I'm in my thirties, (twenties if you're thinking of casting me in your project) and I got into this industry ages ago. Well it feels like it's been ages. When I first got the hunch that I could actually do this, I was hardly out of high school and I really did believe I could fly. Thank God that hasn't changed. I still see myself soaring out into the sky until my perfect fantasy abruptly ends with a loud thud as I fall on some unsuspecting passer by.
Now where was I, like really? Let's see something about age and time..hmmm. I guess I'm trying to pin my thoughts together into one coherent stream and the one thing that seems to stand out is how easy you guys have it now. Somebody stop me before I say "you young Ones!" but yeah, you young and fresh faced kids, I'm talking to you! You have it good. I remember earning Kes 500 for one performance. Good thing the economy had not gone to the dogs and I could still manage to shop and get some bus fare from my meager earnings. The stage ah,the stage was a sight to behold. Not any and every Tom, Dick and Jane could have just landed there. It was a preserve of the greats. By this I'm referring to the older second generation of authentic Kenyan actors.
I first experienced great craftsmanship on stage when I watched my first set book, starring :Johhny Githui, Kebaya Moturi and Gilbert Lukhalia. Alright there, I caught that! Only a first rate idiot would dare ask me who these are! Don't you have any respect for your elders? While am at it, (Big breath in, out) it's alright. I get where you're coming from really. It's this everybody can be a star mantra so long as you were born somewhere in the nineties. It's not your fault. I blame Britney Spears. No really, I have to blame someone! Seriously though, pop culture has us all believing that anyone can be a star; look at the number of TV contests and reality shows out there. No disrespect to the new-kids-on-the-block with their chiseled chests, long weaves and doll faces, there used to be some real talent in this country. (Did I just say used to be?) They disappeared into this rat race of a life, went to make the real bucks. You know, the kind of cash that's predictable and makes you feel like a worthy citizen of this country, taxes and all. These three however and a few more (you know yourselves), can be found on or behind the camera expanding their portfolios and I do believe one of the above veterans is a choreographer of great repute. They're still basking under those bright lights. A true artiste never stops yearning for those bright lights even if it means they have to mentor newbies and sit in the background to gaze at the vast experience that time has gifted them with.
You want to know how to make it in this industry? Tell me who Wanjiku Kinyanjui is & which films she's made ,why James Falkland was considered one of the best directors and who are the some of the first actors from Kenya to make it big on the silver screen. Just to make it easier for all you digital folks, Google these names: Paul Onsongo, David Mulwa, the late Sidede Onyulo, John Sibi Okumu and Njeri Osaak.
Before you walk down that red carpet, kindly break down the rudiments of stage acting and why they are so vital to any actor worth their salt, no matter the caliber Before you happily queue for your next audition, make sure you know what it means to upstage an actor, and why breathing and physical exercise play a pivotal role in developing one's posture, on stage or on screen.
DO YOUR RESEARCH! Then you'll be ready for your next lesson. Go get 'em tiger!
By Valentine Ziki