My Big Fat Nigerian Wedding
As part of my 30 Nigeria Commission, which 30 of us won 2012 as part of the Olympic Celebration, I decided that I was going to write a play, not just any play, but a play called My Big Fat Nigerian Wedding, a comedy about a daughter, Mary, whose religious mother Abi, decides along with the help of Abi’s mother Doris, to marry Mary off behind her back without her knowing. The idea of the play was to be a satire, it was to be a voice that showcased everything we love as Nigerians but still show everything that we must face as Nigerians.
During this period, I had workshop sessions, I spoke to friends about the piece, and after I saw down with Dawn and Shawab from Stratford Theatre, in the end I guess it just didn’t sit well with me. They pointed out things that I had thought off and I realised I wasn’t “feeling it” – emotively, I really had no passion for it. It’s a great idea, one that I hope one day to revisit, but I felt something was missing, I felt it wasn’t “yet” relevant to me to write. The play actually stemmed from another unfinished product, and I guess I felt like that had to be finished for me to move on. It had more relevance to me and it was a story that I have always wanted to tell. It does the same things as My Big Fat Nigerian Wedding; showcasing what we must face as Nigerians…or as black people. It is about a religious woman, Abi, who finds out her daughter Mary is a lesbian, she then has to deal with her present but must first overcome her hidden past with her mother Doris who now suffers from Dementia. For me this was a play where I got to do so many things and explore culture in a way that I don’t feel has been done before. So I’m on my 3rd, or is it 4th or 5th draft…who knows? It all kind of gets lost in the Abyss of Drafts, you walk in and all you see are these swirling pieces of paper in the air, each at one point a part of you but destined to one day be forgotten.
I’m still putting together pieces of this story that are needed, pieces that Dawn and Shawab have helped me find which I didn’t know where right there staring in my face! The exciting part is that I’m loving all of it, I’m loving finding out who these characters really are deep down inside, what shapes them, makes them want to live, makes them who they are! I don’t know how many more drafts I have, but I’m looking forward to each and every one of them.
By Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor