Sunday, March 09, 2008

V Monologues

On Friday, we went to see the 'V Monologues', a Nigerianised version of Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues. As much as I have enormous respect for the work of the organisers - a delightful bunch on a mission, the latest production was a strange form of failure. On a superficial level, the show revealed a certain accomplishment, with songs in tight harmony and good physical-theatre use of the chorus of women surrounding each story as it is presented in its turn.

That said, V Monologues is an unwitting indictment of the status of women in Nigeria, and the feebleness of any attempt at resistance to the often brutally patriarchal status quo. We heard story after story of ugly violence against women in different circumstances. The only proposed solution throughout the play was the suggestion to fight back, either by penile strangulation or the odd well timed good kick. The renaming of the vagina sketch end up playing on a revulva-revolver pun - a dreadfully negative form of name substitution. The sketch where the vagina is celebrated as a source of self-pleasure just didn't happen: instead, we had a woman who takes her solitary pleasure by staring at her pudenda using a mirror. Masturbation was thereby tacitly constructed as taboo. Worse still, the recorded narratorial voice was male - surely a travesty of the entire point of the Monologues and the move for women to redefine their bodies and experience of sexual pleasure in their own terms. It seems as if the producers of the show capitulated to the pressure to circumscribe the stories in terms of masculine authority. The only unadulterated display of pleasure was when a born again woman sang hallelujah as her invisible husband (symbolically, the figure of Jesus?) brought her to climax..

The take-out from this version is that in discussions of the vagina in Nigeria (the word itself was curiously absent), there must always be a male authority involved. Masturbation and women seeking solitary pleasure must be unsaid. As for the sexual experience of northern women and Nigerian lesbians: nothing was said - they were entirely excluded from the piece. We had only superficial reference to matriarchies of the past (a check-the-box reference to Queen Amina and Moremi and Amazon warrior tradition). We had no reference to the schools of pleasure/oppression in the east, such as the fattening rooms of Calabar (surely an obvious starting point?) Instead, we had women represented as victims, with zero opportunity to recast and rethink their bodies and their experience of sexual pleasure outside of the male gaze. Decades of critical feminist thinking on all of these issues were left well alone. V Monologues was a poor compromise which did little to give voice to the plurality of women's experience in Nigeria, and absolutely nothing to point the way towards a less oppressive future.


Kehinde,  3:11 pm  

I don't want to say it, but I TOLD YOU SO. Just as I predicted, having a male director was a major set back. I went to see the play with a couple of my friends from Jos and Kaduna.This interpretation was terrible and had "male" written all over it. Terrible.

Anonymous,  4:07 pm  

I did not see it even though I was in Abuja and my sister was so eager to go.I have seen some of his productions at terra so I already knew the kind of production it was going to be. Not my cup of tea.

Aronke,  5:52 pm  

Why was it 'nigerianized', was there an outcry after the first one? I thot that was pretty good and remember how joke silva got us all to repeat the word 'cunt' several times. After an initial show of reluctance, men and women were chanting 'CUNT, CUNT, CUNT!!!!!' with reckless abandon!It's a shame about this new production!

Anonymous,  6:37 pm  

Strong reactions are all thats needed. The audience reacted to it. You dont have to love it. It should generate discussion that ends silence. Like this one. That is what matters.

Besides the stories are generated from interviews. The previous productions had a huge pool of stories from many countries collected over many years. This production used interviews from only Nigeria and this is the first time interviews have ever been done here. What you see is basically what was there... a small pool. There was a strong effort to include organizations from every region of the country in interviewing. If no one was comfortable sharing her lesbian story or masturbation technique, then you wont see any. This is where we are I guess... Hopefully as more stories emerge they will be represented in futher productions. I expect a huge and more representative pool in the future. We cannot force out stories women wont share. All in good time... Its a new and evolving process... that unlike the previous editions will ultimately decentralize the productions and create something enduring with 100% local funding

Pamela Braide

Anonymous,  7:05 pm  

I have a feeling it was going to be like that....too bad, I was hoping they would prove me wrong. :-<

Anonymous,  8:04 pm  

deconstruction the patriarchal society, female masturbation, lesbianism and self sexual fulfilment - the revolution will not happen in one day. I agree the show should have tackled the issue wholeheartedly or not. I have not seen the show and will wait for more reviews to come in to make up my mind.

