African Folklore Inspires Young and Old with Life Lessons

Florida A&M’s Essential Theatre will bring the children’s tale “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” to life tonight.

Originally written by John Steptoe and adapted into a one-act play by Karen Abbott, “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” is the story of sisters, Manyara and Nyasha. Both are outwardly beautiful but have different personalities. When the king summons them to choose a wife, these differences are magnified and he must choose based on their character rather than looks.

Taking a fable-like approach, using a narrator and an enormous book that doubles as a set piece, the play teaches lessons that are easily transferable across all age groups and cultures.

“The principles that are taught stand firm for adults and children,” Kimberly Harding, a theater professor said.

Marci Stringer, director and a theater assistant professor said, although the play is based on a children’s book adults should come see it.

“This book teaches great lessons about character, like respecting and being kind to others and loving others even when they are not so loveable,” Stringer said.

The piece is based off a traditional African folklore.

“The show centers around beauty and the message is that beauty comes from within,” said Harding.

The production also promises high energy, music and opportunities for audience members to participate.

“The new element is how we tell the story,” said Stringer. “There is music, live drums, wonderful costumes and a huge storybook on stage.

The play encourages participation in the storytelling. It literally comes off the page and into their laps, with a sort of 3-D experience.”

Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $5 for student/child and $5 for FAMU students.

Performances will run from Nov. 9-11 at 8 p.m. and on Nov. 12 at 2 p.m. at Charles Winter Wood Theater in Tucker Hall.

For more information contact FAMU’s Essential Theatre at 850-561-2425.