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BABAJIDE OLANREWAJU

A PLAY CALLED

A WOMANS ODDYSEY

PHONE NO: 07032261917

EMAIL: JUNEEAGLE@YAHOO.COM

ADRESS: NO 3 AYNADIPO STREET,


NEW BODIJA, IBADAN

POSTAL ADDRESS: P.O. BOX 4181, UI


POST OFFICE, IBADAN
This is a story about women and their fight for emancipation and
recognition in society. It shows the women in different situations
and how they react to it.

Act 1 Scene 1

A man stands in the center of the stage ringing a bell. He is


carrying a mask in front of him and the bell gets louder and louder
as he rings it. Incidentally he is ringing it in a market place. There
are market women sitting down and people buying wares from
them. People are making a lot of noise before he comes in but they
stop as soon they hear the noise of the bell. The man’s name is
Allariwo and he is standing in front of them.

Market woman: What is it today town crier. I hope you will not
disturb the whole city with your noise.

Allariwo: I have come to announce the start of a new season to you


people

Market woman: You must be joking. What season is that?. Is it the


wet season or dry season?

Allariwo: No, it is the start of a season of war. War is everywhere


my sisters and brothers. You have to fight to defend yourself and
your city.

Everybody: Ah!!! We are in trouble.

Market woman: Are you serious? I mean you must be joking

Allariwo: Do I look like a joker to you?. You think I came all the
way here to entertain you. I mean it, there is war in the city.

Market Woman: So what are we to do about it?


Allariwo: The king wants everybody to gather inside the village
square this time tomorrow, we will talk about our plans to defend
the city. Everybody must be there!!!!!

Act 1 Scene 2

It is the king’s palace. The king is sitting on his throne while his
chiefs are all around him. The man is surrounded by 2 body guards
who are carrying swords and shields in their hands. The king looks
pensive and thoughtful and he puts his hands on his chin. One of
the chiefs speak up. His name is chief Adigun and he is dressed in
Agbada like the Yoruba people do.

Chief Adigun: King why are you looking so pensive

King: That is a very funny question. We all now that there is war
in the air.

Chief Adigun: That does not mean that you should be so cowardly.
You are the courageos son of the soil. Try and have some courage.

King: It is not so, but even the heart of a lion fails him when he
sees an elephant. This enemy we have is even larger than an
elephant. Today my heart skips like a kangaroo.

Chief Adigun: So let us talk on how we are going to fight this war.

King: So let us talk to members of the war council.

Chief Adigun: The war council is here. We do not need to fear. In


fact we have come to a conclusion about the war.

King: So what is the conclusion. We have to do something fast


before things go wronger.
Chief Adigun: Okay, we have already appointed somebody to lead
the war. He is sitting down around us here.

(At this point, a stout and heavily built man stands up. He is so
muscular that he looks scary. He talks in a bold and authoritative
voice. His name is Akinlogun)

Akinlogun: Kabiyesi o!!!. I am the great warrior of the land. When


I rise in the morning, even the sun is afraid. When I sleep at night,
even the moon is afraid and the ground shakes when I walk on it.

King: We greet you o great warrior, by the way you like praising
yourself a lot.

Akinlogun: Everybody in this city knows, fears and respects me.

King: Anyway I know you are valiant enough to lead the battle.

Akinlogun: Of course, I am.

King: You must have a sound batlle strategy that will save our city
besides Deji Aderopo are you around here?

(At this point, a man stands up from among the chiefs. He is a


slender man with a pleasing personality)

Deji: Great King, here am i.

King: You know you are going to be in charge of food supply as


long as this war lasts. Make sure no one is hungry in this city.

Deji: You can trust me kabiyesi, I am your long serving and


dependable servant.
King: Make sure you co-ordinate activities within this place very
well.

Act 1 Scene 3

There is a large crowd of people and Allariwo is standing in front


of all of them. The crowd is silent and it seems they are waiting for
Allariwo to address them. He waits for sometime and then he starts
talking.

Allariwo: Men of this great city I salute you.

Everybody: Ooo Allariwo you are welcome and we wonder what


you have to say today.

Allariwo: People of my father land, you should all know that the
King of Urhobo wants to conquer our land. You have to be ready
and prepared to defend our city from the enemies. Can you hear
me everybody.