Anonymous,  11:14 pm  

I saw the show in Abuja as well. It was dreadful beyond words. I know KIND and I agree with Jeremy that they are good people and doing good stuff. I think on this one they should have got some feminist organisations to look over the script before they went into production. I saw some of the director's other productions at Terra and I didn't think much of them. Yes people laughed in places, but it does not illuminate.

I find it hard to believe that out of 200 interviewees this is what they were able to come up with. Even if you don't get people to open up through interviews, the whole point is to also imagine what is there or not there and bring it to light.

Pamela: what do you mean this is the first such interviews have been done here? I beg to defer.


Uzo 8:52 am  

Interesting points of view. I am going to see it in Lagos this week and will be able to form my opinions after that. I heard that there was a standing ovation after the first show is Abuja?

Anonymous,  9:01 am  

I too saw it at yardi musa centre. It was dreadful. In fact it was too woman-blaming. Women are their own worst enemy and responsible for perptuating so much violence against themselves as mother-in-laws, community elders, sister-in-laws etc . I left after a while. I couldn't bear it. And that male voice over was the worse. It really is a shame 'cause hte original one was actually quite good if a bit too long.

Anonymous,  9:14 am  

There was a standing ovation! I guess everyone standing and clapping was just too thick to understand how deep our victimhood go...


@mb 11.14

You seem to know more than the five organisers...
Or are you Eve Ensler as an anon? LOL
You are wrong.
No interviews for monologues have ever been done in Nigeria. None. All the stories used in the past where from other countries. Permission was sought and granted from Enslers organization just last year to adapt and the process is very specific. Many countries have done this its not just Nigeria.

Wife inheritance, widowhood rites, comfort women during the biafran war however uncomfortable, unhip or uncool for you are some Nigerian womens experiences.

The leader of a similar adaptation The Veiled Monologues, also gave guidance on the interview process.
200 interviews is miniscule considering that only 10 percent are usually usable by the writers.
I interviewed myself. It was extremely difficult to get Nigerian women to tell thier stories with the mandatory tape recorder and full permission to use them even though privacy was assured. These are the guidelines we must follow.

Ironically stories of pleasure or celebration(every where) where harder to come by... trauma came easier. Are you honestly suprised by that? How many Nigerian women can even reveal their identities on blogs?

I tried to use stories from blogs because Nigerian women have orgasms, masturbate and are far more expressive there but following the strict guidelines thats not allowed. Maybe this will change.
Every year will interviews will be done and there eventually be a wider pool that others can draw from as well.

It is a process and not cast in stone. As I said we cannot present what we are not told to fill in some checklist...

The reponses have largely been favourable with more people (from the audience ) interested in supporting future productions... We got a standing ovation where I attended... I was thrilled

As more people work on the project it will evolve and last longer than the next grant from wherever

I dont do this anon thing... for some reason I cant log in


Anonymous,  9:43 am  

For any who wish to register outrage, disgust, delight or the wish to volunteer effort,money to this project please email [email protected] she is CO coordinating the project.

I have a job to do so no more backtracking this post...

For those who havent seen.. please do. You own your mind.

hugs Pamela

Anonymous,  12:12 pm  

well jeremy, maybe its didnt do anything for you but it did something for others. you know the stories, youve heard them, youve seen them, youve read eves version, but there are people out there that needed this nigerianized version for them to understand. a friend of mine, a young girl, simple banker told me after the production that the v monologues made her 'wake up'. dont ask the experts, the ngo people, the ones who know, ask the common man, the woman who came by to see the play by chance and you will get surprising feedbak.

