Time seemed to stop for a moment, the much grueling fifteen minutes wait was finally over; the lecturer, Mr Damian signaled me to grace his presence with my much awaited presentation on the topic, ‘Restoration Theatre’. It was finally my time to shine.
I stepped forward; eyes glaring, blood pumping, the wind beneath my sails, a spring to my steps, it felt as though the one hundred and twenty five students of the prestigious Theatre Arts unit of the Department of Creative Arts UNILAG had suddenly faded into oblivion. Right there in that class stood two people, I and Mr Damian. With the universe urging me on and a reassuring piece of paper in hand for the purpose of corrections, it all seemed done and dusted before it even started.
And so I began to speak; points flowing out of my mouth, giving detailed explanations as though I had orchestrated the very Restoration Period itself, I was a god and this presentation was my creation.
With eyes glaring straight at Damian, seeking that occasional nod of acknowledgment; and to my surprise, none was forthcoming. Not even a glance towards my direction. Instead, the unthinkable happened.
“What are you saying?” Damian asked. This question, this very question sent me not only crashing back to earth, but also beneath it. At first I stood there motionless before I gave a reply, “I’m speaking about the Restoration Theatre sir”. I was still trying to recompose myself before he asked, “did you even make your research at all? Because what you’re telling me now are the attributes of the Greek Theatre not of the Restoration Period”.
I was beyond baffled, I stood there shocked, the gentle push of the universe that was supposed to urge me on had gradually faded into a light tap; what a sly. I was no longer a god for I had been wounded by man.”Go on”. Said an increasingly impatient Damian. A second chance it seemed, this battle is not yet lost, victory was around the corner and I could smell it. I glanced at the piece of paper in my hands searching for what next you could say. Then I found it….. My trump card, the detailed point I had saved for the last.
I carried on from where I left off, this time with renewed vigor and intensity. Speaking to leave both lecturer and course mates in awe, to create a spectacle of a presentation; victory shall be mine. Alas! It happened again, only this time, the vehement disgusted look on Mr Damian’s face said it all.
YOUR PRESENTATION IS OVER. Yes, that’s what that look said. But then the words that came out from his mouth were even worse. “It is clear to me that you didn’t make your research on your topic. I’m not sure you never even attended any rehearsal with your group members, it’s people like you that will say they are at Orientals hotel when they are called for group meetings or rehearsals. Don’t deny it, I know your type.
What you just presented now is nothing but a great tragedy. In fact it’s a double tragedy because you’re not only saying nonsense, you’re also saying it with confidence. You could have just ‘jejely’ told me that you have nothing to say rather than come up here to tell me rubbish. Matter of fact, you’re done”. Then gesturing for me to leave “Just…. Just go………. NEXT!”.
That was it folks, I stood there for a moment, reminiscing on what could have been. I looked at the piece of paper in my hands, everything seemed right, and quite contrary to Mr Damian’s assumptions, I did make my research. So what went wrong? Sweat suddenly poured down my cheeks. I could see the eyes of my course mates piercing through my skin, some of them laughing. I did create a spectacle alright but not in the sense I envisaged. A mere comic relief to a somewhat tragic presentation.
I took one last look to the heavens, seeking respite or some form of empathy; I found none. And like the great Ozed once described this event, “I finally lost every atom of ability to can” And as I took the long walk of shame back to my seat, the winds were no longer beneath my sails, the sly universe had totally forsaken me; my presentation was a hot mess.
Still processing what, why and when it all went wrong, I’ve arrived at no conclusion. Four minutes of an absurd joke of my life.
Written by: ©N. Ubani
Photo Source: Google Images.