Nanayere Ama accuses her husband the King of disrespecting her, his ancestral throne and the gods, because he plans to marry Aku, a maiden who is short of a limb. The King denies this allegation of deformity in Aku, and so he is asked to summon the young women before the townsfolk to reveal her arm. He will be dethroned in disgrace if it is true and Nanayere will lose her life if Aku is not deformed.
Stranger to Innocence is an intriguing short play, which treats the daily motions, frustrations, joys and aspirations of an African priestly family. This is the house where a stranger, Tawa, who has been fleeing from his own sins, seeks to find refuge. In the end, lessons of remorse and forgiveness are yet to be fully understood especially by young minds like Alaba, daughter of the priest.
The play exhibits the author’s artistic simplicity in the use of dramatic language, which has endeared this play to wide theatre audiences.
It is not surprising that it is popular among many drama groups and schools in the country.
Stranger to Innocence is one of Bill Marshall’s early plays, from which a lot of inspiration is drawn.
“Hope and Desire alone have no virtue. It is the fulfilment of our aspirations that brings satisfaction.”
This quote from the play, Shadow of An Eagle, evidently reveals Bill Marshall’s depth as a playwright.
The play depicts the lifestyle of an African family in peculiar circumstances in a rural setting. It explores the tension and feeble frustrations, which can occur in a family.
Being one of the earlier plays of Bill Marshall, which were widely patronized by schools and colleges and broadcast on the BBC African Theatre, Shadow of An Eagle uses the symbolism of the eagle in Ghanaian mythology to highlight the need for the youth to aspire to higher heights.
Just like the hero who refuses to relapse into degeneration, which he finds at home on his return from his foreign exploits, Bimpo hopes that members of his family would shed their past frustrations, brace themselves up and take to the sky like eagles.
In this play, Remi, the first of his tribe to go to university, ponders whether or not he should return to his people. Or should he continue to be a black hermit in the town? Amidst the backdrop of a politically torn country, Remi himself is torn between his sense of tribalism and nationalism. This struggle runs deep, as he finds it at the heart of his afflictions between himself, his marriage and familial relations, and his greater sense of obligations to his people and the country. The overwhelming nature of these problems drives him into isolation as a black hermit. His self-imposed exile into the city leads him to find contentment in the Jane, his new lover, and nightly clubbing. However, after he is lobbied to return to the tribe, he must now confront the demons of his past.
The Black Hermit was the first published East African play in English. The play was published in a small edition by Makerere University Press in 1963, and republished in Heinemann’s African Writers Series in 1968.
The War General is a satirical play that exposes a king who plunges his kingdom into a state of anarchy.
King Igida Asaba is a War General who seizes the throne of Iludo. He has a pact with Death and rules his people with iron hands. He eventually dies on Ojuoge, a beautiful woman whose husband King Asaba murders.
The story is laden with emotions and raises some critical questions about the inhumanity of man to man and the concept of vanity.
He is destined to be a great leader but controversial circumstances surrounding his birth pose a big challenge to his mission, which he readily embraces as an inevitable avenue to actualise his fate.
In his struggles, he rises like a colossus, destroying every opposition in restoration of the seemingly lost hope as he emerges the successor to the embattled throne.