Too Early For Birds (TEFB) bases all its acts on people in Kenyan history who contributed greatly to the shaping of our country yet aren’t as celebrated as they ought to be. This month, the TEFB team is staging an all-women “Brazen Edition”. This will be the fifth edition which has been researched, written, acted and produced by women at the Kenya National Theatre (KNT).
History was written, and has been rewritten over the years, most times with a total disregard for the vast contributions made by women. These women are erased. These women are diminished. From this realisation, the third independent volume of TEFB this July will be an in depth celebration and homage to the women in history with an aim to unmask them.
Aleya Kassam, Anne Moraa and Laura Ekumbo are three brazen women who, in awe of the women who came before them, will walk the patrons through the portals of bygone eras to reveal the valiant efforts, successes and failures by and of women.
According to Kassam, when she first went to watch one of the TEFB shows, she wondered where the women were. She says it begged for a search, looking at herself as a woman in our history, and trying to see the world, and the place that women before her played in it.
“We want to unmask the women whose victories have been hidden from us. We want everyone to see them in all their complexity and humanity. We want us, and every woman who comes after us, to know the magnificent shoulders that hold us up; to be able to breathe in their fury when we need to, to wrap their skin around us for courage and to invoke their fire to burn through us.”
The crew will divulge stories of heroines in Kenyan history, connecting us to the outright power and audacity of our forebears. The whole cast and crew of women will be telling the stories the way women tell stories.
“We want to bring into current memory, the stories of the women on whose backs the history of our nation is formed.”
Featured stories in this edition will include that of Zarina Patel, Mekatilili, Chelagat Mutai, Wangu wa Makeri, Field Marshall Muthoni, The taking down of Lwanda Magere – the woman’s story.
“We want to appraise the donkey-work that women have done that enabled everything else; not keeping with the usual narrative of “behind every great man...” but acknowledging the labour involved, giving fair dues to that great woman, calling out the opportunities denied to her by that expectation; sparking a fire for every woman who feels that that is the only thing she should do.”
This edition will also be staged at KNT from July 27 to 29.
The cast will include some of the best of Kenyan leading female power including, Sitawa Namwalie, Suki Wanza, Nyokabi Macharia and Mercy Mutisya. It will be directed by Wanjiku Mwawuganga.