A Piece of Paradise


A Proud member of Syracuse Stand

Tasneem Tewogbola

Tasneem is a graduate of H.W. Smith, Levy Middle School, Nottingham High School and Syracuse University. She is currently a writer and a teacher. She volunteers her time serving on two boards: Wacheva Inc. and Belize Inc. She shares her gift of storytelling with young audiences and mentors teens who are interested in becoming writers and performers.

Outside of this, she enjoys distance running, West African dance, reading, traveling, studying and speaking different languages, cooking, daydreaming, journaling and motherhood.

She would like the see a “looking back” column from community elders about their memories of growing up on the South Side become a regular feature in The Stand. She would also like a similar column for youth about the memories they are creating now

Yemurai makes her Debut in August Wilson’s “Fences” as Raynell.

Actors usually loosen up before stepping onstage. Meditation, deep breathing, stretching, rehearsing lines, the list goes on.One young actress making her stage debut in “Fences” at Syracuse Stage has set her priorities.

“I brush my teeth and dance,” says Yemurai Tewogbola, of Syracuse, who turned 7 on Thursday.

“Dancing takes one-half of my energy out. I only need one-half of my energy.”

Yemurai has a long wait before she enters onstage near the play’s end. She portrays Raynell, the daughter of protagonist Troy Maxson in August Wilson’s drama of family conflict. Her speaking role calls for singing and a wardrobe change from flannel nightgown to a “nice dress.”

This is Yemurai’s first theater experience, and she knows what’s required. “I have to be really loud,” says the young actress, who delivers her lines without the assistance of a microphone. She repeats Producing Artistic Director Timothy Bond’s other directions: no stomping of feet, take her time, rehearse lines a lot. And, “I should stand straight and pay attention to what the other actors are saying.”

Syracuse Stage chose Yemurai for the part after auditions.

On her day off, Yemurai plays on the computer with her sisters Asali, 4, and Zenani, 2, in the Syracuse apartment of her parents, Tasneem and Zuberi Tewogbola. The 7-year-old, who is all legs, wears a long purple dress and T-shirt. She is as bold in her fashion choices as she is confident onstage.

Yemurai, who is home-schooled, has eclectic tastes. She likes the music of Justin Bieber, Black Eyed Peas and Akon and enjoys watching PBS’ “The Electric Company” and YouTube and playing DressUpGames and FunBrain on the computer.

At month’s end, Yemurai will take her final bow and can dance purely in celebration of her professional debut.

Part Time Writer, Full Time Mother

This is the story of a former reporter who gave up her career to raise her kids. Tasneem Tewogbola gave up a promising journalsim career to raise her kids. She graduated from S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. She also worked as a reporter for The Post-Standard.

Gil Scott Heron

Titilayo and Baba

Yemurai Talks about Fences

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