Bisi Fayemi, the First Lady of Ekiti state, has urged theatre practitioners to revisit narratives inherited from our local communities in order to reflect the complexities of the communities we live in.
She said this on Thursday when she declared open the 31st international conference of the Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists’ (SONTA) held at the Theatre Complex, Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti state.
The opening program of this year’s conference which was themed “Theatre, Counter-Terrorism and the Nigerian Space”, had in attendance, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Kayode Soremekun; Bode Sowande, the keynote speaker; and the wife of deputy governor of Ekiti state, Margaret Egbeyemi among others.
The First Lady had earlier charged the theatre artists to be “more daring and innovative. Particularly, in our storytelling and in our narrative.” She added that it is important “to continue to make a connection between democracy… good governance and social justice’ because ‘that is where we can make a lot of impact beyond just entertaining people.”
Concluding her speech she noted that “there are some narratives we have inherited in our community…around gender roles and roles women have played in our past.”
“I think we need to have the courage as theatre practitioners and storytellers to revisit those narratives so that generations to come can understand the whole complexities of the societies that we live in.”
She gave the example of Efunsetan Aniwura. She noted that the written plays, staged and films about the Yoruba legend we are familiar with are not the “real story of the real Efunsetan Aniwura who lived.”
Also, she noted the story of Moremi. “I consider the story of Moremi…to be the story of a cautionary tale to all women about what happens to those who reach for the power they are not supposed to have,” she said.
She further added that “when men go to battles and come back victorious, they become kings, they become statesmen, they become great heroes and everything and anything become theirs to command but when women do the same thing, there is a terrible price to be paid as the case of Moremi having to sacrifice her only son.”
‘So I think as storytellers we should try and go back and reflect on these and see how we can do something that a bit more’ reflect the ‘complexities of our communities,” she concluded.
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