Amenze,  12:21 pm  

Most times, i am quick to point out "faults" and hardly forthcoming with "way forward".

I saw both shows in Abuja and think Jeremy was not objective in his review. It was a good show and a success at that- especially because it is the first-adaptation from a Nigerian perspective.

Yes, some of the monologues may have promoted violence by women as a means to end violence against women, but let's not forget where we are coming from as a nation.

I dont think true feminism is about not having a male director in the first place.

It was a good show, it could have been better but IT WAS A GOOD SHOW. Let's try to appreciate success not matter how small. Rather than diss the efforts, give constructive criticisms!!!!!!!


Jeremy 12:42 pm  

Amenze my critical appraisal was not meant to 'diss' anything. Why would you want to collapse critical analysis into disrespect?

Moreover, the idea that an 'objective' review of a theatrical performance is even possible is an absurd notion, just as it is with any art work.

It seems that your defence of the show is the all-too-typical 'we'll get there' response - there'll be a greater tomorrow etc. Tell me this: exactly what positive effect do you think this version of VM will have in Nigeria?

Meanwhile, feminist-grounded social critique is found in much stronger form elsewhere on the continent. Compare and contrast VM South Africa with this version for example. As usual, Nigeria lags far behind..

Anonymous,  1:06 pm  

I think the organisers are to blame. 200 interviews? In a country of more than 150 million? Too little if you ask me.

Pamela, I am sure that just 1 girls secondary school would have given you more material than this. I find it hard to believe that it was so hard to get women to talk. I would like to know how you collected your data. It is baffling to me that you had to resort to blogs to collect information.

Kudos to KIND for the initiative, unfortunately your employees did not do their work.

pam,  4:35 pm  

@ last anon
There where no "employees" in this project. People/organizations volunteered thier time. You can too!

The interviewing techniques where exactly the same world over. This was rigidly adhered to through training and step down training. This was not optional.

If you have secondary school classes with more stories then please volunteer next year. We need you.

KIND was joined by four organizations to organize, Project Alert, CLO, Media Concern and ACP some of which run shelters and offer legal aid.

and Jeremy....just out of curiousity.... how else does a woman whos not a cirque du soliel contortionist view her own vagina without a mirror?

na wah oh

no be small concept dey waka for hia

I respect every view.
I just felt sharing the process may shed light on some things. I should have shut up.

Getting and transcribing 200 interviews is easy? Well this will be done every year and the pool will grow. As I said before... we need you... please volunteer

Ill be sure to let all the lazy incompetent "employees" who worked on this project you are not pleased.

Please dont punish us....

Pamela Braide

Anonymous,  8:16 pm  


"The interviewing techniques where exactly the same world over. This was rigidly adhered to through training and step down training. This was not optional"

I thought you said you used blogs?

Anonymous,  8:37 pm  

If this were about sides i'd definitely not be on yours.
But i love one thing you said-
"own your mind".
It resonates...

kehinde,  8:40 am  

@Pamela It is unfortunate that everytime women have the means to do something for themselves they unwittingly give their power away. It is better to leave things well alone than put foward a male concept in a feminist dialogue. It is called the Vagina monologues not the Vagina and prickhead monologues.

Fati,  9:29 am  

This is going to be my first comment on this blog. Jeremy by the way your blog is great.

"If no one was comfortable sharing her lesbian story or masturbation technique, then you wont see any."

Pamela, this is a weak form of argumentation. So because so many women do not speak of abuse, violations and incest does that mean it will not get represented even though we all know it happens all the time and it is wide-spread.? Please, don't insult our intelligence by using this kind of stupid argument. We all know that masturbation is part of many women's experience - whether we admit it or not. It is precisely because we don't admit such things publically, that the producers of this play should have highlighted it. What is the point of re-presenting over and over again what we already know about. Isn't the challenge for us is to represent that which remains hidden and unspeakable (lesbianism, masturbation, 'uncommon' sexual practices etc.)? What kind of conversation do you think this will raise? Do you think it will stir anyone to action? I don't think so!! Does this mean we shouldn't talk about or represent sexual violation? Of course not. But in such a production,it is important to present both the speakable and unspeakable, the known and the unknown, the hidden and visible.