Everybody: Yes o we can hear you allariwo, we will all be ready


Allariwo: We will need young men for this army. Young men that
will be fit and ready. You people must prove good children of
Yoruba land

Everybody: Allariwo, you have spoken well, we will send our


children to war.

Allariwo: Okay I will tell the king and anybody that wants to join
our army should come to the place where we are training our
soldiers.

Everybody: A ti gbo o!!!!!!!(We have heared)


Act 1 Scene 4

(This time around, the king is sitting on his throne looking worried.
Three ladies are sitting down in front of him and they seem to be
looking at the king as if they cannot understand him. Soon, his
wife comes in. The name of his wife is Abeni, she walks in front of
him and kneels down)

Abeni: Good morning Kabiyesi, you called me and your daughters


here. I hope nothing is wrong this morning, you look so worried, is
it because of the war?

King: No, it is not because of the war. War has been in this world
since the days of our forefathers.

Abeni: Then what is wrong this morning?

King (Standing up): It is you my wife, yes you!!!!

Abeni: Me? What have I done wrong.

King: See, the only children you have given me are women. When
I die, who is going to continue after me?.

Abeni: Is it my fault?. Am I eledumare who is supposed to produce


children?

King: All the other concubines I have do not even have any
children and you my first wife, the best of my strength, cannot
even give me male children. What sort of disaster is this?

Abeni: Please don’t blame me. You are talking to me as if I am a


witch.
King: Yes o!!, you are a witch. You have eaten all the male
children we are supposed to have in your meeting at night. You are
a wicked and evil woman.

Abeni: If I am a witch, then you are a wizard. You this idiot. You
are not even ashamed of yourself. You cannot even impreginate
your concubines.
King: Is it me your are talking to like that.? Get out of here before I
lose my temper. I am now an old man and there is no one left to
succeed me on the throne. You want my name to be wiped off the
face of the earth!!!!!!

Abeni: Stupid old man. Idiot, calling his wife a witch.

King: It is me the king that you are talking to like that, carry these
rats you call your children and get out of here. I will deal with you

Abeni: You cannot do anything you this old coward.

(At this point, the King brings out a stick and runs after Abeni but
she runs out of the stage before the king can hit him)

King: Stupid woman, I regret marrying her. She is just like her
mother. She is evil and stubborn.

(He now turns back to his children and all of them look at him
trembling and fearful)

King: The 3 of you get out of here right now!!!!!!!. You are just
like your mother. Can you hear me, get out of here!!!!!!!!!!.

(At this point, the 3 of them run out of the stage)


Act 1 Scene 5

The King is sitting down on his chair and looking worried again. A
personal servant is beside him and this time around, he looks very
sick and weak. The servant is feeding him with a kind of native
herb. After some time a man walks in wearing the paraphernalia of
a native doctor.

Chief Priest: Great King, I heared that you are sick due to your old
age and you have sent for me.

King: Yes I sent for you. You know I am sick and I think you can
be of help

Chief Priest: That is good but you should have come to me earlier.

King: Anyway, I never knew it will be this serious and so I want


you to consult the gods for me.

Chief Priest: I cannot do it immediately, I will consult the gods and


send a messenger here.

King: Yes but make sure you do it on time. May Edumare not let
me die in times when I am needed to lead this war.

Chief Priest: But how old are you Kabiyesi.

King: I have not spent much time in this world, I am 75 years of


age.

Chief Priest: Well, I think it is time for you to die.

King: Don’t say that chief priest, don’t get me angry.

Chief Priest: Okay Kabiyesi, I will come back to see you.


King: Be on your way and may I get a good message from
Orunmila.

Act 1 Scene 6

(Here the chiefs are sitting in front of the throne without the King
on the throne. They seem to be waiting in apprehension for him.
The chiefs start talking to each other before the King comes)

First Chief: I hope our kabiyesi is allright. I heared he has not been
feeling well.

Second Chief: I hope so, I think that he went to the Chief Priest
recently
and…………………………………………………………………
…………………….

(As the chief is talking, the king comes in with a walking stick
while a servant is following him from behind)

All the Chiefs: (While postrating) Kabiyesi ki ade pe lori ki bata pe


lese. (Greeting and hailing the king)

King: You are welcome my people and I know you have been
waiting for me.

Chiefs: Yes o.

King: Don’t worry my people I am well, now how is the plan for
the war going

One of the Chiefs: It is going on well.


