Hot Best Seller

Women of Owu

Availability: Ready to download

This is an African retelling of Euripides: an unnervingly topical story of a people and a beloved city destroyed by the brutality of war. The play was first performed in Lagos in 2003 under the distinguished director Chuck Mike, and subsequently toured the UK.


Compare

This is an African retelling of Euripides: an unnervingly topical story of a people and a beloved city destroyed by the brutality of war. The play was first performed in Lagos in 2003 under the distinguished director Chuck Mike, and subsequently toured the UK.

30 review for Women of Owu

  1. 5 out of 5

    Phillip

    It's interesting to me that I didn't really like Euripides' Trojan Women when I saw it performed, then I liked it alright when I read it, but I'm really enjoying contemporary adaptations of the play. Osofisan presents a really unique and interesting adaptation of Euripides' play, set in the city of Owu in modern day Nigeria in 1821, which the city was sacked and razed by forces from other Yoruba city-states. One thing that's really cool about this adaptation is that it challenges the Western not It's interesting to me that I didn't really like Euripides' Trojan Women when I saw it performed, then I liked it alright when I read it, but I'm really enjoying contemporary adaptations of the play. Osofisan presents a really unique and interesting adaptation of Euripides' play, set in the city of Owu in modern day Nigeria in 1821, which the city was sacked and razed by forces from other Yoruba city-states. One thing that's really cool about this adaptation is that it challenges the Western notion of ancient Greece as a distinctly Western culture, because Osofisan relies on a lot of shared African and Hellenic performance traditions: the chorus; the importance of music, dance, and ritual; a pantheon of gods who are rather capricious, petty, and jealous of their shrines and worshipers; the deadly danger of hubris, etc. The similarities between Yoruba and Hellenic performance styles draws parallels between the two cultures, lending support to Martin Bernal's thesis that Greek culture was an Afro-Asian composite rather than a uniquely Western origin point. However, Osofisan's play is also quite political, critiquing colonialism, the Nigerian civil war/Biafran war, and the war in Iraq. Osofisan takes issue with continuing histories of violence, destruction, and conquest used to feed the greed for power and wealth. Of course, Trojan Women lends itself well to this critique, but Osofisan modernizes the context (despite the historical 1821 setting) through reference to the rhetoric of the Iraq invasion, and rhetorical references to colonialism and the Nigerian civil war. What's complex and important to note here is that this is not a simple anti-colonial or anti-Western play, but it acknowledges the role of Africans in the histories of violence the still affect nations like Nigeria, but Osofisan hopes for a better future through the shared community he envisions for the Yoruba or Nigerian people. https://youtu.be/nb4WxO92oyE