To Kehinde: the original conceptualisation of VM was grounded in a feminist sensibility and a call to action. This particular production is so denuded of any feminist ethos that it is not even funny. In fact it is dangerous. After seen the organisations involved this should not surprise you: Project Alert on violence Against Women, Media Concern Initiative for Women and Children, Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO)and Ajegunle Community Project and more. None of them are feminist organisations. It is not that they are not doing good work, they are. However, their ideas of how change come about is very different from feminist concerns. They are not necessarily about critiquing the underlying patriarchy structure and dislodging its dominance, rather, they are more concern with stopping inequality and violation against women while the structures behind it remain intact. So it is not surprising that tey would have allowed a man to direct such a production. Now, this is not to say a feminist organisation would not have allowed a man to do so, but I tell you, that man would need to have gone through some serious soul-searching. Only such a man could have pulled it off.

Why wasn't a explicitly feminist organisation like Baobab or girl power involved?

I was extremely disappointed with the production and felt embarrassed, pissed off and angry, especially since I came all the way from Gombe to see it. I went with two guys and they said something like: Oh I was expecting it to be about male bashing, but you know, you women are to blame. You put up with this nonesense from us. You don't need us to oppress you, you are already doing that thank you very much. I have always said it, a Nigerianised version will set the record straight unlike the imported one which keeps blaming men. And I am right.

Thats what they left with. And thats the kind of progressive men we get in Nigeria. Are these men transformed by this production? Hell no! So please!!

I can't even congratulate the organisers for a job well done. I simply can't. They should have not bothered at all. Yes some of the acting was good, but the message was really offensive and when the women gave a standing ovation, then I thought we are really doomed for ever. And before anyone say that they can all be stupid for the ovation, YES they are all stupid.

It is terribly offensive. As a muslim northern women, my experience is totally erased and typical, it is just southern-centric. I will discourage all from watching this production.

sorry for taking up so much of your blog space. I have let off steam now and I feel better.

You Know Me,  10:11 am  

Pamela and the KIND people: Some suggestions:

1. consider having female recordings of some of the interviews i.e. spoken by 'female' actresses about their experiences instead of using the male voice. It is offensive and thoughtless on the part of the organisers.

2. also consider weaving facts that we all know i.e. mastubation into the story whether people share this information or not. The VM should be about facts and shared stories drawn from a variety of sources that is not only about interviews. There are some sensitive issues that people just have difficulties sharing. For example, it is hard for many women to share stories of incest or lesbian encounters or SM sex, but we know these happen. So the production should be a fusion of what we know and information gathered from your interview. Otherwise, people will just recount a long list of violations because that is what they think you want to hear. Ask any researcher or anthropologist about this.

4. Avoid using a male director at all cost. It is called a vagina monologue and it should remain that way. As Kehinde noted, it is a not prickhead monologue. It ditracts from what you are trying to do.

5. Get Nigerian feminist scholars to proof the script in advance. They have been doing interesting and amazing work in this area for a long time and I am sure they will be able to assist in the direction of the script.

6. If you must use musicians/drummer, try as much as possible to use female musicians. I am sure there are female drummers in Nigeria. There should be no male presence on stage except through what women have to say about or to them and in the audience.

7. Don't mix the exploration of women's sexual life with talk of female hidden history (i.e at the end with mention of historic women)that is unrelated to the issue at hand. There are enough historical/mythic female figures who have demonstrated different expressions of sexuality that you can draw upon. There is a need for conceptual clarity. Inserting the likes of Queen Amina is lazy and it is too easy. You all need to do your homework.

