UP CLOSE WITH MARTIN GITHINJI
Martin Githinji (Daddiemarto) an on stage and On screen entertainer or a Certified Public Entertainer as he prefers to call himself, tells us about the character he is on stage, on the screen and in real life.
How old are you?
I was born in 1987
Where and what do you study?
Weird story this one. When I joined Kenyatta University, I started with B. Ed Sociology and Maths but after the first semester, I changed to Maths and Business options. 2 years later, my focus changed and I knew I had to go back to my first and only true love- Theatre Arts and Film Technology. I therefore changed course and went back three years, for the love of art.
When did your passion for Film and Theatre start?
I would say when I was 3 years old. I started with solo verse poems and plays where I stared as Jesus in church. All through primary school and secondary school, my passion for this art grew day by day. In Kangaru School, I acted in plays where I was always cast as the woman because of my then high-pitched voice . In most of these plays, I won best actor’s awards. I already knew that I had found my true love.
When and how did you join the mainstream Film and Theatre Industry?
After high school, I auditioned for Planets Theatre. I was privileged to act with the likes of Nice Githinji . After a few months , I joined Theatrix Arts and later on Heartstrings and then Starlight Productions. After receiving my University admission letter, I had to go slow on the acting and thus left Starlight. In campus, I joined Kenyatta University Travelling Theatre.
My screen debut was an advert I did with the Redikyulass Casting Agency for an NTV Turning on Your Vote commercial String. Later on, I was recommended for a Noose of Gold Pilot project. It is through this that I was given a role in the show. Around the same time, I auditioned for XYZ and got a role as a voice artist. All this networking enabled me to get roles in the other shows that I am currently acting in: Nairobi Law and Tabasamu.
How did you manage all this while you were still in school?
Lucky for me, the busiest of my acting career happened to be at a time when KU was on a long break. However, I believe that the more God gives you, the more is expected of you. So one way or another, Gods grace sees you through.
In all these shows, give us an insight into the characters you play.
In XYZ, I enact voices from generic characters and others like Gitobu Imanyara, Francis Mutahaura, the XYZ Pastor, Mwaniki the hawker and Storm Ramamudha the reporter. In Noose of Gold, I am a janitor caught in a love triangle between a student, her best friend, and the school headmistress.
In Tabasamu, I am Kamenyi ;the know it all drunkard -a character that was developed from the one I played in Nairobi Law, Maxwell the spoiled drunkard son to the owner of the law firm.
That you are in all these shows showing in the local stations, does the attention suffocate you?
Having been on the limelight in KU because of KUTT, the crowd there is used to me. Actually, I think they are more proud of me than they would be infatuated by me and that is what I like about them. The outside crowd...eer, it honours me when someone recognizes me on the street but sometimes it can scare the hell out of me.
What do you think of the Kenyan Film Industry? Is it growing? Does it pay?
The industry is growing; we are just at the last phase where everything and anything goes, before the really good productions curve a niche for themselves, separating from those that are there to just be there.
About the payment, like any job, it depends on the employment package that exists between you and your employer. I have to have 4 consecutive acting jobs not because I have a lot of time on my hands no, but because one cant really sustain you that well on its own. But we are gaining ground. Its something you can sustain a family on. We have no retirement age for acting, its infinite!!
Other than acting and being a student?
I am the outgoing organising secretary in the KU students Association. I am also a former presenter and producer at the university radio station, KU Fm. I also do stand up comedy in open mic gigs around Nairobi. I started with Wamathai Open Mic and because of that first performance; I ended up being the MC together with Della the songstress for the subsequent events by Wamathai.
How would you describe yourself?
I am an entertainer more than a comedian- I want people to see how smart and critical I am not how stupid and funny. I am an all round individual: I can sing, dance, and act. I am the technician and handyman in IT and electronics. I am also very spiritual. I love my Mum and my babysister. I am a clean-hearted person. Wait ,did I say that I love my mum?
Are you dating?
By the time this interview is published, I might be dating but as of now, No.
Tell us something we might not know about you.
I am a geek, I am shy, and I have the hot-chick-phobia. Google that.
I do not want to put a finger on an exact target, but the media is my playground.
Interviewed by Jacque Ndinda at Chicamod