If Beauty And The Beast Were Nigerian: A Play

February 19, 2021

Just Imagine is a Zikoko weekly series that takes fictional pop culture icons and reimagines them as chaotic Nigerians. 


During Valentine’s weekend, while you people were getting fancy gifts and premium proposals, I was on my bed watching Beauty and the Beast.

The more I watched, the angrier I got. Maybe because dispatch riders did not reach my side and these ones were playing love in my presence, or because I just knew Belle could not have fallen in love with a beast if she were Nigerian.

So, as I did with Cinderella, I renamed her Bose and began to write. 


BOSE’S HOUSE

The sun sets over the rustic town of Ede in Osun State, and a rickety keke drives into an empty compound. A middle-aged man, Baba, turns off the engine and stretches his arms in exhaustion before walking towards a small bungalow. 

Two young women, Ronke and Shade, rush out of the house to welcome their father. He embraces them.

Baba and his daughters enter into the living room where Bose is sprawled out on the couch. She is staring at the ceiling, unmoving. Baba looks at her in disgust. 

Baba: Can’t you greet?

Bose: (slowly turns her head to him and blinks lazily) I just finished eating one mad amala. If I stand up like this, I can collapse.

Baba pushes her body off the couch in annoyance and settles. Bose frowns and moves to another couch.

Baba: I have not come home for four days, and you have mind to be eating amala!?

Bose frowns and grumbles.

Baba: Anyway, it is good that you’re all here because I want to talk to you. At the port, when they told me that all my containers had sunk, I started coming home. I had not gone far when someone kidnapped me. For three days, he didn’t let me go until I told him that my daughters would be missing me…

Bose: Ah tor.

Baba: Anyway, he released me and asked me to come back with one daughter… So that’s why I want to ask, because I know I have good children. Who will follow me there?

Shade: (looks away) Ha.

Ronke: That one will hard small oh.

Bose gets up from the couch and wears her slippers. She starts to leave the living room.

Baba: Heis! Where to?

Bose: I want to check if amala is remaining.

Baba: Are you mad?

Bose: Baba, I repeated Primary 5 abi I didn’t repeat?

Baba: (nods emphatically) You repeat.

Bose: How many times did I write Common Entrance?

Baba: If we are counting everything, it will be going to 4 times.

Bose: Wonderful. Till now, have I pass JAMB?

Baba: (shakes his head) Your score don’t use to pass 76.

Bose: (bends to hold her knees and squints) So, if you carry me to that man’s place now and he sees that you brought the worst one, do you know he can vex and kill you?

Baba: And you use to have sense o. What now happened?

Bose: Grandma cursed me, abi you have forgotten?

Baba: Is it my mother you’re still accusing of witchcraft?

Bose: If she is not a witch, why will she swear for me to be writing Common Entrance anyhow? Just because I didn’t greet her once.

Baba throws his shoe at her. At that moment, a loud banging is heard outside. The gate is slammed and a group of touts storm the compound.

Tout 1: (from outside) Bose! Come out!

Tout 2: (from outside) Where is our baptism money?

Bose: (screams from the window) Rili! You know I have not reached that part of the Bible!

Baba: (perplexed) Hope you know they didn’t put how to baptise people in the Bible?

Bose: You’re… You’re lying.

Baba: …

Tout 1: (from outside) And where is the ram you collected for the baptism?

Baba: You collect ram?

Bose: …

Baba: …

Bose: That’s what I use to eat the amala. Let’s use the back to be going to that man’s house because Rili can burn this place.

BEAST’S MANSION

Night has fallen when Bose and Baba arrive at Beast’s mansion. Bose hauls a Ghana-Must-Go into the living area while Baba walks beside her.

Beast walks into the room and roars. Baba falls on his knees. Bose stands there.

Bose: Ha. Iwin?

Beast: What?

Bose: As in…. (thinks for a second) Baba, what is the English word for Iwin?

Baba: Bush Baby

Bose: But this one has…

Beast: (roars) Shut up! You, Baba, may leave. Your daughter is staying.

Bose: Ehn?

Baba starts to leave. Bose carries her Ghana-Must-Go and follows him.

Beast: Heis, didn’t you hear me?

Bose stops but Baba rushes out of the house.

Bose: Baba! Baba!!

Bose scowls as she watches her father leave the mansion. Beast looks at her lovingly and puts a hand on her shoulder. She looks at the hand and up at him.

Bose: Hope you know your hand is heavy?

Beast: (removes his hand)

Bose: And maybe you should be using mask for this your face.

Beast: What’s wrong with it?

Bose: You know you’re a ram abi? 

Beast: I’m a bear and a wolf. Mixed breed.

Bose: Who did this thing to you?

Beast: (looks uncomfortable) I stole Babalawo’s GeePee tank, so he turned me to this thing. The danfo driver that helped me carry the tank, he turned that one to candle. The woman that is selling indomie near our house, that one turned to kettle.

Bose: You people have really suffered oh.

Beast: (nods) And the only way I will turn back  is if a woman falls in love with me and kisses me. That’s why I asked your Baba to bring you.

Bose: Wrong number.

Beast: (places his hand on her shoulder again) I want to get to know you, Bose.

Bose: Do you want to spoil my shoulder?

Beast: (brings out a photo) See, this used to be how I look. If you agree to kiss me, I will go back to this.

Bose: (takes the photo and peers at it) Maybe you should stay like this. This your before photo is not good at all.

