By Michele Markarian
Hear Word! Naija Woman Talk True –Written by Ifeoma Fafunwa, Tunde Aladese, Mojisola Abijola, Wole Oguntokun, Princess Olufemi-Kayode, Ijeoma Ogwuegbu. Directed by Ifeoma Fufunwa. Presented by American Repertory Theater, 64 Brattle Street, Cambridge through February 11.
After seeing “Hear Word”, I spent the day texting friends, urging them to get tickets to this powerful, life-affirming show. Here’s my text to you –
“Hear Word” is a collection of vignettes written from interviews with Nigerian women and performed by a talented cast of ten women. Grounded in truth and accompanied by three talented drummers (Blessing Idireri, a.k.a. Kacomari, Emeka Anokwuru a.k.a. Make Beat, and Ebisidor Asiyai) the stories are funny and tragic, sometimes both at the same time. Living in a society where men hold all the cards, the women have to constantly fight to protect their bodies, their dignity and their right to be who they are. If that weren’t enough, relationships with their own sex, including mothers and mothers-in-laws, tend to be judgmental and without compassion. Which is why the piece is so powerful – it is compassionate, and compassion, when in short supply, doesn’t come easy.