8. Attempt to do thorough research that is not based on known assumptions. For example, we assume that more FMG takes place more in the northern part of the country, when statistically it is more in south/south east/west of the country than the northern part.

9. Be more inclusive and representative of the different cultures and ethnic groups in Nigeria. The production was too south-centric. There are enough expriences from the north of different ways women pleasure themselves that is both self-directed and male directed. You need to explore this and bring it out in celebration of female autonmous sexual pleasure and desire.

8. Let the production be a mixture of pleasure and violation. Afterall, our sexual life is both about pleasure and danger. Lets speak to this in equal numbers so that we use the pleasure and desiring part of sexuality as the way to get out violation.

9. Because it is Nigerianized doesn't mean you cannot include some of the work from the original VM.

10. Whatever you do, you need to include the Nigerian lesbian experience. This is something that rarely ever gets spoken about. People will be offended yes, but let us be offended. Remember, the apartheid regime found the action of the ANC & Mandela offensive, Jesus was put to the cross because his revolutionary calls were threatening and offensive to both the Romans and the Jews. So please offend. When you offend, then you know you must be doing something right. But to continue to just give platitudes in fact does violence to what you are trying to do.

11. Remember the journey has only just started and all the critiques here are good and should be welcomed. I love the way you have handled them.

I hope you will take on board some of my suggestions.

Lola 4:20 pm  

If i could stand up and make a show of clapping for FATI right now I would. I don't even feel I can add much more than she has already added.

I respect Wole a whole lot, he's truly a gem to us in this society and I don't think there's anything wrong with a man directing this.

My first inkling of things to go wrong was when I started hearing "V Monologues" "Nigerian Monologues" etc. I was fearful, my reaction was "oh no....they've hijacked it all! they're gonna try and make it 'nigerian'". I tried to plead with some of the people i know involved in the project, but alas......i think their minds were already made up. Sad.

The fact that we can't even say VAGINA says it all doesn't it? If we can't say vagina, a simple body part how are we going to say masturbation?

The Wee Wee Monologues

Anonymous,  4:59 pm  

Fati, I have to thank you for taking the time out to express your feelings. It was very clear and I appreciate it very much. You said all that and more than I was trying to articulate why the Vagina pissed me off so much. Thank you for your clarity of thought.

I have seen some Wole's other plays and I think they are good, but I don't think he is the right person to direct this play. I think there is definitely a problem men directing such a play. And in this instance it shows.

Anonymous,  5:29 pm  

I cannot agree with you more Lola. They should end the production everyone sayint VAGINA loud and proud


nneoma 11:27 pm  

fati should have blog, I would be an avid reader. although i have not watched the "nigerianised" version of vagina monologues, I agree with her comments and it her commentary as led me to think over some pretty taboo topics relating to African female sexuality that I have not thought of before. kudos.

VAGINA,  10:12 am  

Saw this in the punch

According to KIND’s Programme Manager, Amy Oyekunle,

"With Wole Oguntokun directing the play, it will be interesting to see the male perspective to women issues"

How wrong is that? The point of the Vagina monologues is to show our perspective, the FEMALE perspective. We already know what their perspective looks like, they tell us everyday.

The icing on the cake is the fact that they actually chose a man that calls himself "the girl whisperer" to tell us even more about ourselves.

So wrong.

Anonymous,  11:19 am  

Thank you my fellow vagina. Is the male perspective not the stuff of history and everyday life. For goodness sake, why can't we get our acts together in Nigeria? What is the matter with us.

I am going to see the play myself. Already bought the ticket so will give load down.

1stpet2v9 7:31 pm  

One thing Jeremy...

U have from now till next year to prepare and present something better okay?

Instead of you to appreciate effort, u go about running it down... shame on you Jeremy... send me ur address so I could mail you a refund check for the monies u paid for the show.