  2. 5 out of 5

    Daniyel

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This review is not going to be an ordinary review it's pretty much a article on the book, it's going to be another one of my very long reviews that i doubt anyone will bother to read. This book is definitely an extraordinary piece of African fiction, and while it's definitely not Osofisan's magnum opus it's still very remarkable what he managed to do with this book, with how all the several subtleties and references in the book are amazingly executed . The story is based on historical events that This review is not going to be an ordinary review it's pretty much a article on the book, it's going to be another one of my very long reviews that i doubt anyone will bother to read. This book is definitely an extraordinary piece of African fiction, and while it's definitely not Osofisan's magnum opus it's still very remarkable what he managed to do with this book, with how all the several subtleties and references in the book are amazingly executed . The story is based on historical events that occured in 1821 in Yoruba land when combined Forces of Ijebu, Ile Ife and mercenaries from Oyo form a coalition to take down the city of Owu. The story in itself is very reminiscent of the Greco-Trojan war, there are some similarities between the Greek and the Yoruba that i would like to point out as we proceed too,the biggest and most glaring one which is very noticeable in this story is the existence of autonomous city states (polises)with the same language and similar culture,tradition and customs, each of the city states were kingdoms in their own right with their own kings but they all shared the same language and the same distant ancestors(basically a large confederacy of kingdoms with independent autonomy), so infact the war that occurs in this story is a war between people of the same tribes who share the same deities. A major allegory to the Trojan war in this story is the fact that the Generalissimo of the invading forces in this story is fighting to regain his former female lover, holy hell I just realized that the whole war is basically the Trojan war in in African setting. The Generalissimo of the invading forces is an artist( tie and dye) turned warlord after his lover is seduced and taken to the city of Owu by one of the princesm He rises to the post of a warlord and eventually sets to take her back and punish her for her betrayal, the things we do for love ( *coughs**coughs* Melaneus of Sparta except he has a slightly different back story) the invading forces lay siege to no avail for 7 years and in the 7th year when the people of Owu looked outside of their city walls their invaders were nowhere to be found, the people who were already troubled by drought and starvation due to lack of rainfall and inability to leave their borders rejoiced and opened their gates and in that moment their enemies came out of the surrounding forest ( this was their own form of trickery, they didn't use a Trojan horse but they employed some sort of trickery too) and before the invaded people of Owu knew it the battle was over because their invaders had obtained superior weapons from their trade with Europeans the women in the story refer to the weapons as " deadly sticks, which explode and can turn a whole battalion into corpses" (guns). The story in the book starts after the battle has taken place and two of the women of the invaded city are lamenting to an old man who unknown to them is their patron deity Anlungbua in disguise when the women make the plight of their city known to him he expresses disappointment because he gave them explicit instructions on how to summmon him during times of war but none of them paid heed to the instructions in their time of distress. Another major similarity to the Trojan war is that the prince of Owu who seduced the lover of the invading generalissimo has had a curse of death from heaven and he was going to bring doom to the people of Owu (definitely reminiscent of Paris of Troy). It is also revealed in the story that the whole thing is an orchestration of one of the guardian goddesses of Owu, the mother of the patron god Anlungbua himself (Lawumi )is the one who orchestrated the downfall of Owu because the people of Owu apparently broke the decree from their deities that they were not to sell fellow Yoruba people like themselves into slavery but they proceeded to do it anyways and it aroused her anger towards them which is why she orchestrated the seduction of the lover of the invading generalissimo, the goddess also reveals to her son that she will punish the invading forces for their disrespect to her and the other deities, this is owing to the fact that when they ransacked the city of Owu they not only destroyed and looted the palace, markets and homes but even the shrine of the same deities that they share in common with Owu and because of the disrespect most of them won't make their return journey, this shows that despite the fact that it's all the meddling of the gods the people of Owu who are the ones being invaded and victims of war crimes in this story are in fact not angels themselves and are merely receiveing the repercussions of their earlier treacherous acts and that even the invaders used by the deities are not spared from their wrath. As the story nears it end the former queen of the Owu laments and mourns and the former lover of the Generalissimo that was seduced eventually wins the heart of her former lover with sweet words which proves that despite his battle prowess the generalissimo is a pretty weak man, the other women who are taken as concubines promise to slash the throats of their masters too when they get the chance,infact one of these women is the wife of the former prince of Owu who promised to slash the throat of her new master who is also the man who killed her husband and ordered the death of her new born baby. Now the main focus of the story is about the plight of the titular Women of Owu after all of their men have been killed in war and only the women are left alive and begin to lament over the death of their husbands and children and how their gods have abandoned them, the basic colonial mentality steps in too As they try to enforce " killing the men , sleeping with their women and indoctrinating their children" eventually the women begin to lament over what the future has in store for them life as concubines or slaves to the whites or the Arabs but despite losing their way and going against their deity their god Anlungbua promises that Owu will never die and that wherever they go Owu will continue with them the story ends on the note that the invaders will face certain troubles on their return and that the legacy of Owu will not be totally wiped out, now I'm not very familiar with Yoruba history myself but from what i know Owu did not get annihilated because there is a place in modern day Nigeria that still bears Owu and traces their ancestry to the original Owu people. Now all I've said earlier is basically and summary and not really a review I was just drawing parallels and pointing out allegories. Osofisan writing this story is comparable to Homer of Greece or Ovid if Roman because he is documenting historical facts and writing history in a manner that appears as storytelling but is in fact mostly historically accurate Homer was a poet too and some of the illiad is considered fiction In the same way Women of Owu is in fact historically accurate but with elements of what many might consider fiction( the fictional aspect of deities such as Anlungbua and Lawumi) but without dwelling on the fictional aspect just like we don't dwell on the story of Aphrodite granting Helena to Paris when talking about Trojan war in history the same way the Prince of Owu's seduction of Iyunloye(Generalissimo's former lover), This story shows the length that people will go to prove a point and for those they love it also shows the deceptive nature of femininity and how it can be used to manipulate because the Seduced former lover of the Generalissimo who was condemnded to death was eventually taken in as his consort again due to her skillful manipulation of word and taking full advantage of her femininity. Another thing that I find very amusing is that at the time of reading this book the topic of women rights especially during crisis such as war or in an extemist state is being discussed heavily on media at the moment w after the Taliban captured Afganistan and we are all worried about mistreatment and oppression of women in Afghanistan. Also i'm sorry that I kept pointing out Trojan war references in a story about African culture, but the eerie similarities between two contrasting cultures in different parts of the world had me in shock plus I used the Trojan war in order to make it easier to comprehend as we are all probably familiar with it so by showing the similarities and references. NB: Sorry if there are any typosximproper punctuations, or grammatical errors in this article It's 1:37 in the midnight and I'm half asleep already but i have to write this because i wont be able to in the morning

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ademayor1990

    I like it & i wnt 2 read it and to be save on my ebook

  4. 4 out of 5

    Adeniran Hamilton

    Great book

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gospel

    I really want to read this book

  6. 4 out of 5

    Osamagbe

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. i want to read

  7. 4 out of 5

    Olawuyi

    Despite reading this book several times it still always hurts. Love it though.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Chukwu Jonathan

    Best ever

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ogunbiyi Segun

    good

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ray Lulu

    its a wonderful book

  11. 5 out of 5

    Adeshina

    Charatcers: Lawumi, Geside, Okunade, Iyuloye Central Themes: War is dehumanizing, Greed, Ungratefulness

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mick

  13. 5 out of 5

    Arinzechukwu Patrick

  14. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Ekundayo

  15. 5 out of 5

    UM-Flint

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lola Fayehun

  17. 4 out of 5

    Prince Whalez

  18. 5 out of 5

    Adetola Oye

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rita O.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Osondu Celina

  21. 5 out of 5

    Loizy

  22. 4 out of 5

    Anifowoshe Olashile

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  24. 5 out of 5

    Abigail Ameh

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ade Oluwa

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mapanuwa Nkirda

  27. 4 out of 5

    Emmanuel

  28. 4 out of 5

    Oyinkansola

  29. 5 out of 5

    Busayo Okenla

  30. 5 out of 5

    David

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...