Miriam Nyokabi's "Brazen" performance
- I was very scared of what my mom would say or what the audience would be thinking when I was doing this.
- I eventually got used to the idea and I just fell in love with Wangu's character.
The just concluded Too Early For Birds (TEFB) “Brazen Edition”, an all-women play, sold out days before it was staged. The play showcased at Kenya National Theatre (KNT) for three days last weekend.
The featured stories in this edition included those of Zarina Patel, Mekatilili, Chelagat Mutai, Wangu wa Makeri, Field Marshall Muthoni, and The taking down of Lwanda Magere – the woman’s story.
One of the actors did exceptionally well, Miriam Nyokabi. What was exceptional about her characters - yes, she played five of them - was how she brought them to life. From Mekatilili wa Menza, Wangu wa Makeri, Nandi girl, Roba to Zarina Patel, Ms Nyokabi was on point.
Speaking to ActScene she said it was quite difficult to find that trigger or entry point into the different characters, but she wouldn't have pulled it off without the director's help, Wanjiku Mwawuganga.
“She took me through the whole process of discovering these characters. I had a daily journal where she had me, and the other cast members, write what we felt about the characters each day after rehearsals, which helped me peel out the layers of the characters,” said Nyokabi.
It was always her goal for people to connect with her as a performer, “I feel completely overwhelmed. I actually cried when I saw people's reactions. I was genuinely humbled to see people actually connect to my characters.”
Nyokabi adds that Zarina and Nandi girl were the most difficult for her to play because Zarina's part had very little dialogue, which meant she had to communicate more with her body language. “I had to dig into my imagination of what might have been happening with the scenes before my dialogue so that the character is true to the moment.”
She had feared what her mother would say after she watched her portray Wangu because it involved sex scenes.
"I was very scared of what my mom would say or what the audience would be thinking when I was doing this. I eventually got used to the idea and I just fell in love with Wangu's character."
Her favourite character was Mekatilili because she got to do a Beyonce number and there was a lot of dancing involved, which was so much fun especially working with GQ dancers who were so patient with her.
She doesn’t know if there will be future dates for the play, because many who wanted to watch it couldn’t get tickets, but she hopes to have a tour with "Too Early for Birds" around the country and teaching kids about their history.