Excerpt from the French Cameroonian Play
Enough Is Enough by Protais Asseng
Produced and Published by Ubu Repertory Company, 1986 & 1990
SUMMARY OF PLAY: Can a man become pregnant? When Bakony's wife, who has already given birth to twelve children, refuses to have any more, she decides to tell her husband that he is pregnant. Professional consultations confirm this startling condition... A delightful, absurdist comedy with political implications.
one long act (full-length), one set
Four characters, one female, three male
(Bakony visiting the sorcerer Manga-Mbo.)
MANGA-MBO: Stranger, wherever you come from, welcome to the hut of Manga-Mbo. The trails you have followed, the streams that have quenched your thirst, the mountains that have protected you with their shadeall these tell me that if you have made your way to me, it is Allah who has so decided.
BAKONY: Thank you, great sorcerer. Your brotherly greeting touches me in my heart. Yes, I have craved for truth, and Allah has guided my steps to your door.
MANGA-MBO: Stranger, open your heart, your belly, and your purse.
BAKONY: I've brought you a watch, some tobacco, and a bag of salt.
MANGA-MBO: What else?
BAKONY: Five chickens, a sheep, and a bag of kola nuts will be at your disposition when you have cured me.
MANGA-MBO: You have come well prepared. Now, tell me about your misfortune.
BAKONY: For some months I've been suffering from a strange illness. In the country where I come from, there is neither man nor woman, not even little children, who do not stop when I pass by. They all turn around and open their eyes to gape at me as though I were no longer a man among men.
MANGA-MBO: Thus it is that humans behave when they see what is beyond seeing, when they hear what is beyond words, when they meet with something beyond the ordinary.
BAKONY: In the country where I come from, everytime I go out becomes an event. Since I can't stay at home forever being ill, I must disguise the object of their curiosity by wearing what, until recently, has been unaccustomed clothing ...you see how I am dressed.
MANGA-MBO: There was a time when clothing alone did not make the man, but it is past. Nowadays clothing counts for everything: for popes, for kings, even for the day and night.
BAKONY: It wouldn't be so bad if all these insults went on only out of doors. But even my own wife under my very own roof takes pleasure in praising what for me constitutes a crucifixion.
MANGA-MBO: Men, beware of woman. It is through your wives that Satan has come even unto you.
BAKONY: Mine isn't so bad: she bore twelve children for me. A thirteenth would have turned me into a celebrity. Alas, my wife went out on strike .
MANGA-MBO: Beware also of the number 13. In your place I would have asked for a fourteenth or a fifteenth . . . . Never a thirteenth child . . . .
BAKONY: Can that be why she said: "You want a thirteenth child? Alright, have it by yourself."
MANGA-MBO: Exactly what women are like: generous with words, miserly with deeds.
BAKONY: Manga-Mbo, great sorcerer, my suffering has gone on for six months now. I will not repeat to you what I have said wherever I have gone to seek out a cure. I will only tell you what hangs on the tongues of all the men in the country I come from.
MANGA-MBO: What do they say?
BAKONY: They say the most improbable thing that I've ever been forced to hear. They say, oh sorcerer, oh Manga-Mbo, that I, Bakony, the only son of my father and myself the father of twelve children, they say that I myself will bring forth my thirteenth heir, whom I am now carrying in my own bosom.
MANGA-MBO: A man who is preg... a male mother! God preserve us!
BAKONY: Is such a thing even possible? Is it within the realm of the imaginable, oh great sorcerer Manga-Mbo, you who predicted five years ahead of time that this country would experience a great drought?
MANGA-MBO: And the drought has come.
BAKONY: You who predicted that the great mountain would vomit smoke and fire.
MANGA-MBO: And the mountain has burst into eruption.
BAKONY: You who predicted a good season for fishing and hunting.
MANGA-MBO: And are not fish and meat abundant in our market places?
BAKONY: You who predicted that marriage of Chief Makossa's daughter.
MANGA-MBO: She was forty years old, had a squint in one eye and feet that would never come together when she walked. But she was the chief's daughter and a virgin. She got married last week.
BAKONY: Very well, great sorcerer, you have predicted all these things and many others besides: tell me, what it is then that for the last six months swells up my belly more and more with each passing day.
MANGA-MBO: I have seen many things in my life. I have observed, seated here before me, disinherited princes, kings in exile, wealthy men in rags, paupers consumed by envy, lovers without their mates. I have healed ills beyond numbering and consoled countless thousands of hearts. I have also seen some improbable things: I've witnessed water transformed into wine, I've even seen a man walk on the water and keep his feet dry. But never in all eternity have I ever found myself face to face with a man who bears a child in his own body.
BAKONY: (despairingly) No. Nooo.. .. Great sorcerer, do not tell me that I am . . . .
MANGA-MBO: Stranger, I know of only three things that can swell up the belly of a man: food, drink, and illness. Alright, you're neither a glutton nor some kind of living sponge, and even less someone diseased. There is therefore nothing other than a child that could make your belly rise in so immoderate a fashion. And perhaps even a pair of them, yes, two children, if I am to judge by the volume.
BAKONY: Oh no...! Not twins...! (He collapses.)
MANGA-MBO: Stranger, instead of tormenting your-self, rise up and let us give thanks to Allah for his omnipotence and his justice. Let us kneel down and pray. (Falls to his knees.) Oh Allah, from a clod of earth hast thou created the Universe. From the waters which flooded this world hast thou drawn forth the dry land. Thou hast separated the day from the night, shifted the place of the mountains, and thou hast appeared among men. After having taken woman from the bosom of man, thou hast granted to her the gift of conceiving life anew.
Today dost thou restore this power to man; thou returnest to him that which anger had taken from him. Men of the entire world, render glory unto Allah who comes to render justice unto you!!! .
(While the sorcerer prays, Bakony mutters in a low voice.)
BAKONY: Unbelievable . . . it isn't possible . . . it's unthinkable . . . I don't believe it . . . I don't believe in it any more, neither in science . . . no . . . nor in sorcerers . . . no . . . nor even in Allah . . . no. I no longer believe in anything . . . in anyone . . . unbelievable . . . unthinkable...
NOTE: This play can be ordered by mail from its publisher, Ubu Repertory or on-line from Amazon Books.
This excerpt from a translated play
is Copyright © 1985 by Alexander Gross.
It may be reproduced for individuals
and for educational purposes only. It may
not be used for any commercial (i.e.,
money-making) purpose without
written permission from the translator.
All Rights Reserved.
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