By Japhet Alakam
After a successful tour of US where they thrilled their audience to splendid performances of the play, Hear word; Naija Woman Talk True at Harvard University’s American Repertory Theatre, the entire cast and crew of the play led by its Executive Director ,Ifeoma Fafunwa had an interactive session with the media in Lagos.
The press conference and Cocktail which was organised to mark the International Women’s Month afforded the team the opportunity to interact with the media on the outcome of their tour and the message of the play which is the need for women to speak out.
The play featured a cast of 10 Nigerian women who take a piercing look at the double standards in their homeland. They include Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Joke Silva, Bimbo Akintola, Ufuoma McDermott, Elvina Ibru, Zara Udofia-Ejoh, Omonor, and Rita Edward. Others are Debbie Ohiri, Oluchi Tochukwu with master percussionist Blessing Idireri and Emeka Anokwuru.
The women expressed their joy of being part of the change agent. Though tasking, but it was a good outing.
Speaking about the show, the Executive Director, Ifeoma Fafunwa described it as great. “It was a successful outing as the play has a global message. The message is universal so people welcomed it. After the show we have been getting a lot of invitation letters from different countries and we believe that we will be touring soon”.
She charged women to be involved in politics so that the system can be changed. According to her, “if we find a woman that is interested we will support her , but what we want is someone with a policy that will affect women and children.”
Also speaking,Taiwo Ajai-Lycett who commended the cast for demonstrating the resilience and dexterity of African women on stage called for a revival of theatre life in Nigeria. “We took the best of Nigeria forward and we surprised them over there. We need focus more on theatre because it is intellectually entertaining but engages the audience to think.”
HEAR WORD! provides a collection of monologues based on true-life stories of Nigerian women, aimed at challenging social, cultural, and political norms that limit the potential and contribution of women. Told by some of Nigeria’s most talented actresses, the performance piece combines artistry, social commentary and true-life stories of inequality and transformation. The stories are based on real issues affecting the lives of girls and women across Nigeria and examine what factors limit their potential for independence, leadership and meaningful contribution.
The show not only gives a voice to women; it provides the world with insight into their unique or universal challenges. Tackling topics such as circumcision and barrenness as well as more universal challenges like child molestation, gender-based violence and woman trafficking, HEAR WORD! bravely serves up the cultural and societal norms that oppress and limit African women. It empowers women to break the culture of silence, unite, challenge the status quo, move beyond barriers and create solutions.
Hear Word!, which debuted at the MUSON Centre in 2014, and has been performed to audiences across the world, and this period from Harvard to Connecticut to Amsterdam.
It was the first Nigerian stage play to be invited by Harvard University and the prestigious American Repertory Theatre.