Available on JSTOR at: doi.org/10.2307/3334669

Abstract

“A Drop of Honey” by Meki Zewi is an unusual piece which the author calls “a contemporary musical”. It has a certain Brechtian element in that the plangent songs, such as the ironic theme song “A Drop of Honey”, echo like a leitmotif throughout the play. Yet some of the scenes are high comedy hinting even of Sheridan; the scene of Uloma hiding in the priest's bedroom has something of the screen scene of School for Scandal. Yet the discovered presence is the stock element in many comedies, and there is no direct borrowing, rather an attempt to create an evening of theater that has wit, music and considerable social satire. The “drop of honey” refers to the sweet joys of love, but it is also meant most literarily, as the double entendres of the songs make clear, that crucial drop of semen that creates life. To launch another citizen, “it's just a drop of honey”. But which of the three ardent admirers of Uloma provided the honey?--the lascivious doctor in the confines of his examination room, the priest tempted by lechery from his vows, or the worldly and sophisticated minister of the government? Or are they all not victimizers but rather victims at the hands of Uloma whose simple innocence is so direct that it has to seem contrived? It becomes an open threat to a society that prefers to shelter behind the social graces of calculated secrets and hypocrisy. The tone of this play varies from farce, to ironic satire, to the threat of violent melodrama as murder is planned. But the cheerful songs, wittily counterpointing the situation, connect the three sections of this play like a Nigerian La Ronde as refugee Uloma fences with her three would-be seducers. The plot is neat, if a little improbable. The play has a warmth among its acid notes, and the rousing happy ending celebrates the joys of the “drop of honey”: “a drop of honey/a pleasure to the giver/a pleasure to the receiver/A drop of honey”. The following comic scene concerns Uloma's innocent deployment of her attractive young sexuality before the local priest. It is typical of three amusing seductions which she stimulates with such unconcerned innocence.