Theatre is my livelihood
My “Know I Should”
My “Always Would.”
Ever since I was a child, storytelling has been a part of my life. Back then, it was an escape from getting into trouble—but usually the opposite happened. Having spent quite a bit of time in the coat closet at elementary school for “stretching the truth of a situation,” one would think I would have given up on this venture. Many were the times when the priests would lecture me in the confessional—guess it just didn’t soak in!
The guiding principal for me is, “Hwendo na bua” which in my language, Fon, means, “Our culture and origin will not disappear.” I grew up in Benin; a small country in West Africa. In order to maintain strong family ties, and pass on history, values and traditions, my mother would bring her children together for stories before bedtime. One important way in which West African traditions and cultures are being preserved is through the art of vivid and exciting storytelling. Furthermore, I was exposed to traditional ceremonies during frequent visits to my mother’s home village of Ouidah. I loved the drumming and dancing, and even as a child, I absorbed the significance of the rituals as well as their pageantry. I embody the spirit of the original intent of the dances and costumes.