The following story has been written and told by Leilla Chebet (in her own words), a village girl. This is what she has to say about our acting industry. PS:Do not pay attention to the grammatical errors but to the message being passed across. .
One of the objectives of vision 2030 is to develop theater/acting industries and nature talents. The question remains,“ How do we achieve this goal?” .
Acting industry in Kenya grows at a slow rate. Why? The strategies used for acquiring actors/actreses is surely not good at all. Greed is what is killing slowly the development of our acting industry. People try to be what they are not, just becouse they want to be celebrity and get money. “Now that am the director, I will make sure my relatives and friends get a chance to the industry with or without the potential of acting!!” .
We are left with those with nobody to help them get inside with no option but to surrender their talents because they will never get a chance to be to the industry. Am happy to hear of those drama group which conduct their auditions openly. A good example to the few who still live in past. Have you ever asked youself why Kenyans Would rather watch Nigeria’s, Televisas or Philippines Movies than Kenyans? It is not that kenyans cannot act! We have the best actors/actresses but they have not yet been discovered .And so the solution to make kenyans movie appreciated lies in our hands. So what is to be done? [SUGGESTIONS ON STRATEGIES TO BE USED WHEN ACQUIRING ACTORS/ACTRESES] .
1. whenever their is auditions, few people turn up. Maybe because the audition was a hidden affair or many were not able to reach where auditions were being held. Example, when audition are being held in towns, someone from the village will never get informed of where and when is to take place. The best way to reach everyone is by organizing events like Drama competition especially in villages such that the villagers would be given opportunity to exploit their talents by writing plays, narratives and poets then present them. At the end of the event, we would have discovered new talents both in acting and script writing. Since someone from town or city is exposed and will always know when their is auditions, I prefer auditions to be held in cities and town as Events being held in villeges. why events in villages and auditions in town? Most people were brought up in villages, they went to local schools where they knew English as a subject and not as a language. So if you combine those born in town and those from the village and you espect them to compite in auditions, those from tha village will obviously shy away. Everybody should be given an opportunity to exploit his talent whether he/she is poor or rich.
2. When we carry out auditions(in towns and cities),we should look at everything in a person that qualify him/her as an actor/actress. This include; Talent, Creativity, courage, communication skills, sense of humor and last of all, fluently. Actualy, not everybody can talk fluently. Their are many roles in a play and so let those who can talk fluently take major roles and minor ones to be given to those not fluent or they act in Plays writen in language they best understand, so that everybody is given a chanse and we do not end up ignoring those who might be having great talent in acting.
3. we should go down to every school right from the lower primary to High schools and encourage participation in Drama and music festivals such that at the end of the day, each school to have a list of talented actors. This might be a long term solution since one would be able to start acting as a career at a young age so that when he/she grows up,he/she would have experience in the industry enough to be a Movie star.
4. We must win fans all over the world. To do this, our own people should first accept Kenyans movie. All ever nominated actors from Tahidi high, Hilla,Beba beba, Machachari, Tabasamu and many others to come together and shoot atleast five Movies. This way we would have trap attention of Kenyans and internationals because their stars would be cast and so they will be interested in watching .This will be just an introduction and advertisment of kenyan best Movies before emberking on serious production which will live everyone amazed. If we put all our heads together and stop looking down on others, am sure everybody will want to watch Kenyan movie.
5. Our media, mostly Television stations! We keep advertising other countries Movies and we forget our own. Example, when we spend a half of the day showing a movie from other country and twenty five minutes only to show your own country's Movie!! Surely!. If only our media would change this and make it half-half,in that kenyans are given time to enjoy Movie from their country, then our acting industry would move to a higher level just like Naigeria or Mexico.
If put all this in place, then Kenya would be seen as, a home of Famous Musician, a Country of Movie stars, a Nation of very talented comedians, a Centre of tourist attraction and a paradise that every nation will want to follow as an example. Yes, we can change the view about Kenyans movie by working together. My final plea is to the government, private sectors and international sectors to come together and help in naturing dieng talents from villages to cities thus developing theater industry in kenya. Acting or singing can directly or indirectly change the behaviour of a person, Tags can be changed to pastors and wickedness to righteousness. This can change the image of a country too .The die as been cast and so must we act.
We from the actors.co.ke team give a round of applause to leilla Chebet for the courage to speak out.