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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Tuesday, March 04, 2008


I do solemnly declare that anyone who thinks acting is easy is completely ignorant. First there is the issue of talent which cannot be bought or negotiated, you either have it or you don’t. Then there is the issue of training and honing your skills which is very technical, finally there is inhabiting your role which is a complex process.

I learnt this when I did vagina monologues two years ago and yesterday, all of those lessons came rushing back. The other thing I can tell you is that our inability to as yet organize Nollywood is such a disservice to the immense talent of some of our actors. I have seen Bimbo Akintola and Kate Henshaw in Nollywood videos before but the genre horribly limits their abilities. Omono is such a phenomenal talent on stage that I can only imagine how she will translate on film. Then there is the sultry beautiful Tunde Aladese who has that lethal combination of brains, talent and cat like beauty. You absolutely must see her perform re-vulva which she also wrote. I was completely out of my depth, it didn’t help that I hadn’t learnt my lines either. Fortunately I had been given a waka pass speech like monologue which allows me be myself but oh to have the range of Omono, the subtlety of Tunde, the power of Kate and the sheer genius madness and voice of Yinka Davies. There are also stage veterans like Lala and Jayla who are professional and talented but the revelation of yesterday's rehearsal for me was Ashionye.

Ashionye is often misunderstood and there are some things that I know she will come into full understanding of in time in her career to help her unleash her true self but that girl can act and she works very hard. You should have seen her “own” her pidgin speaking heavy Igbo/Efik accented role in maintenance culture. She was fierce, totally brilliant and a real delight. One more thing, Bimbo is a mean cook, you needed o have tasted the peppered chicken she made and brought to rehearsals today, it was to die for!

The monologues produced in Nigeria by KIND have this year been adapted for Nigeria by a talented group of writers with true Nigerian stories and scenarios complete with drumming, music and dance. Which reminds me I had better go and start learning my lines and practising my dance… kere gba, ke gba kere gba gba..The first show is on Thursday in Abuja and Wole Oguntokun directs.


Damola said...

I am looking forward to the programme and I hope to attend one of the venues in Lagos...Yea acting sure is a very big thing, I had the opportunity to see the making of a new movie in Abeokuta a few weeks ago and I can sure say that those actors are doing a big job.


Anonymous said...

is this going to be aired??? and when??? or is it going to be put on dvd or sth...?? and yh acting is diff but it doesn't show that the actors and actresses work hard cuz of the shooting, directing, costumes and dialogue they given..ah well

AlooFar said...

Hi FI,

Ever since I read the V-monologue, my fascination about everything “V” has somewhat assumed a different clime. To be frank, that book, notwithstanding its content, should be seen as a typical “V-meter” in measuring a people’s attitude towards “the hallowed pit”. I can’t detail how much mischief I perpetrated with the book. When I got the book, as a gift from a visiting German friend, everyone who saw me in public with the book almost tagged “anti” in front of my name, Chris, just because the front cover of the book screams the title. To my surprise, the same people founnd their way to have a good feast on the book, out of public glare. We’re bloody HYPROCRITICAL here. That got me laughing. I even offered to borrow a lecturer, a supposed feminist. She declined on such ground that “that’s demeaning”. My “V”ery Christian friends just hated me. LHM.

Somehow, somehow… one of the accounts I handle in my agency loves to have their communication materials to bear sexual innuendoes. A fair share of my inspiration has been from Eve Einsler.

I stand for anything the book stands for.

I just hope I will make it to the event.

Goodluck on your reheasrsals.

Nonesuch said...

Its a date @ Terra on the 20th

Pumping! said...

Where is it going to hold in Abuja? Please i have to know soonest.
Not read the book so really excited.

Anonymous said...

I've enquired at British Council Abuja and am told the tickets are not being sold there. Could somebody PLEASE let me know wia i can get the tickets, would love to go. Incredible opportunity dont u think! Better than BOGOF; i get to watch the production AND see most of my favorite female Nigerian stars!!!!!

Sherri said...

wish i could see u guys in action!(sigh)

wishing u a monumental performance Funmi.

Anonymous said...

hey, aunty funmi.ur write up on acting is really cool.how is work and all.today`s my birthday.tobi amokeodo

Ms. Catwalq said...

All I am missing....

I hope to get a chance to see it when it is done. Maybe there will be a DVD available for purchase?

Anonymous said...

i agree that there is talent in nigeria, but i also know that there is a difference between stage and television. the problem with nollywood is often, impo, that actors act on screen as if they were on stage; overdramatising and exxaggerating in stage-fashion, what should be a mere, say, flicker of the wrist.

stage is a very powerful medium, but it is almost in direct contrast to television. there is a breach between both in nigerian productions.

Anonymous said...

Ashionye really is misunderstood...

Funmi Iyanda said...

@ damola, there you are, an area of life to get creative and strategic about affecting.

@anonymous 1.24, hmmm, must discuss this with Hafsat and Amy of KIND.

@aloofar, the vagina monologues is an incredible book, l read it about 5 years ago and have given countless away. our unreasonable fear of the subject of sex and sexuality in the face of our abuse of it can be amusing but once people are helped to get beyond the stridency to the very important issues raised by books such as the V monologues, enlightenment dawns. As per the "feminist"? no right thinking feminist will reject the monologues.
@pumping, please go to laspapi's blog for all thedetails.

Anonymous said...

will this only be a stage production, or will it also be available on DVD and if so how can folks who r not in Naija get to watch it.

1stpet2v9 said...


Ladi said...

I did the Vagina Monologues at my university last year for a fund raiser. It was a great experince.

Apparently, according to an article, some of the monolgues are offensive to certain religion/ morals if you study deep through the monolgues (like the statutory rape of a 13 yr old in "The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could" monolgue in Ensler's book)

Its done for good cause though. I'm sure it will be great in Nigeria.