By Juliet Ebirim
Didactic works of art are not always loved by all, mostly because they touch on issues that are too close to home for many people. But in a situation where the audience is not allowed to remain an audience, but are encouraged and thereafter drafted to become the actors, a new form of art is born, and that is what Toyosi Tejumade brings to life with her latest work of art, a drama, titled ‘I Won’t Mind My Business’.
Speaking to Silverscreen at British Council’s Lagos Theatre Festival where the drama debuted, Tejumade explained the inspiration behind the satiric collection of events that form the play. “My inspiration is a myriad of things, amongst, which is the degrading state of the country and how people seem to be insouciant; their protests and reactions against certain unpleasant issues start and end on social media, the recent all-women protest at Yaba market against sexual harassment and majorly, the high rate of issues concerning paedophilia and how it seems like not much is being done to curb it. My inspiration comes from everyday people and their stories as well as day-to-day happenings.”
In ‘I Won’t Mind My Business’, Tejumade takes the audience through a series of events that portray regular, everyday living. From merely talking about issues and not actually doing anything to change it, to scenes that point out our individual roles in societies, the brainy director does not stop there. In the last two scenarios of the play, the audience actually come alive and join the actors, by stopping the flow of events, inserting themselves into the story and then acting out what they would change or do differently. This means that art and entertainment has transcended the expected teaching of morals, but is now spurring people into action right on stage.
Tejumade further explains that she is working on another story titled ‘Another Angle’ inspired by beggars on the streets. According to her, no matter the story she is telling, it must be didactic in nature.
Members of the cast include Akintomide Temidope, Ruby Akubueze, Seun Richards, Chidinma Anyanwu and some other members of the audience, including the Donna Ogunnaike who epically depicts a typical market situation of sexual harassment.