Highlighting Gender Issues, Star-studded Hear Word! Stage Play Records Massive Turn-up and Commendation From the Indigenous and International Community

By Cynthia Asoegwu

The phenomenal Hear Word! Naija Woman Talk True stage play had its curtains drawn for the first season, after a successful month of weekend performances and special satellite performances in various locations around Lagos including Oshodi Bus Stop and the University of Lagos. The show premiered on May 1st, 2015 at the MUSON Centre to a full house and enjoyed massive turn-out and reviews from the audience, with requests for a close-dated come back show.

Based on a collection of true life stories, the episodic HEAR WORD! is a poignant, joyous and emotionally charged showcase of female self-discovery and the numerous challenges facing Nigerian Women. Examining social practices and cultural beliefs that oppress, reject and limit the potentialNigerian women, HEAR WORD! Successfully inspires women to move beyond barriers and realize their full potential in order to contribute to decision making and nation building.

Produced and directed by Ifeoma Fafunwa, the show generously serves up powerful performances from a cast of extraordinary Nigerian actresses in the likes of Joke Silva, TaiwoAjai-Lycett, Kate Henshaw, Bimbo Akintola, Omonor, Elvina Ibru, Deborah Ohiri, Lala Akindoju, Zara Udofia, Rita Edward, Ufuoma McDermott and Odenike. The costumes are by the talented Ituen Basi whose designs bring classic style to the edge of modernity.

The play, which premiered last year with resounding reviews for its emotional acuity and honesty, was praised as a catalyst for the much need conversation surrounding gender issues in Nigeria irrespective of socio-economic status. This past month showing has proven to be an excellent sequel to that conversation and with the production planning to tour, it is evident HEAR WORD! will continue to advance the agenda concerning issues facing women.

Founded in 2014 by IfeomaFafunwa, iOpenEye is a production company aimed at showcasing the best of Nigerian performance art that challenges the status quo with a focus on empowering women and transforming society.

Says Fafunwa: I am so humbled and inspired by the gift of HEAR WORD! - the amazing actresses who just keep giving, the incredible response from the audience and the inspiring support of our sponsors. The stories featured in HEAR WORD! are based on the everyday realities of Nigerian women. It is our hope that by lending our voices to theirs, that we can amplify their reach and begin to transform realities. I am truly grateful to be a part of this process.”