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3 Facts about the musical play ‘In The Pants of a Woman’

3 Facts about the musical play ‘In The Pants of a Woman’

About three weeks ago, we staged our latest play, “In The Pants of a Woman”, at the National Theatre.

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 The reviews were nothing short of amazing. Our lessons were succinctly communicated and many women were empowered. Some of our patrons teared up in the middle of the play while others walked away with an experience of a lifetime. 

Before putting this piece up for public viewing, I wondered how my audience was going to receive it. Unlike many other plays, the word ‘rape’ was going to be mentioned several times on stage.

It was a bold step and the reviews have assured us that there would not have been a better time to tackle such a sensitive topic than now. As we prepare to bring the musical back to the theatres, let me share with you three facts that many may not know of yet.

1. All names and places are fictional

“In The Pants of a Woman” is a complete work of fiction. I wrote the story with one sole aim ─ to be a voice for the vulnerable, especially women. Being the first-ever musical play on rape in Ghana, I wrote it to charge our society to pay more attention to the pain of abused women while empowering those women to speak out.

 “Silence is not golden”, one of its original songs spells out. The musical is NOT based on a true story. It has never happened. Like all my stories, I wrote it with no existing people or places in mind.

Names and places used therein were to give the story a Ghanaian context, hence, any similarity with reality is purely coincidental, with no malice intended. It is hard to talk about matters surrounding sexual abuse in our part of the world.

When I set out to do this, the only people I had in mind were the victims of abuse. I set out to evoke a conversation on such a taboo topic without making direct inferences about people I knew or, at least, had ever heard of.

I did not want my audience to have any known existing person(s) in mind by the time the curtains came down in the theatre. I did not want their attention diverted the least. All characters, names and places in the musical play were created to advance the plot of the story.

With a Ghanaian setting, this work of fiction was not put together to tarnish anyone’s image or point to any real happenings. The story is a creative perspective of my general observations in society without any intention to cause chaos.

The only intention is to embolden our society to have a public discourse on rape and bring perpetrators to book.   
 

2. It tackles the rot of sexual predation in our society

Women make up the majority of sufferers of sexual abuse. In our corporate spaces, homes and churches among many other places, some women have had to access opportunities on the altar of a sexual transaction.

 “In The Pants of a Woman” subtly tackles the menace of sexual predation in our society. This is a play written to take a microscopic look into a rot many of us often overlook. It is sad to see many young people get turned away from opportunities they deserve because they are not willing to compromise.

It is heartbreaking to see the unskilled take the place of the skilled because the latter was not willing to pay the bill that came with the opportunity. A menace that is silently collapsing the moral fabric of our society, sexual predation is a theme that the musical confronts vehemently.

A lesson our audience takes away is that one compromises to keep what they compromise to get. Any opportunity people give us in exchange for our morality will always need to be sustained by our morality.

3. The musical is not an adult content

“In The Pants of a Woman” is a musical with 16 original songs. The songs have different genres ranging from funk to afrobeat. It was written for the family as a way of normalising the conversation of sexual abuse.

I believe that our society will only change if we change the mindset of our people, especially the next generation. If our future is going to be any better, we need to have people at the helm of affairs who see our problems from a different perspective. This begins with our children.

At its premiere at the National Theatre last month, I was enthused to see many parents come with their wards to see the musical. Theatre is an agent of change, and I was excited to see young people being reoriented about rape.

No victim should be afraid of society’s judgment. They should not hold back because they will be marginalised. Whenever we refuse to report an abuser, we expose other victims to them.

I write for families. They are the unit of every society. My play, “In The Pants of a Woman”, is not any different from my previous plays. It is a lesson-filled (master) piece that challenges us as a society to relook at how we tackle issues of rape.
 
Kobina Ansah is a Ghanaian playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications (www.scribecommltd.com), an Accra-based writing firm. His play, In The Pants of a Woman, returns to the National Theatre this July. Enquiries - 0546098082

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