King: Well, that is good (butt… but…..) he coughs loudly

One of the Chiefs: I hope all is well great king

King: I am okay let the war councilor Akinlogun stand up.

Akinlogun: I am here great king, I have concluded plans for the


war. First of all, we are going to start the war in Ijaye

King: Ijaye, that is where I grew up where….where…..where…….

(At this point, the king stammers and falls to the ground, blood
seems to be coming out of his mouth and he rolls on the floor. All
the chiefs are alarmed and one of the chiefs try to revive him but
he remains dead and motionless on the floor. The great old king is
finally dead )

Akinlogun: King wake up!!, wake up!! Wake up!!, you cannot die
now, the kingdom needs you. O Kabiyesi!!

First Chief: It seems the chief is dead, dead,


dead…………………………………

Akinlogun: Awujale inu ogun ti ku. Ki ile mi ra. Kos si si omo to


ma gun ori oye (The great warrior is dead. The ground will shake.
There is no descendant of the king to climb the throne)

(They all stand around the throne of the king looking sad and
confused)
Act 1 Scene 7

(It is a large meeting, some elders are sitting down along with
some of the chiefs. The 3 children of the King are standing in the
middle of all of them. Along with these 3 children is a man tat can
be described as a lunatic. There seems to be a debate going on and
all of them seem to be speaking in low voices. The head of the
chiefs seem to be Chief. Akinlogun )

Chief Akinlogun: Gentlement, we are all here to decide on who


will be the next King of our land.

Everybody: You have spoken well our brother.

Chief Akinlogun: You know that the King did not leave any male
descendants behind and that is why we are locked in a dilema as no
woman is allowed to ascend this our ancient and sacred throne.

Everybody: You have talked my brother. You speak with the


wisdom of our fore fathers.

(At this point, one of the chiefs stand up and talks. His name is
Chief. Ajagun. He speaks with a tall and commanding voice)

Chief Ajagun: Yes, I think we must find a solution to this dilemma,


maybe one of the King’s brothers can be made king.

Chief Akinlogun: The king’s brother is a mad man, can’t you see?

(At this point, Akinlogun drags the imbecile standing in front of


them away from the three girls in the middle and the man stands in
the middle of the stage looking totally insane and moronic. The
name of the man is Olakunle)

Olakunle: My name is…My name is…………….My name


is…………O O O
Chief Akinlogun: Is it a mad man like this that you want to be your
king. See the way he looks like a confused fellow.

(The man is wearing torn clothes and stumbles along like a


drunkard. His toungu is out of his mouth and he is pouring saliva
out of his mouth all over his body. At this point, everybody laughs
at him)

Chief Ajagun: Then let one of the relatives of the king like his
cousin mary his daughter and ascend the throne, we cannot have a
woman here to rule over us.

(Some of the chiefs sitting down clap for her but some do not.
There seems to be a disagreement in the crowd. At this point, the
oldest daughter, Labake stands up from the crowd and shouts)

Labake: Gbo gbo yin e dake. (Everybody keep quiet).

(At this point, everybody keeps quiet and looks at her with disdain)

Labake: You people talk about us women as if we are not human


beings. I am my father’s descendant and I must sit on the throne
again. We have to give women a chance in this society!!!!

Chief Ajagun: Shut up and sit down, we cannot give a woman a


chance here, our tradition will not take it from you.

Labake: Then the royal throne will remain vacant, I will fight with
the last drop of my blood to defend my right. I don’t care what
anybody says.

(At this point in time, one of the kingmakers or chiefs stands up


from the crowd. He has been quiet all along but now he decides to
speak up. His name is Chief Dejo)
Chief Dejo: I think this lady is right. Let her be the king, our elders
say it does not matter if it is a man or woman who kills the snake
as long as the snake is dead. Let this lady rule over us. After all,
the only constant thing in life is change.

Chief Ajagun: You are talking against the law the ground our fore-
fathers walked on will be cursed if this abomination is allowed to
happen.

Chief Dejo: You this idiot, what do you mean by that?. You this
bastard what do you mean it is a curse?. Old man like this that does
not have any wisdom

Chief Ajagun: Me an idiot? Me?. I will show you who I am today

(At this point, the two of them start fighting and wrestling together
while everybody is watching. The imbecile now comes in front of
them and tries to separate them. He stumbles in front of them and
mumbles a few words incoherently)

Olakunle: You…you…you…me should… should… stop

(At this point, one of the men fighting push the imbecile down and
he stumbles and falls down in a funny way but at last Chief
Akinlogun intervenes and manages to drag the two men apart)

Chief Akinlogun: You men should stop fighting, violence cannot


solve your problems. Okay, I have the final solution to this.