Binta,  7:19 pm  


Oh please.Jeremy is entitled to his opinion. Go and do your own review if you are not satisfied with his. Why can't we respect criticism in this country? people always quick to say "bad belle" and other local excuses. Must we all have the same opinions? You don't agree with Jeremy, fine. Like I said, do you own review and stop being childish and ignorant.

Anonymous,  1:53 pm  

A lot of what Jeremy said is true. I am also certain that he must have discussed with Bibi and others who watched the show before he wrote the commentary...

The only thing I will question about Jeremy's write up was its timing. I think he should have left his writing till after the Lagos shows. I know of over 5 or 6 people who were planning to see the Lagos show but were put off my Jeremy's commentary.

I would also like to tell the organisers to take some of Jeremy's comment in good faith. He really did mirror the views of many of us who are not as eloquent as he is. We are criticised to get better and so please learn from his commentary.

Bimbo,  7:17 pm  

I went to the Lagos show with girlfrinds of mine who would not remotely consider themselves feminist and we were very very disappointed. What were they trying to achieve if with that nonesense? Anyway, It was a wasted 2.5k thats all I can say. Maybe I should have take heed of Jeremy's review and not attend. but then curiosity took the better of me. We were actually offended by the male voice and the knowledge that the man was a director. I hope the producers will not allow this to repeat itself.

Some of the actress were just excellent. Kudos to them.


Anonymous,  2:12 am  

A show like VM has no place in society in Nigeria simply because Nigerians (outside college campuses) do not flaunt their sexuality - whether they are heterosexuals, homosexuals or monosexuals. Screaming 'vagina, vagina, vagina' at the <0.01% of Nigeria's populace who are able to afford a 300 naira ticket to see the trainwreck show will not change anybody's life, nor will it stop the patently male-dominated freakshow that Nigeria is. Indeed, if the alternative to our male-dominated society is the sort of setup you have in the West where the men are often timid as a result of mental castration by their bra-burning feminist wives (who wield their vaginas as weapons of war to be test-fired by every male on every street within a thousand miles), please let Nigeria remain the stanchly patriachal, male-dominated society that it is. There is little indication that this mentality will change any time soon: and let's be honest, why should it change? It evolved from our grandparents and those who acme before them, and they lived perfectly normal lives - so there is at least some proof that it worked well in a society without things falling apart.

In addition to working hard in offices or hospitals or wherever it is that women work, a good woman should be in the kitchen, cooking for her husband, she should change the baby's nappy, etc.

Any attempt to become a feminist in Nigeria will lead to your husband doing what the Yoruba call "da eru re sita" (Pour out her goods and send her packing).

And you all must know how shameful divorce in Nigeria is for the woman.

Let me not even begin on the issue of sexual abuse against women in Nigeria. 99% of women raped in Nigeria are the young idiots flaunting their stuff in mini-skirts in poverty-stricken areas. Of course they will be raped.

Vagina monolgues ko, vagina monologues ni.

aronke,  11:57 am  

A couple of weeks ago, my friend told me he and his staff had worked late (till 11 or 12, can't remember), so he gave everyone enough money to take a taxi home. Two ladies decided to share a cab and one was dropped at her 'estate' gate. For reasons i cannot fathom, she asked her friend and taxi driver to leave her there, while she waited for the 'olode' to open the gate for her. Long story short, 4 guys emerged and after robbing her, started asking what she was doing out so late and then dragged her about a mile off where they spent the next 4 hours raping her. Did she deserve it?

My friend's sister got caught in traffic at maryland around 8pm a couple of years ago. She got off the bus and decided to walk the rest of the way. As she walked past the bustop, some guys grabbed her, dragged her behind the bustop and raped her. She was a virgin and was saving herself for marriage. She, of course, questioned the existence of a God that would allow this to happen to her when she was abstaining due to her beliefs. Did she deserve it?

An old schoolmate was killed several years ago by armed robbers who had come into her home and raped her. She couldn't stop cursing them and the best way to shut her up was to shoot her. So they did. Did she deserve it?

