Plays and The V-Day

Hafsat Abiola-Costello brought the V-DAY to Nigeria using her Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) KIND, which was named after her late mother Kudirat Abiola. The V-DAY is a worldwide global movement to stop violence against women and girls.

Research has it that about two-thirds of women in some communities in Nigeria, face one form of violence or the other.
These range from rape, incest, domestic battery, female genital mutilation, etc. The V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money to fund anti-violence organizations. V-DAY generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls.

In Nigeria, Hafsat teamed up with Joke Silva to realise this goal. Joke's theatre group staged performances of Eve Ensler's - The Vagina Monologues between the 8th and 19th of March, 2006 in both Lagos and Abuja. I couldn't get to see it but I have seen one of the Eve Ensler ones on TV and from reviews on the Naija one, it was said to be a great success.

Review -- It took two years to bring the Vagina Monologues to Nigeria, and it had nothing to do with the unrushed notion of African time. Once the idea entered our heads, it took over a year for us to secure the agreement of one of Nigeria’s finest stage actresses, Ms. Joke Silva, that the moment was right for our country to witness the performance--.

The Guardian March 24 2006 stated that most Nigerians were unable to support a performance with the word ‘Vagina’ in the title speaks to some of the fundamental challenges we are facing in Nigeria and indeed, in other parts of the world as well. It is true that Nigerian culture is largely built around our various faiths and traditions, whether they are Christian, Muslim, Yoruba, Hausa or Igbo.


But the success of the Vagina Monologues in Nigeria simply goes to show that those values are not as prohibitive as many think, and that the time is ripe for women’s issues to enter the national consciousness.

The First Lady of Lagos State made perhaps the most profound statement when she said “Every woman is on that stage.” So much of the feedback we heard was tinged with surprise that a show like Vagina Monologues could be so well received in a country like Nigeria, where religion and tradition have a conservative influence on social norms and values.
More on the performance here.

Speaking of Joke Silva, who is an award-winning actress and has worked with the likes of Colin Firth, Nia Long, Olu Jacobs and is a female representative of Nigeria in many global organisations, she was in London recently, in another production titled - The Sisters which I went to see at the Hackney Empire. The play’s plot, is about "the battle with bitter truth and painful reality. It unravels the vanity and deceit that characterises the lives of the high society and mighty and the transience of political power and social status". It was a long, tortuous movement of shocking revelations that demonstrate that humanity is flawed, while depicting human beings’ lack of adequate knowledge about the world and themselves.

It was a good performance and a good story line but both lacked colour. There was something missing there - maybe the fact that it was a small cast or it was just one set. At the same time, it had a funny side to it plus the posh accents of the ladies etc. The actresses were very comfortable on stage.

The play was about four sisters, one of whom was married to the President of Nigeria. The president dies and his wife has to deal with the realities of life as well as reconcile with her sisters whom she had dealt with unfairly during her husband's tenure. The sisters also have to deal with their individual 'issues' and there are enough of those to keep the storyline tight.

Sisters was written and directed by Dr Ahmed Yerima, a playwright and theatre scholar, who is also the Artistic Director of the National Troupe of Nigeria, while Teju Kareem, boss of Zmirage Multimedia, was the Executive Producer and the Associate Technical Director of the play.

13 comments:

Dipo Tepede said...

Na wao, I dey trip every time I read your write-up. i believe it is the way you place the pictures. let me see the adjective to use;

creative, resourceful. ingenious, original, nifty, neat, cool, wonderful, fabulous, remarkable, extra-ordinary, brilliant,...

Na wao i don run out. Anyway...

You rock baby

Mari said...

wow mona, nice entry here. where and how do u get all these information about things happening in nigeria? its sooo positive!

Folu said...

Girl, I need to be reading your blog more o! It's so insightful and makes one think. Thanks!

Onada said...

did you see the sisters play? sounds like an interesting one!

obifromsouthlondon said...

gotta big them up for bringing the monologues. home truths fe real.

got a flyer for the sisters play but unfortunately didnt go. will keep an eye out for a re-run.

Dimples said...

Kiakia...Nana..and what were the other 2 called Mona??It was a good show men...the "fone" was just too mad...but most definitely a good show..will recommend it.

Mona said...

TaiTai Nana, I dunno the rest....

Yea I went for it o xx

laspapi said...

your postings were very instructive. I have a stage presentation with J.Silva in it on the 27th of August.
I'll keep you informed.

TaureanMinx said...

I really wanted to go see it but didnt have the time. I heard it was quite good but it did stir up some negative media but thats just normal seeing as its naija.

Dammie said...

WoW, this is beautiful....Makes me proud to be a Nigerian woman!!!

.......Joke Silva is so beautiful tho, How old is she?...LoL I remember seeing her on screen like when i was 2yrs old {hehehehe}....not like this was so long, but then she looked like she was in her 40's

If I could say more said...

Nice info, thanks for the update Mona. Do you know if Sisters will play in the States, by any chance??

brooklyn babe said...

My homegirl auditioned for Vagina ?Monolouges, and got casted, how cool is that...

Happy Summer to you (too).

Bk Babe

zaiprincesa said...

Mistakenly ran into ur blog, but this an Interesting read. Glad to know that Nigerian Women are becoming more aware and enlightened!