Everybody: So what should we do.

Chief Akinlogun: Let us go to the Chief Priest, he is the one that


knows how to talk to our gods and forefathers. This will tell us
what to do. The Ifa Oracle can never fail us.
(At this point, everybody claps for him and there is a general
murmuring in the crowd)

Act 1 Scene 8

(The chiefs are sitting down along with the three girls and the
imbecile but now, the Chief Priest is in the middle of them. He
stands between them looking tall and menancing as usual with all
sorts of occultic paranephalia tied around his body. It is Chief
Akinkogun that gets up and speaks first while the others listen.)

Chief Akinlogun: We have come before you today to find out what
should be done about this problem. We have come to receive the
final answer today and we know you have the wisdom of the gods.

Chief Priest: (He shakes his body and twists his hands.). I have the
final answer, but it will leave everybody here shocked. Now let me
talk.

Chief Akinlogun: Talk on time, we are all anxious and waiting.

Chief Priest: It is Labake, this woman who you all despise that will
be our next ruler in this city. She is the one the gods have chosen.

Chief Ajagun (Now standing up from the crowd) This one? This
one?, I do not think the gods have spoken, you have not heared
very well. Edumare forbids that this one should rule over us.

Chief Priest: Yes, I mean what I am saying. Who are you to defy
the wisdom of the gods?
Chief Ajagun: I don’t think you are wise at all.

Chief Priest: Because of what you have said, you will go blind
until you postrate in front of her.

(All of a sudden, Chief Ajagun goes blind, he looks around and


cries for help)

Chief Ajagun: Oju mi, Oju mi, Mi ma riran mo. (My eyes, my
eyes, I cannot see again)

Chief Priest: Who is anybody, to defy the wisdom of the gods?.


Labake will rule over this land, the gods themselves have spoken
Labake: You see now all of you, I am the ruler of this land wether
any body likes it or not. The next person that speaks against it will
go blind.

(At this point, everybody appears shell-shocked and the priest


walks out of the stage in anger, nobody dares say anything and
then after what seems a long silence Chief Ajagun speaks out)

Chief Akinlogun: Oh men of our land, it seems we have to accept


this, even the time is chainging and we have to accept this woman
as ruler. I do not want to go blind myself.

(At this point, everybody continues to look shell shocked)

Act 2 Scene 1

(The new Queen Labake is now on the throne. The chiefs are in
front of her and the guards are standing beside her)

Queen Labake: Now, Akinlogun war councilor, how are we going


to fight this war?
Chief Akinlogun: We are planning well for the war, even now the
soldiers are ready.

Queen Labake: Well, that is good but I now want to introduce a


new law in this kingdom

Chief Akinlogun: What is the law?

Queen Labake: Women should be allowed to join the army. As


from now on I want you to put one of my sisters, preferably
Bolanle in charge of the army. She will be one of the generals and
will lead the army to war.

Chief Akinlogun: But…But… no woman goes to war in this our


land…..

Queen Labake: Shut up!!!! Do you want to go blind like Chief


AJAGUN?. YOU BETTER BE CAREFULL, NOW LET ME
CALL BOLANLE.

Chief Ajagun: (Prostrating). Yes my Lord, Kabiyesi o!!!!

Queen Labake: Let one of the soldiers go and call Bolanle.

(At this point, one of the soldiers guarding the king leave the kings
presence and soon, he is back with Bolanle)

Queen Labake: As from now on, you are now second in command
to Chief Ajagun, and you will lead the army to war along with him.
Let everybody bow before her!!!

Everybody: You are welcome great Amazon of our time!!!


(Everybody postrates before Bolanle)

Act 2 Scene 2

(The stage is set, two different group of people are standing on


either side of the stage. The soldiers of Youruba land are wearing
one attire and standing on one side while the soldiers of Nupe are
standing on the other side. Interestingly, Labake and Akinlogun are
leading the battle while a big, strong man is leading the army of
Nupe. The name of the man is Nimrod. He comes in front of the
army of Nupe and starts Boasting in front of them while the
soldiers stay on both sides)

Nimrod: You people of Yoruba land are in trouble. We will kill all
of you, you have no men in your country. See you are now our
slaves.

