Barbershop Conversations: Talking Tradition (A screenplay)

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A script detailing a recent conversation I had with my barber regarding tradition and the importance of keeping it alive for future generations.

 

Int. Barbershop. Night time

A quiet Friday night in the barbershop. The store is empty except for Michael and his barber Jay. Michael is sat in the barber’s chair on his phone waiting to get his haircut whilst Jay has just gone off to the toilet. Fela Kuti’s ‘Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense’ can be heard blasting through the shop’s speakers.

Camera is focused on Michael on his phone.

Jay:

(From Behind Michael, he sings in tune with music)

“TEACHER, TEACHER-O NA THE LECTURER BE YOUR NAME

TEACHER, TEACHER-O NA THE LECTURE BE THE SAME”

 

Camera pans out to show a wide shot of the shop showing Jay dance towards Michael along to the music.

 

Michael:

(Turns to look at Jay with a smile)

“Jay, I’ve come here how many times and you only seem to ever play Fela Kuti. Play something different I beg. “

 

Jay spins and mimes Fela’s Saxophone solo, Michael laughs, rolls his eyes and goes back to his phone.

Jay:

(To Michael)

“That’s the problem with you young ones of today. Do you even know your history? Fela is one of the greats.”

 

Michael:

“Yeah I know he is, it’s just you know…you play him every week. I’m tired of hearing him”

 

Jay:

(Puts hands on head and looks upward)

Mumbles something in Igbo, Do you even know what this song means? ”

 

Michaels smiles awkwardly and shakes his head.

 

Jay:

(In unison with the music again)

“TEACHER, TEACHER-O NA THE LECTURER BE YOUR NAME

TEACHER, TEACHER-O NA THE LECTURE BE THE SAME”

~

“When Fela says, teachers, he’s referring to the white people who colonised Nigeria back in the day. The same people who like to remind us how corrupt our government is, are the ones who initially set our government up. Who taught our leaders how to rule the way they do now?”

 

Michael:

“The Western powers like Britain, right?”

 

Jay:

(Jumps up, snaps his finger and shouts again in sync with the song)

“ – Na Oyinbo ”

~

“This is our tradition O’boy. You have to know things like this. If you don’t know how will your children know and their children after that. People like me and you’re parents aren’t always going to be around. If you don’t take hold of our tradition now, who else will? ”

 

Jay slowly turns up the music

 

Michael:

“ Yeah, I guess “

 

Jay:

“ You know what the teachers could never get rid of? ”

 

Michael:

“What?”

 

Jay:

“ Our culture. We are Nigerians. We are Africans. Our land is so rich in culture, but you people of today barely know it. You used to come back from school and you’d walk home to the sweet smell of your mums cooking. The smell of egusi soup and pounded yam; the smell of rice and stew, the smell of the pepper soup she just finished making to get rid of that winter chill. O’boy these are things that the western world just can’t replace. ”

 

Jay slowly turns the music up even more

 

Michael:

“ Yeah and all the parties, the colours, the dancing, the clothes! ”

 

Michael gets up out of the chair

 

Jay:

(Laughs and dances)

“ Exactly! You see, imagine your children and grandchildren growing up without all of that. Our culture is our pride, it has to live on. In you, as a first generation British Nigerian, it is your duty, your parents passed it onto you and you must pass it on also. ”

 

Michael:

(Also dancing)

“ Yeah, Yeah. Don’t worry, Don’t worry, I won’t let you down.”

 

Jay puts music even louder

 

Michael and Jay:

(In Unison)

“ TEACHER, TEACHER-O NA THE LECTURER BE YOUR NAME

TEACHER, TEACHER-O NA THE LECTURE BE THE SAME ”

 

Both Laugh and then sit down smiling as the song comes to an end.

 

Michael:

(Turns to Jay)

“ Yeah but about this haircut still…”

 

End.