MinterTom  Feb.03.2020 0 Comments

This morning was the first gathering of an ensemble of women in the Terrace Theatre Rehearsal rooms, who put strong voice to the strong women Femi Osofisan evokes in his work-in-process, Not All Canoes Sail Back Home. After an initial read through, Chuck Mike, who is directing this presentation in the BOUNDLESS: AFRICA literary series at The Kennedy Center Tuesday evening, allowed a moment's breath and then asked, "How did it feel in your sprit?" Mr. Mike’s question is quietly considered,  as the richness of the work speaks through an imagined gathering of Maya Angelou, Maryse Condé, and Efua Sutherland. In a outline on the concept, Mr. Osofisan states, "As astonishing as it may sound, and by some historical coincidence which I find remarkable, these three women who are considered today to be among the giants of the literary world, lived in Accra at the same time for some years during that turbulent period of the Nkrumah revolution. They were of course only in the early years of their womanhood then, and their careers were in such a budding stage that not even the most gifted soothsayer could have dared predict their future eminence” Yesenia Iglesias, Temidayo Akibu, and Erica Chamblee speak in the spirt of these great people. In answering the question of how the experience felt, Ms Chamblee stated, out of the consequence of a historic moment of the play, “Women, out of tragedy, and pain, deciding to alchemize that into triumph, and momentum to do that – must transform the pain, or be dirging forever! It’s about, the future for brown people, after the bottom’s fallen out.” Tomorrow’s rehearsal brings another layer to the presentation: Gelede dancers. Mr Osofisan outlines that “Gelede dancers appear at various moments in the play, and are a crucial factor in the play’s interpretation.” ..there is palpable power in the shape of this work already, and as each new element is brought into the performance, a narrative of Nigerian history threads into an account that inspires and, yes, invokes a strength of presence for guidance through the dark..

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