Akinlogun: How can that be? We will see who is stronger today.

Nimrod:(Laughing) HA HA HA Is there anybody stronger than


me?
(He draws his sword and charges at the soldiers of Yoruba land
and all of them stagger back as if they are afraid)

Nimrod: If anybody here is stronger than me, then let him come
and fight me since I am the strongest man in the world.

(At this point, there is a long silence and all the soldiers of Yoruba
land cringe in fear. Nobody comes out not even Akinlogun. )
Nimrod: ha ha ha, you people are in trouble, produce a man to
fight me.

(Now things seem to change. The woman among them, Bolanle


stands up and walks towards him)

Bolanle: So you think you are a man?, I am ready to confront you


today. I will cut off your head and feed them to the birds of the air.

Nimrod: So you have insulted me by bringing a mere woman to


fight me? I have many women as wives and concubines, I will kill
you now. What an insult.

Bolanle: I am the Aamazon and warrior. Now it is time for me to


show my strength.

(At this point, Bolanle rushes at Nimrod and draws out her sword,
the 2 of them start fighting and surprisingly, Bolanle engages him
in a sword fight and pushes him down. She puts the sword on his
head as he lies on the floor)

Bolanle: Now can you see that you are as weak as a child

Nimrod: Please don’t kill me.

Bolanle: You will depart from this world today.

(At this point, she stabs him on the head and he dies and all the
soldiers of Yoruba land are excited)

Bolanle: I have killed their leader, now you people should make a
slave of them. Soldiers charge and capture them!!!!!!!!!!

The Soldiers: Great is Bolanle the great Amazon among us. Now
let us capture all of them!!!
(At this point, the soldiers of Yoruba land rush at the soldiers of
Nupe and the soldiers from Nupe run away, some of them are
captured while some others run away from the stage. The soldiers
of Yoruba land killed and captured many soldiers from Nupe land
with Bolanle leading them on)

Act 2 Scene 3

(The Queen Labake is sitting down on her throne with the chiefs.
As she is sitting down, she seems to be talking to her chiefs)

Queen Labake: I wonder how the war is going

One of the chiefs: Let us have faith, I know all will be well

(As they are talking, a servant comes in and postrates in front of


her)

Messenger: Kabiyesi O!! Kade pe lori ki bate pelese (Great King,


May your reing be long on the throne)

Queen Labake: What happened

Messenger: We have won the war, the enemies have been defeated,
in fact the soldiers are coming right now

(At this point, the soldiers enter the stage led by Queen Labake and
Chief Akinlogun. The soldiers come along holding some people in
chains and singing victory songs)

Soldiers: Bolanle the Amazon, Saviour of our land, your spear can
kill a thousand men in battle. Great is Bolanle
Queen Labake: Now what is the meaning of all this nonsense. Why
are you singing Bolanle’s praise. Stop all this your singing and tell
me what happened

Chief Akinlogun: Ah I cannot believe what my eyes saw, Bolanle


was valiant in battle. In fact, she killed their chief warrior Nimrod
and inspired us to victory.

Queen Labake: Is that true Labake?

Bolanle: Yes it is, see the prisoners of war and in fact I have the
head of Nimrod their chief warrior here.

Queen Labake: Let me see?

(At this point, Bolanle goes into her basket and brings out the head
of Nimrod and shows it to Queen Labake)

Bolanle: This is the head of our enemy Nimrod

(She receives it from her hand, puts it in the air and laughs)

Queen Labake: Now the gods have granted us victory!!!!!

Chief Akinlogun: See, we have even captured the king of Nupe


Land. Le the soldiers bring him here.

(At this point, one of the soldiers bring one of the prisoners in front
of the queen. He is dressed like a king and looking unhappy)

Queen Labake: You are the king of Nupe land?

Prisoner: Yes I am

Queen Labake: Now lie on the floor in front of me.


(At this point, he lies in front of her and she steps on his neck)

Queen Labake: Now the gods have put our enemies under my feet.

Akinlogun: You are a great queen and your sister Bolanle is a true
daughter of the soil.

Queen Labake: Now I make it a law in this land that women


should be allowed to join the army and ascend the throne. This is a
new emancipation for women.

Chief Akinlogun: Yes I agree, Bolanle has made me change my


opinion about women.

All the chiefs: Kabiyesi o great Amazon of our


time…………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………End of the
play