As with music, stories too command attention; but too often, we let ourselves down with the lack of it. Let us think for a minute, shall we? When was the last time you had a pining to dig into a book or article about Kenyan history? While chances are that it has been quite some time now, I have a better answer; some time soon!

August 2019 marked what would have been Thomas Joseph Odhiambo Mboya’s 89th birthday. To celebrate this anniversary, we will be benefiting from a stage production by Too Early for Birds; a powerful production that has a great deal to say about their art of storytelling. Perhaps the greatest they can say is that it permits us to learn about a history misrepresented or otherwise dismissed.

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So far, the success of Too Early for Birds has been a matter of daring and dedication much more than money and fame. So, why not show up in support and appreciation of all that and more? For details about this year’s show, refer to poster below.

My theory that it is impossible to leave a Too Early for Birds performance without either donning a smile on your face or having learnt something new still stands. I have just now purchased my ticket to this month’s TEFB dubbed The Brazen Edition – a show that will feature an all women crew broadcasting untold stories of brazen women past.

The Brazen Edition is about the unapologetic existence; space taking, opportunity seizing, ceiling shattering, mind blowing women. They are you. They are me. They are us.

History has at any time been what it is now – writing, publishing and archiving with a particular gloss over women. So, what is it about women that attracts such intensive diminution despite their being so powerful beings?

In this derisive world, it is all too easy to diminish and erase other people simply because they are audacious. This kind of erasure is exactly what happened to Kenyan women whose vast contributions in the fight towards many freedoms we enjoy today has, for many years during and after the colonial era, been largely erased.

I will suppose that the answer to my question above is based on the fear of what they could and can accomplish and I will also suppose that history isn’t the demon per se. For the patriarchal, this will be an adventure outside of their comfort zone.

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Date: 27th to 29th July 2018

Time: 7-9 pm (Friday); 2-4 pm and 7-9 pm (Saturday and Sunday)

Venue: Kenya National Theatre

Tickets: *KES 1,000/- (Advance) and KES 1,500/- (Gate)

*To be purchased via M-Pesa Till Number: 734196

It is an interesting idea to have stories played out for me for it reminds me of my childhood days when I’d ask my grandma to tell me tales of their life experiences. Thus, it was a splendid experience to see the stories I’ve previously read or heard in passing come alive on stage.

It was a full house at the Louis Leakey Auditorium when I attended the September 2017 edition. The dynamic control and showmanship was great that accentuated key acts such as the Reverend Timothy Njoya’s role in post-independence Kenya, Professor Wangari Muta Maathai’s environmental activism as well as the Great Battles of Lumboka and Chetambe. It’s also here-forth that my colleagues, on learning the origin of the name Juja, now keep telling me to start introducing myself as ‘Jaju from Juja’, ufff!

I remember being both impressed and moved by the performance then. Still, I did have my reservations about some members of the cast but I figure it’s rather too late to critique now, and in any case, the two key acts were both intelligent and spirited. Laura too; the brilliance and power of her voice. Additionally, it gave me much to mull over; so much that I am all too ready to attend their upcoming show in January 2018 for another round of stories.

The creative scene is positively boasting of young talent and you can’t say that Kenya’s history is not reeling towards success with the duo that is Ngatia and Abu Sense. Too Early for Birds has offered up a stage for the retelling and rewriting of her stories (un)told and where it benefits from Owaahh’s extensive research work, we can expect a thrilling theatrical experience.

I have no doubt whatsoever that Kenya’s past heroes and heroines would be glad to hear their struggles and achievements acknowledged and relished by many. As for the current and future generations, much stands to be learned and much will be learned; and once the Too Early for Birds team has taken over the reins of the art scene, we will begin to gain a stronger impression of the lessons that lie ahead of us.

Once again, I find myself in the sweet spot of a target audience who won’t pass up an excuse to enthuse another great performance.. This time, the show will be held at the Kenya National Theatre on the 13th and 14th of January 2018. Perhaps it will shed light on the Ouko and Pinto murders or maybe, Kenya’s colonial economy and the transition to neo-colonialism. Perhaps it will highlight how foreign capital has ‘Kenyanized’ the equity; whatever the show holds in store, I can only say that mine is a quiet anticipation.

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Tickets are going for KES 1,000/- (advance) and KES 1,500/- (At the door) and can be purchased via M-Pesa Till Number: 734196