A madam and a businesswoman, Mama is in her early forties and projects a majestic quality and elegance. She operates a bar and brothel in the town. She is the central character in the play and represents the history of the violence in her area—and a resilience to survive. Mama does not initially appear to be compassionate, and yet she is protective and helpful to the young women she takes into her establishment. During the business hours, Mama is both host and justice; she often sorts out behavior that is escalating and is the voice of reason and respect. Soldiers and rebels heed to her words. Christian is a friend and admirer. She spends most of the play pushing off his advances. Her exterior is cool and collected, but Mama holds a disturbing past deep inside her character. The bar is a place where she can exert some control in the middle of the rape and violence outside of her doors.
A man in his early forties, Christian is a traveling salesman. Her tries to woo Mama with his poetry. Christian is perpetually cheerful. He is described as having good looks that are worn down by a life living on the road. Frequently, Mama will offer Christian a drink in the play, which he consistently resists. He is a former alcoholic who steadfastly refuses any drinks offered to him until he is with Osembenga. Amid great pressure from the patrons, Christian takes a drink during one evening. He briefly falls into a weakened state from this incident, but continues to find ways to monitor and look over the young women in Mama’s bar over the course of the play. Christian also serves as a “window” to the world outside of the bar. As a result of his travels, he witnesses the action of the war. On the road, he experiences the challenges of traveling in this region. His trips to the city are like trips to a foreign country for some of the younger women. Sophie, a young woman who is eighteen years old, is Christian’s niece. He brings her to Mama to save her from the death she would likely experience had she stayed in her village after being “ruined” (damaged from repeated and violent rapes).
A twenty-year-old woman working for Mama, Josephine takes...
(The entire section is 906 words.)