My name is Zoë and I am 21 years old. I recently graduated from The University of Nottingham where I studied English. I am now back in London (my home town) working on ‘Iyalode of Eti’ and a few other projects.
I have known the writer of the script, Debo Oluwatuminu all of my life, as he and my parents were friends long before I came along. From time to time, Debo would give me a draft of whatever script he was working on at the time and ask for my feedback. A few weeks ago, he did the same with a script titled ‘Iyalode of Eti’. He explained that he was working on a Yoruba adaptation of ‘The Duchess of Malfi’. This was my introduction to this project. At this point in time I had definitely heard about ‘The Duchess of Malfi’ but I hadn’t read it – yet.
So I started to make my way through the script. Whilst it made for good reading, I didn’t think that my relationship with the script would develop further than supporting Debo by seeing the shared reading in September. Debo called a few days after and told me about the Assistant Director vacancy. I was initially frightened as I did not think that I had much experience, but I thought that it was worth a go even if I made a fool of myself, because the project sounded so interesting.
As part of my preparation process for the interview, I read both ‘The Duchess of Malfi’ and ‘Iyalode of Eti’. I chose to read them at the same time. After finishing Act 1 of ‘The Duchess of Malfi’, I would turn to Act 1 of ‘Iyalode of Eti’ and so on.
I really appreciate the fact that the story is set in pre-colonial Yorubaland because, it allows us to explore a culture that I did not read much about in school. I am proud to see that pre-colonial Yoruba society was so advanced and sophisticated that it is able to parallel the society that is depicted in ‘The Duchess of Malfi’.
I also loved how easy it was to infer meaning from the text despite the Yoruba vocabulary. Even though I am half Yoruba, I am (sadly) not fluent in the language. I was initially concerned that I would be alienated from the Iyalode’s world. Fortunately, I still understood the script as meaning was embedded within the text.