Oddbod & The City: My Mother, My Sister
I was in two minds about the relevance of writing about my adventures last Saturday. Sadly, I am very aware that
after I have raved about the beautiful experience that was the Sisiano production, My Mother My Sister, it will no longer be available for you to watch. It ran for two days at the theatre at the Alliance Francaise, Ikoyi.
Before I start my review, I really must mention that I went to the show with absolutely no foreknowledge of what I was letting myself in for. To be fair, the audience was given a trigger warning, but I still wasn’t ready. Paulo has written a beautiful, insightful, and emotional play about women and generational relationships and how they shaped their lives.
I don’t think there is a single soul on this planet that has not realised that your relationship with your mother shapes EVERYTHING. It is the most complex, perplexing, relevant relationship you will have the pleasure or misfortune in your life.
The story follows Hope (the matriarch of the family), her three daughters, and her grandchildren. As with all things on the surface, you may want to judge her for how very differently she treats everyone in her family and how they relate to her. And, as with all things in life, with communication and explanation comes understanding and compassion.
The unravelling of it all is told beautifully through song, dance, scenery, and beautiful costumes.
The strong cast of women, Mawuyon Ogun, Yeri Lilian Ovekeyan, Dolapo Philips, Bunmi Olunloyo, Sharon Adaeze Onyegula, Linda Nwanneka Anumba, and Josephine Ewuru, are to be congratulated for a triumphant showing on the stage. They had two weeks to pull it all together, which you would never guess because there were ZERO mistakes. I also want to thank them for what I experienced with them. Some of the subject matter was extremely sensitive, and I get that there would have been frequent stops during rehearsals to unpack and unburden from the weight of telling this story.
I don’t want to be my usual dramatic self and say that the experience was traumatic, but I cried hot tears, and I don’t think there was a single person who did not feel the need to process what they watched.
The conversation of generational trauma has been a regular topic of conversation amongst my sister circle for the longest time. I am constantly worried that I will be the topic of conversation between my daughter and her future therapist. We are all human and trying to do the best we can. As my dear friend Shirley always says, “When you know better, you do better”. It turns out knowing better may involve you understanding your ancestors because we carry some of these traumas in our DNA, and if you don’t even understand WHY you are acting out, HOW can you seek healing and correct yourself?
Like I said, thought-provoking stuff.
I will not dive deeper into the story’s specifics because I hope that Paulo gets the funding to bring his production back to the stage, and you will get to enjoy it all for yourselves.
Theatre enriches the minds and lives of all who participate in bringing it to life
and to those who consume it. Theatre remains a mirror of our society, influences introspection and deepens our connection to the broader community. Nigerian theatre is an artform well worth funding and supporting.