Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Let Them Yap!

        Let Them Yap!



Last Saturday night Sara and I were at the Playhouse to see the Lusaka Musical Society’s latest masterpiece – ‘Let Them Yap’.  As the curtain rose, there in the middle of the stage, on his gold throne, sat the magnificent Emperor of Zed. He was wearing his shimmering golden Chinese suit, a glittering crown on his head, as he looked down imperiously upon his domain.

As the orchestra in the pit struck up with a jolly tune, the Emperor rose to his feet and burst into song:

I am the Emperor of the Promised Land,
My promises are very grand.
I am an autocratic democrat,
I sit and order this and that.
And if they say I can’t do that,
I don’t care! Let them yap!

As he was singing, a motley crowd of people dressed in rags had gathered at the foot of the golden steps leading to the golden throne. And they answered the Emperor with their own song:

          You are the Emperor of the Promised Land,
          Your promises slip away like sand.
          You promised a constitution new
Not a constitutional stew.
          You cannot give us that,
          This is crap! This is crap!

But the Emperor answered them, singing:

          To ‘fifty percent plus one’ I can agree
          But only if that one is me!
          I much prefer ‘first past the post’,
          If it’s me that gets the most!

          I promised freedom of expression
          Except for those in opposition.
          And freedom to assemble anywhere
          Except in any public square.
          So be careful where you yap
          Lest you walk right in my trap

But the good people of Zed were not impressed:

          You promised you’d save the kwacha,
          But the kwacha came a cropper.
You promised all prosperity,
          But all we have is poverty.
          You are the Emperor of Zed,
          But all your promises are dead.

Now the Emperor looked a bit sad, and tried to explain himself…

          I promised more hospitals, but the curse is,
          I have no medicines, doctors or nurses.
          As all my promises slip away,
          I have other things to fill my day.
          As my ambition grows and grows
          I just build more roads and roads.
          Roads to here and roads to there,
          I build roads everywhere.

But as he was singing, a gang of thugs in fake military uniforms and red berets came shouting into the palace, and the protesters ran screaming for their lives. The audience clapped and cheered, shouting ‘More! More!’

So now the Golden Emperor walked to the front of the stage, danced a little jig, and then sang a confidential little song for our additional entertainment:

          I promise employment for the youth,
          Especially those long in the tooth.
          I’ll put an end to all corruption,
          But for my friends I’ll make exception.
          The rule of law I will preserve,
          Except for laws which don’t deserve.
          I grant to women the freedom to be bold,
          So long as they do as they’re told.
          The number of my ministers will be fewer,
          Except for those coming from the sewer.
          Once a year I’ll meet the press,
          Once a year, more or less.
          I shall maintain law and order,
          Except for panga mayhem and murder.
          And I grant to all the right to yap!
          Let them yap! Let them yap! Let them yap!

He danced a little jig as the curtain came down, and we all stood up and clapped and cheered.

‘It’s all so easy in the theatre’ said Sara. ‘But in real life, it’s a big problem to bring down the curtain.’

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