Just over a week from today, 20th November 2010 between 10.00 a.m and 11.00 a.m, I will walk through those gigantic gates of the Kenya Cultural Centre, commonly referred to as The Kenya National Theatre, nothing strange and nothing new, just that at that particular Saturday will be the same date, same day and relatively same time that i walked into the same venue five years ago, to start my life as my own man, an artist. I will find almost everyone I encountered on that very same day in 2005. The difference is, they will not be seated on those “frustration benches” as they most of them did then. The times have changed and things are relatively better than they were those five years past.
My first experience as an actor was not a rosy one, in the hands of Benson Okumu. Out of a group of 25 young, ambitious and willing actors and actresses, it is sad to not that I remain the only member of that group that withered the storm. That experience is to blame for my attitude towards the Kenyan Theatre Industry… the urge to change the industry, the spirit to have a better where exploitation will never be the order of the day. That spirit has been my driving point in this last five years and it has earned me more enemies than admirers. Anyway, the last five years have had both good and bad stories. It has seen me do everything and anything in the name of arts. I’ve been conned, have got paid, have been called names, have been celebrated, have been scorned, have been feted the list is endless. But one thing is, I have seen it all in the last five years. The fighter in me has endured and enjoyed what arts has brought me this past years. Most importantly, I have been in the bad books of most people coz of my being too vocal and never knowing to keep quite. From Producers to Actors, from Directors to Journalists, I have been known to be this guy who will not spare you if you get stupid with him. I’ve dragged Directors to Police Stations, punched up with fellow actors, pumped sense into our journalists and made enemies and friends among them too. In short, I have been the Mr. Try Fix It. for the theatre industry.
The last three months have been different, those few admirers say that I’ve gone underground, while others think that i have been systemized, those emails and inboxes that have been coming to me over this and that complains from those aggrieved theatre practitioners no-longer make my notes.My facebook page is not that active while my blog has gone down, Roy has become a “softie”, so I’m told. The truth is, I decided to take a break form controversy, with the help of that beautiful woman who has made me realize so many things that I decided to overlook in my career. Honestly, it is high time that someone also took the mantle, someone need to come forward and fight for the industry, just as much as I have tried doing. We are all out to make the industry better, make it profitable for all and have us realize our dreams. But we can’t achieve that when only one person puts his career on the brink, while all the other people who “support” him are either on location shooting or are involved in this and that project. As I spend time correcting the wrongs, others who “share the same vision” are out there making money, pretending to be part of the movement. They are the same people overhead “talking” how hard Roy is to work with yet they are the same people who will send you ideas on what is happening that is not pleasant! Get me clearly, I’m not throwing the button, I not giving up the fight neither I’m I giving up the fight for a better industry, all I’m doing is, giving one of the millions of you “change oriented” artists out there a chance to take the battle with the same zeal I have and lead the fight. A good soldier, perceived to be a coward remains at the back row at a battlefield, but he lives to fight another day, maybe that day has come and as Ogolla Roy K’ohadha, who has been in the forefront, has just got wounded, someone else needs to rally the troupes to the future. It is a hard decision to make, it will be termed treachery, some will term it cowardice while others will make jokes out of it, but the I will stand by my decision and I don’t regret it. Because…… I’m five years wiser.