause people give you is not for you. The day you lose your office, you lose the applause.
In life, we sometimes get carried away by applause for the things we have. People bow to us because of our nice cars or lucrative careers. They sing our praises because of our gifts and talents. Little do we know that who we are is not what we have. We are not our gifts, neither are we our achievements.
Who we are is what we become when we lose all that life has blessed us with. How people have always perceived us will be revealed the day we lose our luxury. When life takes away our privileges, the applause will fade away. After all, the applause was for those privileges.
- Life is a privilege, not right
Life is a gift many take for granted because they assume they are entitled to it. They wake up each morning with little gratitude in their hearts. They assume it is usual for them to have life every day of their life.
#OnceUponARiddle hints that life is a gift, not a right. One must not wait to cherish this gift when they are about to lose it.
When we perceive life as a gift, we are filled with happiness all the time. Each day of our lives, we appreciate how privileged we are to have such a gift. To those who cherish life as a gift, no strife can stand in the way of their joy. As long as they have life today, they have hope for tomorrow.
Those who cherish life are grateful regardless. They don’t wait to have material things to count themselves as blessed. They first count their life as the biggest blessing.
- Loyalty is tested when hard times come
The rich have friends; lots of them. When people occupy enviable positions, they have so many people around them. Good times help us know our supposed friends. Bad times help us know our good friends.
Nothing tests the loyalty of people better than hard times. When some things do not benefit some people anymore, their true commitment will come to bear. The commitment of those who claim to die for us will definitely be tested the day that they lose whatever benefits them.
In #OnceUponARiddle, one lesson that every patron is sure to take home is how friends desert us when the party of our lives is over. After all, most of them hang around us because of the party. When there are no more goodies, they vacate every seat they occupy in our lives.
Hard times will sieve our good friends from the bad ones. When life starts hurling failures at us, the true selves of those around us will show up. The day we get into trouble will be that day we will know who will stay with us in the trouble and who will be quick to disassociate themselves from us.
- Misfortunes can happen to anybody
We oftentimes assume that when someone is afflicted by a misfortune, it may have been as a result of some wrongdoing of theirs. Well, bad things happen to good people, too. And this is the humbling nature of life. It keeps us far away from pride because we get to realise that we could have been in the shoes of the afflicted.
When the main character of #OnceUponARiddle received the news of his cancer, he cried, “Oh no! But I am a good man?”
When we come to admit that those who are enduring any pain of any sort are not any different from us, we sympathise with them. A misfortune is not necessarily a reward for sin. It is happening in life and we all must learn to comfort those it visits.
Mourn with those who mourn. You are not any righteous than they are. Don’t go about mocking those who are pained. A misfortune has no respect for a person. You could be its next guest.
See you on Saturday, December 10, 2022 at the National Theatre. First show is 3:00 p.m. and the second show, 7:00 p.m. Rate is GHC80. You will have an experience of a lifetime!
The writer is a playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications, an Accra-based writing company (www.scribecommltd.com). Order for copies of his animation book, Animuonyam The Bully Stopper, via 0243752793. His next play, Once Upon A Riddle, shows on December 10 at National Theatre.