J.P Clark’s The Wives’ Revolt Hits the Stage This Weekend

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By Yinka Olatunbosun

A frontline development communication non-governmental organisation, ARDA, with over 20 years experience in changing norms and behaviours through drama and entertainment, is set to celebrate International Women’s Month with the production of The Wives’ Revolt, a feminist play by the literary icon, Prof. John Pepper Clark. Oxygen Concepts will give a command performance of the play scheduled for tonight, March 29, and two public showings on March 31 at the Agip Recital Hall, MUSON Centre, Lagos.

The plot is woven around an oil-rich community in the Niger-Delta which receives pay-out from the oil company exploringtheir land. The money is to be shared three ways among the elders, men and women, with the community elders getting the lion’s share.

The women, who have long suffered injustice and marginalisation, complain about the unfairness of the arrangement. They argue that the elders are also men, thus constituting two-thirds in the pay-out sharing fraction.

The women’s complaints are silenced by counter-accusations of witchcraft by the men. When these accusations lead to further hardships on them, including loss of livelihoods, the women embark on a revolution in a most unorthodox way.

As the world celebrates International Women’s Month with thetheme #Balanceforbetter, ARDA uses The Wives’ Revolt, to reiterate issues of marginalisation of women, gender inequality and the injustices they face in life as they affirm their humanity.

According to the Producer and Executive Director, ARDA, Data Phido, “The play seeks to highlight the ignorance and unconsciousness behaviour of men on certain issues that remain important to women, and calls attention to them with empathy in an emphatic way.”

It has been four decades since The Wives’ Revolt was first stagedbut the underlying themes have remained relevant against our socio-cultural contexts.
Directed by Toritseju Ejoh, the play features some of Nigeria’s finest theatre exports, Toyin Oshinaike (as Okoro), Zara UdofiaEjoh (as Koko), Albert Akaeze (as Idama), with OladotunOlagbadebo as the stage manager.