Beast snatches his photo.

BOSE’S ROOM

Beast shows Bose into a large room, beautifully decorated and filled with books. 

Beast: This is your room. I asked them to make it perfect for you. And this kettle right here (points to a kettle on the table) will give you anything you want.

The kettle comes to life and smiles at Bose. Bose’s eyes widen.

Beast: (hands her a mirror) I know you miss your family, so all you have to do is make a wish and the mirror will show you your family.

He hands Bose the mirror and leaves the room. Bose stares at the mirror.

Kettle: Would you like to drink anything? Tea, coffee?

Bose: Do you have agbo?

Kettle: Ehn?

Bose: Agbo Iba?

Kettle: …

Bose: (holds up the mirror) Can this thing do Visa lottery?

MIDNIGHT

Bose walks down the hallway, holding a candle. 

Candle: This is a bad idea.

Bose: Shhhh!

She stops in front of Beast’s room and opens the large door.

Bose: (whispers) Iwin?

Beast: I told you not to call me that.

She crawls on top of him and he grabs her by the waist.

Beast: I see someone can’t sleep.

Bose: (smiles shyly) Is true.

Beast: What do you want? Tell me.

Bose: (licks her lips) Okay. Do YIIINN (bares her teeth).

Beast: (confused) What?

Bose: (bares her teeth) As in, do YIIINN.

Beast: Wha.. What? Why?

Bose: (hold up a plier) I want to remove one of your teeth.

Beast: Ehn?

Bose: They said your teeth are very expensive in the market.

Beast: Who said that?

Bose: Muka Ray.

Beat: Who is Muka Ray?

Bose: Just do YIINNNN. It won’t pain you. I want the big one. 

Bose tries to remove his teeth but he pushes her out and shuts his door.

Bose: Is not like you’re using it for anything!

THE NEXT DAY

It is morning and Beast wakes up to the sound of pounding. He steps outside into his garden. Bose is on a ladder hammering a nail into the castle wall. There is a huge banner on the castle wall, it reads: PHOTOSHOOT WITH SALLAH RAM

Beast: Bose! What is that?!

Bose: People have paid me. They want to do photoshoot with you.

Beast: With who?

Bose climbs down and hands him a photo.

Bose: Like this, but they won’t kill you. It will just look like they bought ram.

Beast: Is like you’re mad.

Beast starts to leave and Bose runs up to him.

Bose: Ok. Ok. I am sorry. I want us to go on a date today. Let’s walk to the market.

Beast: (softens) That’s what you should have said.

AT THE MARKET

There are spectators watching a couple of rams fight in a circle. Beast is horrified while Bose is smiling widely.

Beast: What is this?

Bose: It will soon be your turn. Hope you can fight?

Bose pushes him into the circle to lock horns with a cow. Beast is screaming as he gets pummelled.

Bose: Fight well now. I have used our house to bet oh!

Beast: That’s my ancestor’s house!

Bose: That’s why you must fight well because if they win, GOBE!

BEAST’S HOUSE

Beast has a bandage on his head and he is frowning. Bose is also frowning at him.

Beast: I can never forgive you.

Bose: Are you still angry? Look, I dreamt my father is not well, and I want to go home. They can read his will, and I don’t want them to cheat me.

Beast: (still angry) Ehn use the mirror to wish yourself back home.

Bose: …

Beast: What?

Bose: Won’t you give me transport money?

Beast: You don’t need transport money. Just make a wish.

Bose: …

Beast: …

Bose: So like, you won’t give me money to hold body?

Beast: Why?

Bose: You know this is why I wanted to remove your teeth?

BOSE’S HOUSE

Bose is on her bed holding up a mirror. She wishes to see the beast and he appears, but he looks sad.

Bose: Baba is still alive and they are not reading any will. I just wasted time.

Beast: Come back. I miss you.

Bose: We have wolimoh tomorrow and I have choose cloth

Beast: …

Bose: What?

Beast: Is that the deed to my house on your table?

Bose changes her position and smiles at the mirror.

Beast: What?

Bose: I want to marry you.

Beast: Because of the deed to my house?

Bose: We can use your house to do hotel.

Beast disappears and Bose frowns.

FAMILY GATHERING

Bose and the beast are sitting in the presence of her family. The entire family is gathered.

Bose: (smiles uneasily)

Beast: (bares his teeth in an attempt to smile)

Baba: (winces) This thing is generational curse.

Mummy Osogbo: You want to marry ram?

Daddy Akure: Police dog?

Bose: Who say he is a police dog now?

Beast: Wolf and bear. Mixed breed.

Bose: Maybe you should not talk because I don’t know why you’re always proud to say that mixed breed thing.

Mummy Osogbo: Us, we don’t want dog in our family oh.

Bose: See, when I kiss him. He will change.

Daddy Akure: (whispers to Mummy Osogbo) Should we call pastor?

Bose and the beast kiss. Nothing happens. She kisses him again. Nothing.

Bose: You said you would change!

Beast: I can’t change because you’re marrying me for money!

Rili and the touts that Bose conned step into the house.

Tout 1: We hear say you dey do introduction after you carry our money run!

Rili: Wey my ram?

Bose looks at the beast.

Beast: Bose, I swear I can swear for you. You know I am your husband.

Bose: (point at the beast) This is him here. 70K last price.


Check back every Friday by 2pm for new stories in the Just Imagine series.

Hauwa L

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