Anon 2.12am, i am so enraged, i don't know what to say but HOW DARE YOU??? Surely you cannot be a woman because no woman should ever say another is deserving of this lowest form of violation. HOW DARE YOU??? Do i not have the right to dress as I please? It is my body, do i not have the right to say NO???? Can a man not control his lust?? Do you know that most rape victims tend to feel that it is somehow their fault when these things happen and to have you reinforce these feelings is.....God, i am speechless. HOW DARE YOU??

You are so hopelessly ignorant and i am sick and tired of people like you, who speak without facts, who hide behind 'it's the way we've always done things' in order not to address the wrong in our society. So our mothers stayed in abusive marriages because they had no choice and we should leave bloody well enough alone??? So women have been mutilated through the ages out of ignorance and it's okay because our grandparents did it??? So widows should continue to be humiliated and reduced to beggars because that's the way it's been done??

HOW DARE YOU??? Surely you cannot be a woman and if you are, then i can only say no wonder madam ekaette was bold enough to even THINK of initiating that bill. After all, it's our fault when men treat us like dirt, taking what is ours however they like, whenever they like abi?

Anonymous,  2:01 am  

Aronke, i thought Anon was being sarcastic. Maybe i read wrong.

Naapali 9:49 pm  

Interesting discourse here. I enjoyed Jeremy's review and felt like I had attended the show. My initial interest on hearing about a Nigerian production of Vagina Monologues was quickly dampened when I saw the name change and the male director. If we can't name it, we can't address it. As a society we refuse to name incest, child abuse (sexual, physical, emotional), spousal abuse, rape. We have no name for these things in many of our indigenous languages. If we will change, it is because we become brave enough to name a problem and resolve to fix it. I have learnt more about Nigerian women's sexuality from blogs than I ever previously knew. Thanks to blogs, I know that the facade of propriety and male centered rectitude (often cloaked in religious garb), is just that, a facade, and that underneath the Burqa, or long skirt, Amina and Chastity, are being anything but chaste.

I admire P D Braide's measured responses but also agree that we cannot continue to give Nigeria a weak pass, an E for Effort whilst knowing we are capable of better.

Like the last commenter, I thought, and hope Anon 2:12 was being sarcastic.

Anonymous,  12:45 am  

Aronke, I was being serious. As the hurricane.

These ills you named will not be cured by a freakshow called Vee Monologues or Vagina Monologues. Really, women being raped during armed robberies in Nigeria will go on, regardless of the number of Vee Monologue shows that take place.

And yes, many women in Nigeria who go around scantily clad only have themselves to blame when they are followed into a back-alley. A few months before i left nigeria, a mad man in a market place raped scantily clad university student in broad daylight at Bodija market in Ibadan (she was wearing a mini-skirt, no, a nano-skirt).

The reaction of everyone around? "Ohun ni o wo fidilere" (She wore the nano-skirt, and got exactly what comes with that!)

End of tori.

And yes, I am a woman!

Anonymous,  9:13 am  

anon 12.54 you are a very sick women indeed. how do you explain those women who still gets raped all covered up and in burka? How? As I always say, we don't need men to hang us out, we are already doing it ourselves. This is a really pitiful position to hold if you are indeed a woman.

aronke,  9:33 pm  

Anonymous, so what you're saying to me is that if you're strolling down the street, dressed in shorts and a tank top (because it's 31 degrees out or simply BECAUSE), minding your own business and some guy grabs you and rapes you then you'd say to yourself, "well, it's my fault and next time i'll cover up?"

Or if you go to a guy's house for any reason and he decides he wants sex, you say no but he goes ahead and rapes you anyway, then it's not his fault for being unable to take no for an answer, but yours for being there in the first place?

I really would like to understand what it is you're saying.

