Shatter… travail of the girl-child
Issues of girl-child, women empowerment, rape and child molestation would continue to elicit discussions in the public space until something meaningful begins to happen.
Lending its voice to others already drawing attention of government and corporate organisations to the need to empower women for better society and also to make laws that would make child molesters and rapists suffer serious pains that would discourage others from perpetuating these evils, the Tee and Tee Theatre group, on Sunday, presented the play titled, Shattered.
The play tells the story of Loveth (Aina Giwa), who after losing her father, in an unspeakable circumstance begins to face bittersweet experiences of life. For the endearment that existed between her late father and Uncle Dafe (Tony Atulie), the father’s friend, he promises to fund Loveth’s education.
Things moved on well between Loveth’s family and Dafe’s until Dafe begins to torment the poor girl; pressurizing her to sleep with him to get her school fees. The indigent girl refuses and becomes hostile to the sex hungry man. As her final year exams approaches with her school and exam fees, yet to be settled, she begins to put up a maladjusted behaviour at home because the mother, Kemi (Adaeze Ibezim), is too blind to see torment she is going through. She rather assumes that Uncle Dafe means well for her only daughter, but the girl is headstrong to accept instructions.
Worried that her daughter is behaving abnormally, Kemi calls the Pastor (Tunde Adedare) of her church to pray and cast out the demon in her. The pastor prophesied that Loveth’s trouble could be traced to her late father’s family members, who do not want her to amount to anything good in life. This goes with the general belief that madness runs in Loveth’s father’s family and that Loveth is exhibiting the trait. The pastor agrees to hold a prayer session in their house for the evil spirit to be cast out. The session holds, yet nothing changes; in fact, Loveth accuses the pastor as being of blind as her mother and others around her.
Things, however, turn around when Loveth reveals to her closet friend that Dafe has had his way. The ugly incident happens on the first anniversary of her father’s death, which shatters her life. She had promised her late father to be of good behaviour and that she would lead a life of chastity till marriage, but the reverse is now the case.
She had gone to the home of her benefactor, Uncle Dave, to collect her school fees, when the man had his way. Loveth weeps her heart out that the most trusted person in their family, who is her father’s friend and also married to her mother’s only friend is responsible for her sadness.
She faces the challenge of either telling the whole truth to her mother or ruin the assumed good relationship that exists between the two families or to bear the burden alone, as Dafe has labeled her to be possessed and everyone believes him. And when she reveals her ordeal, she is asked to conceal it.
Written by the 2011 BBC award winner, Bode Asiyanbi, the play directed by Yomi Adebowa has major themes and sub-themes as deception, betrayal and pains.
It reveals that those very close to us could sexually molest the girl-child and, as such, we are all to be mindful of who relates with our young ones and also to look out for the danger signs. It draws attention to the fact, that parents should not always distance themselves from their children, as this most times, make the children depend on outsiders for help, because their parents do not believe in them.
The paly, also highlights the attention we give to religion, to the extent of believing that all abnormal behaviours are associated to evil spirits and as such, issues that need to be investigated are swept under the carpet; never to be mentioned and when they are to be mentioned, it must be under hush-hush voices. The group thus uses the stage to urge people to always speak out, as a way of checking this ugly menace.
Despite the captivating themes, the play still had it’s own shortcomings. Loveth in telling the audience that she has been deflowered showed her friend a white cloth to support her story. This aspect would have been more practical and meaningful had there been some bloodstains on the cloth, but this was the case. It, thereby, makes the aspect a mere recitation of words. Live theatre is a pragmatic platform, where issues of importance are treated. So, to a non-initiate of the West African culture, where white cloths stand of purity and tell of a lady’s chastity, passing on the cloth becomes a mere act and a nonsensical one for that matter.
The customs are relevant, as it tells each person’s role without mentioning them; they were explicit.
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