IN Anatomy of a Woman, Mr. Wole Oguntokun turns the feminist and campaigns for the rights of women. Apparently, his aim is to invest in women’s natural abilities and make them attain their full potentials as human beings capable of taking their own decisions and living life to the full like their male counterparts. Gone are the days when women sit idly by and watch men decide for them or treat them like retarded infants that do not know what they want for themselves.
Armed with good education, women are now masters, or indeed mistresses of their own destinies and are taking the bull by the horns in their sundry achievements in all spheres where men hitherto held sway. The play was performed by B/Rated Productions and directed by Bimbo Olorunmola at QDance, 13 Manuwa Street, Ikoyi, after The Ethnic Heritage Centre messed up and reneged on agreement and refused to allow the performance to hold at its premises. Clearly, managers of Ethnic Heritage Centre do not understand the working of an art organization that they pretend to manage, and they never will if they can’t honour a production agreement.
And so a sassy young woman, Tito (Tosin Adeyemi) struts onto stage and announces her arrival as a woman ready to take on her world, and even consumes men in her strides, it is clear the game has changed. She tells her audience that the world has long changed for her kind and that the world now belongs to them from the delusion men has lived. Men, she says, are waking up too slowly from the sleep of yesterday, where they think themselves the masters and women servants.
Tito, a beautiful, educated young woman with a promising job, is set up against three men who think they have a right to order her life they way they want without first consulting with her what she wants for herself. There’s the wasteful Mohammed (Adeyemi Samson), who, after going off for so long, comes back to claim her as his rightful woman. He is jobless and full of himself and believes he has some entitlements to claim from life. Mohammed thinks the world owes him so much for his eccentricities and like most vain young men in the city, he has no qualms living off Tito’s sweat.
There’s also the dashing, upwardly mobile and handsome James (Austine Onuoha), a big player in the financial world and believes with a snap of the fingers, Tito would melt into his arms and be the love of his life. His brashness does not allow him to accord women their right to be so treated as women. James is shocked when Tito throws him, his financial credentials and his fine looks out the window when he comes singing marriage proposal without the necessary preambles of fist establishing a relationship. James is humbled by the sheer logicality of his brashness!
Then comes Chief (Yemi Adebiyi), an import magnate, Tito’s employer and a widower. Although he nurses feelings for Tobi, he is unable to broach the subject. He pays Tobi well, sets her up in a nice apartment but jealously guides all her movements. There’s also Tito’s aunt Jebe (Angela Peters), who arrives from the village and encounters these three men in her niece’s life. She becomes the matchmaker and sets about selecting a fitting husband for her beloved niece.
But like the three men who believe they have a claim on Tito, auntie Jebe still lives in the past is not accustomed to modern ways of city women who are now in command of their lives. Auntie Jebe does not know that city women marry first and grow to love their men. She falls into error.
SO, what does a woman want? This is the chief aim of this play. What is the progressive stuff of which women are made of? How radically different are modern women from their mothers and grandmothers? What is the relationship model that guides men and women’s dealings? How should men respond to this new breed of women on the prowl? Oguntokun expertly charts the intimate, inner contours of modern women and affirms that men needs to learn the new rules that govern women and how to live by them.
When Tito finally picks her way through the three men, she is in a quandary: none of the men is ready to give her a space to grow her own dream as a woman with immense potentials. They constitute themselves stumbling blocks that hinder her full development as a human being. Mohammed will not allow her to go abroad to study; James will not allow her to enjoy her promotion by relocating with her to Kenya and Chief is too rich to allow her step out of the house to engage her intellect by getting a job.
Staged in a tight, flat space, the actors outdid themselves to project a woman-centred theme that defines men and women relationship. From Adeyemi, Onuoha (although he should have a change of clothes), Balogun, Peters to Adebiyi, Anatomy of a Woman is a beloved play that shouldn’t be missed. It’s a performance that needs a bigger stage, bigger audience and importantly, support.
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