Anonymous,  11:19 am  

As much as i do not agree wit jeremy's apprasal of the play, i still respect them as wat it is...his opinion.
For those ladies who have joined the bashing of this years production,i need to ask you one thing..did u actually watch the same play ? i dont think so. becos if u did, you would have recognised that it's people like you who we have to educate.
i recall the kind lady, stating that this year's play was a collection of interviews that had been conducted. i would like fati to explain to me just how women are to blame for the treatment they receive regularly by men? is the little girl to blame for her daddy molesting her every night? or the widow, whose husband's family want to take her hard earned money from her becos: women do not inherit.
i do admit that stories of masturbation were left out but lets me honest wit ourselves, if i asked anyone of u ladies if y'all masturbate would u be willing to share the story? i think not. before we follow the wise cracks of a foreigner (sorry Jeremy) who does not understand the Nigerian mentality and culture, lets look inwards. the entire point of changing this yrs different, was to revamp the show to reflect more of the Nigerian point of view: these are our stories, these things do happen and i think the producers achieved that. we as women have to stand up for ourselves and acknowledge these things before any change can occur.

Kiibaati 6:31 pm  

I am not so liberated as to be able to chant the V word in public. Heck, as a man, I find myself using phrases like my "thing" , private parts etc

I didn't watch the Nigerianised version but going by the commentary on this blog, I think they were credibly representing.

Point is, the fact that it took place at all is an achievement. It is impossible to fail when you achieve a task that has been given up upon.

flabbergasted,  6:20 am  

"Of course they will be raped".

Anon 2.12 that was really callous and crass. As you pointed out, a lot of these rape victims are young - and therefore naive to just how pathetic some people are.

Put yourself in their shoes for a minute - how is a 12 yr old girl to know that she can't walk down the street in a vest and shorts on a hot day because some 36 yr old pervert is not going to be able to (or feel the need to) control himself?

And you think its OK for everyone to stand by and watch someone get raped "in broad daylight" because she is wearing a mini-skirt? What if that was your sister? Would you be so cool about it? And before you say "My sister would never wear a mini-skirt", just think of how many teenagers leave home covered up and change into their scanty attire elsewhere......


Anonymous,  10:21 pm  

@anonymous 11:19,

"before we follow the wise cracks of a foreigner"

So far Jeremy has been the only person that has come up with a professional review. I think you are the one that needs to be educated about what Theatre and reviews are. Writing "I loved it" "I hated it" is not a review. Describing the whole play is not a review. Praising the director and the actors involved is not a review. The opposite of the above mentioned are not reviews either. He did a good job and it is a shame that you will reduce it to "wise cracks" but then again, you have no idea what a review is.

In my opinion that primary school drama did not merit a review. I don't understand what the fuss was all about. I am a born and bred Nigerian from Kogi state. Which "Nigerian point of view" were you all trying to show me? The V monologues did nothing for me. Better luck next year.

As for that stupid woman that watched another woman get raped in broad daylight and did nothing to stop it, GOD PUNISH YOU.

Anonymous,  10:58 pm  

I do not know how I could have missed this discussion.
I have always wished I could read reviews of Nigerian films,plays, books etc so I could decide what to do but most times what we see is a description of the subject matter.
Jeremy has done a good job in this review. Nigerians should learn to take objective criticism well. This piece was not 'beef' in anyway. I am a writer myself and I get good and bad reviews, I know it's hard but what it is meant to do is send you back to your drawing board.

I read Laspapi's blog and from his writing particularly-('hips don't lie') I could tell how his interpretation of the book would go so I did not bother to see the play.
Nigerians are very easily carried away and the fact that there was an applause doesn't mean the play was fantastic. This is something the organisers should know so they can do better next time instead of praising themselves everywhere and arguing with those whose opinions differ as they seem to be doing.

Anonymous,  4:02 am  

Here are other reviews

I saw the last show because of all the noise here.I was hoping that Jeremy was wrong.Alas, the man was right. It was laughable. Everything sucked.I give it a big 0.

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