Nne, translates as mother and Obanje as spirit child in the Igbo language native to Nigeria; Nne and the Obanje Child translating as ‘Mother and the Spirit Child’. A story dating back thousands of years, the tale tells the story of Nne Eze or Mother Leader, an integral figure within her community who laments the loss of her eight children, who now inhabit the spirit world.
Nne Eze‘s deepest wish is to become a mother once more. On her pursuit to attain this, she makes a deal with river geni Osimiri to have one of her children return, but in doing so, must keep to a set of important conditions. Performed by Shanti-Chi, consisting of Griot Chinyere, Chi Onyekwere, Shediyah HatNenMaoo and Flavia McDonald, Nne’s emotional story is imaginatively mapped out on the beautifully African material adorned stage of The Space, plant pots cleverly alluding to the show’s elemental basis. The ensemble illuminate the world of Nne and her village, a woman sadly outcasted by those around her due to her circumstances. The theme of motherhood a powerful and prevalent one here, Nne’s status and worth determined by circumstances beyond her control.
Griot Chinyere adapts and directs a thoughtful and vivid production; in keeping with African storytelling tradition, interactivity plays a crucial role. The intention of this being that the experience is a lively one, not passive. We help to determine the character’s fates and join in, the show grasping onto the story’s natural sense of adventure. The colourful world established is built up by the language of the cast, which is magical to experience. The show embodies plenty of heart, and emphasises the power of community. The evening ends with a brief discussion on the show’s morals and messages, of which we all have our own, yet also bear similarity to those around us. This is a lovely continuation of the show itself as it further builds on the communal aspect, but in the wider world. An imaginative and creative evening, a considered watch.
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
Nne and the Obanje Child is currently showing until Friday 15th October 2021 at The Space Theatre. To find out more about the production, visit here…