Didactic works of art are not always loved by all, mostly because they touch on issues that are too close to home for many people. But in a situation where the audience is not allowed to remain an audience but are encouraged and drafted to become the actors, a new form of art is born. That is what Toyosi Tejumade brings to life with her latest piece of drama, I Won’t Mind My Business.
During the British Council’s Lagos Theatre Festival where the drama debuted, Tejumade explained the inspiration behind the satiric collection of events that form the play, “My inspiration is a myriad of things, among which is the degrading state of the country and how people seem to be insouciant; their protests and reactions against certain unpleasant issues start and end on social media; the recent all-women protest at Yaba Market against sexual harassment and, majorly, the high rate of issues concerning paedophilia, and how it seems like not much is being done to curb it. My inspiration comes from everyday people and their stories as well as day-to-day happenings.”
In I Won’t Mind My Business, Tejumade takes the audience through a series of events that portray regular, everyday living. From issues like mere talking about issues and not actually doing anything to change it, to scenes that point out our individual roles in societies, the brainy director does not stop there.
In the last two scenes of the play, the audience actually comes alive and joins the actors by stopping the flow of events, inserting themselves into the story and then acting out what they would change or do differently. This means that art has transcended teaching morals, but is now spurring people into action right on stage.
Tejumade further explained that she was working on another story entitled Another Angle, inspired by beggars on the streets. No matter the story she is telling, it must be didactic in nature.
Members of the cast included Akintomide Temidope, Ruby Akubueze, Seun Richards, Chidinma Anyanwu and some other members of the audience, including the much-acclaimed Donna Ogunnaike, who epically depicts a typical market situation of sexual harassment.