You have probably heard about the hottest show in Kenyan theatres ‘Too Early For Birds’, attended one of their shows or seen the trending topic on Twitter. If you haven’t, I got you.
For starters, the show was birthed by two spoken word artists Abusense and Ngartia with the aim of countering the condescending colonial voice and telling African history in a positive light; good or bad. They borrowed topics from Owaah’s blog, who is known for writing about unconventional historical characters.
The creations have been theatrical masterpieces show after show. Since it is written and produced by the current generation, it is packed with high energy and entertainment. You can be assured of a couple of laughs.
This time around the show focuses on women who played a crucial role in Kenya’s history but often go unnoticed or underappreciated. Traditionally, women remained in the shadows as their male counterparts received glory and praise. Heroes like Dedan Kimathi have statues and streets named after them while heroines like Muthoni Wa Kirima disappeared into oblivion.
The show is titled ‘The Brazen Edition’. Brazen, a rather underappreciated English word, means bold, made of brass and enduring. Most women in history could be described as brazen. These women did not let society’s opinions on women’s roles stop them from shaping Kenya’s future.
Staying true to the cause, everything on The Brazen Edition is prepared and delivered by women, including the poster artwork. Too Early For Birds is originally directed by Wanjiku Mwawuganga who is also directing this time. The storytellers are a phenomenal group of women made up of Aleya Kassam, Anne Moraa and Laura Ekumbo. The storytellers will be backed by a familiar cast of on-stage actresses that include Sitawa Namwalie, Suki Wanza, Nyokabi Machana and Mercy Mbithe. The poster artwork was done by Jebet Naava.
Such showcases that focus on women’s achievement have become more visible in the mainstream international community. A great example is Vashti Harrison who authored the book, Little Leaders; Bold Women In Black History, that became an instant New York Times’ Bestseller. Not only are such creations informative but they are a nod to badass women. They are an inspiration to the current and coming generation of women to be unapologetic and fierce about their dreams.
The Brazen Edition will be a show worth your time. It will be a different kind of recognition that we are not used to as a country, and in general. It will be a time for women in Kenyan history to tell their story through an artistic form.
That being said, I hope you are interested enough to give it your time and a few of your coins. their latest edition is showing at Kenya National Theatre on 27th, 28th and 29th July. Advance tickets retail for Kshs 1,000 and Kshs 1,500 for gate tickets.
For more on how Too Early For Birds came to be, their research process and future plans check out an interview with the creators of the show – Too Early For Birds: Retelling Our Stories In A Badass Way