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    TMA Festival of Plays 2024: FUOYE Theatre students celebrate womanhood in stage performances of “Efunsetan lyalode lbadan”, “Wazobia Reigns”

    By Wole Balogun
    S.A Media to VC

    A celebration of the female prowess as amazons in the moulds of exemplary leaders and trail blazing entrepreneurs was grandly achieved recently with the twin stage performances of “Efunsetan Iyalode Ibadan” and “Wazobia Reigns “ by the students of the Department of Theatre and Media Arts, (TMA), Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE).



    The two plays, written by feminist scholars, Dr. Sesan Akinwunmi and Prof. Tess Onwueme respectively were staged on the proscenium stage of the FUOYE playhouse on May 27 and May 29, 2024 respectively.

    The performances turned out to be a dramatic celebration of the strength of women as exemplary leaders as depicted vividly and graphically in “Wazobia Reigns “ , directed by 400L Miss. Ayomide Famoroti, women as trail blazing Enterprenuers as portrayed dramatically in “Efunsetan lyalode lbadan” directed by 400L Mr. Nurudeen Asiyanbola . “ Efunsetan lyalode Ibadan” was supervised by Dr. (Mrs.) Tosin Tume, the Department’s Acting Head, and Dr. Uzodinma Umenyilorah while “Wazobia Reigns” had Mr. Isaac Gondo and Prof. Rasaki Ojo Bakare as Supervisors.

    While Wazobia Reigns was performed by junior students of the department under the direction and management of a group of final year students, Efunsetan Iyalode lbadan was also performed by junior students under the direction and management of another group of final year students who deployed their skills and creativity in their respective areas of specialization to train the junior students in realizing the performances. The performances were course requirements of academic programmes being taught by Lecturers of the department who shouldered the responsibility of supervising the activities of all the students during the rehearsals for the stage performances.

    In “Wazobia Reigns”, the heroine, Wazobia, (acted by 300L Miss. Ewawunmi), whose name represents the three major tribes of Nigeria, insists on an egalitarian society where men and women would be treated equally in all respects as against the usual patriarchal practice in Africa where women are sidelined, oppressed, suppressed and marginalized. She faces daunting odds and devilish schemes that are life threatening from egocentric men (mainly palace chiefs) who feel injured by her daring, audacious and resilient gut but her compassion, and deep love for humanity makes her triumph as even the opposing camp bows to her leadership in the end.

    The students equally narrate the moving story of the Yoruba legend, Efunsetan Aniwura in the second play, “ Efunsetan lyalode lbadan” which could be described as a feminist interpretation of the true life story of the heroine of the play, Efunsetan Aniwura (acted by 300L Miss. Mercy Taiwo).

    In Yoruba history, a widely spread account of the history of Efunsetan Aniwura has been the version that casts her as a wicked, heartless and domineering but highly successful entrepreneur who used her powerful influence to wreak havoc on her slaves and other men who opposed her. But in the version performed by the FUOYE students, Efunsetan Aniwura is made to tell her story through other characters and the story depicts her as a compassionate, humane, respectful and highly successful business women whose success makes the then lbadan traditional ruler, Latoosa and his chiefs to envy her and plot her downfall. The enemies of Efunsetan Aniwura conspire against her and ensure that her only daughter who is heavily pregnant for one of her slaves, dies with her unborn child during child labour. They ensure this by preventing Fagbemi, the herbalist who should have attended to the lady in labour from performing his duty. This ugly incident leads tragically to the death of the young woman and her unborn child and brings inexplicable trauma and grief to Efunsetan Aniwura.

    Thus, the once compassionate and loving Amazon becomes rigid, wicked and vengeful towards the chiefs and people of lbadan until she commits suicide and becomes a deity.

    Spiced with beautiful traditional songs and dance steps which gracefully reinforced the themes and tempo of the dramatic actions, the performances were huge success as
    students who performed the two plays acted excellently and thrilled the audience who appreciated their admirable performance with resounding applauses on each occasion. The playhouse was filled to its brim on each day of the performances to show that the University community loved the activities going on in the department.

    The performances under review are actually part of the activities of a two week long programme of the department which features stage performances by the students of all levels of the department. The performances will continue immediately the NLC strike action is called off. You are invited to be part of the awesome experience!

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