The Last King of Scotland – rehearsal photos and update

We’ve just finished week 5 of rehearsals and have moved out of the rehearsal room. Tomorrow we will be on the main stage at the Crucible Theatre for tech week.

So far, so good. In fact, so far, so amazing. The play is powerful and emotional with distinctive characters who are forced to endure very difficult circumstances.

I am enjoying playing Kay Amin, wife to former president Idi Amin, because she is courageous, loving and has a big heart. I get to challenge myself by exploring/playing dark and heavier emotions, as well as lighter, brighter moments of joy and comedy.

My fellow actors are incredible and everyone fits their role perfectly. Our director, Gbolahan, has a strong vision. The play is huge and emotionally charged, but Gbolahan has been thorough and thoughtful towards us as actors and all aspects of the play’s execution.

I’m excited to finally perform our show in front of an audience – honestly, I can’t stress enough how much of a blessing this opportunity is. We have all been working meticulously and patiently to contribute and create a powerful show. I hope that our audiences will walk out feeling reflective and different.

Below are pictures from the last few weeks of rehearsals. All pictures taken by Helen Murray.

CASTING NEWS

I’ve landed my first job post-drama school. Woohoo!

I’ll be playing Kay Amin in The Last King of Scotland by Steve Waters at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. The play is based on the book by Giles Foden and will be directed by Gbolahan Obisesan.

Rehearsals start on August 19th so I’ll be moving up to Sheffield in less than 2 weeks and that’s where I’ll be based until late October-ish.

I’m looking forward to working with Gbolahan, whose work I love, and meeting the entire cast and crew. As the play is set in Ugandan the cast will be majority black so I’m extra excited for that. In the meantime, I shall get stuck into the prep and get my bags READY!

 

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BASED ON THE NOVEL BY GILES FODEN

ADAPTED FOR THE STAGE BY STEVE WATERS

‘He is the sickness and you maintain that sickness’

Idi Amin is the self-declared President of Uganda. When Scottish medic Nicholas Garrigan becomes his personal physician, he is catapulted into Amin’s inner circle. A useful asset for the British Secret Service, is Garrigan the man on the inside, or does he have blood on his hands too?

The first adaptation of the award-winning novel that inspired the Oscar-winning movie, The Last King of Scotland is an electrifying thriller about corruption and complicity.

I had an audition last week and it didn’t go well.

I had an audition last week and it didn’t go well.

Yesterday I received feedback from the casting director who said my performance was underprepared. I was disappointed when I heard this, not because I was offended but because it was absolutely true.

Let me take you through my audition prep: receives the script, waits 4 days before reading it, reads it once, look at my lines a few times. Job done. I left the audition room looking and feeling pathetic.

The role was for a lead part at a big theatre in London and the way I treated the audition was not on par with the quality of work produced there.

It’s embarrassing to think that a big casting director thought I wasn’t very good, and it’s not what I want people to say about me as an actor. Though this obviously isn’t the end of the world, I will not allow myself to repeat this again. I take full responsibility.

In order to move forward, I’m flipping this experience into a positive.

*Opens window, exhales negative energy and inhales gratitude.*

What I can do now is reevaluate my game plan. I want to finish drama school very strong. I want to feel proud of myself knowing that I worked my ass off and did the best I could, so I’ve got to prepare for that.

That means showing up with the right attitude – a professional attitude. That means doing all the prep and research before I get to the rehearsal room. And above all, it means enjoying the process. The same principles apply to all future auditions as well.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic walking away from auditions or meetings or the rehearsal room knowing that I performed at my best and left a great impression?

This lesson has come at a good time where I need to be consistent with what I’m offering as an actor and in my efforts, ensuring that my identity and self-image are in total alignment with my actions.

My first motivational speech at Parliament Hill School

A few days ago I visited my former secondary school, Parliament Hill School, to give a talk entitled “Don’t Give Up on Your Dreams” to about 150+ students in Year 11. The talk was about self-belief and why it’s so necessary to invest in your skills, dreams and talent.

This event was my first official speaking engagement and I loved every minute of it. I managed to address the young students with authority and conviction in a warm, friendly style.

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Outside the doors of Parliament Hill School

I wanted to give the talk because I remembered how tough it can be as a young person looking ahead and having to make a million decisions about what to do and where to go in the future. Throughout my teenage years I was lucky enough to have been pushed in the right direction, and so today, being in a position to reap the rewards, it’s a message I’m determined to share with others.

Following my talk, it was suggested by members of staff that I become a governor of the school. Now I don’t know what that will really entail, but it does sound pretty fancy, right? I’m going to pretend the role comes with a fabulous title and that I get to wear lots of faux fur and sit on the iron throne sipping on champagne…

My return to Parliament Hill School meant I could catch up briefly with a few of my ex-teachers. A highlight of the day was conversing in French with my former French teacher as confidently and as accurately as a native speaker. Let me tell you I was feeling myself because I proved that I could go all the way. I did it, I never gave up, and nothing could taste sweeter!!!

Next up, I’ve got a Q&A with young, aspiring actors in Derby this weekend with Open Door, an organisation supporting young people to gain access to drama school. It’s an informal event with about 6 or 7 budding actors, but I believe my experience both during and before drama school can help clarify the role and journey of an actor, and hopefully motivate the kids to reach for the stars.

Get me to the theatre!

I haven’t seen a good piece of theatre in a whiiiiiillllle, and in Paris the struggle has been real. French theatre just isn’t for me – hell to the nah, to the nah, nah, naaaah!

But good thing I’m back in London pretty soon so I’ll be seeing about one or two plays per week including: Continue reading

Avignon & Marseille

Earlier this month my friend and I decided to go to Avignon Festival in the south of France. We ended up staying in the small town of Avignon for about 4 days, and we watched about 2-3 shows per day covering a variety of genres including improvisation, drama, comedy and dance. It was a cool to experience so much art in a really beautiful, vibrant and sunny town. During our stay we rented bikes too and cycled up to the the Fortress and Abbey of Saint-André to get a strong dose of history. Continue reading

Studying in Paris

I’ve finished my exchange programme at the Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique and overall it was a positive experience.

We performed two classical plays at the end of June: ‘Mithridate’ by Racine and ‘Suréna’ by Corneille. It was a tough challenge for me because the plays were old-fashioned and the language very rich and dense – think Shakespeare but in french! However, with lots of help from my classmates, teachers and French friends for all over, I think I did a decent job in the end and I’m proud of each and every performance.

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My french has significantly improved, thank God. Given that I’ve been here for almost 6 months that was to be expected. What’s been quite unexpected, though, is that lots of people have told me that I don’t have an accent and I sound like a francophone. I’m always happy to hear that because it has been my mission to speak fluently without a strong english accent.

I’ll be in Paris until the end of the summer so my plan is to: go to the cinema as often as I can and watch a couple of new TV series online; research the industry, casting directors, directors, actors, etc.; read french plays and novels (a minimum of 30 minutes reading per day); continue to workout and stretch on a daily basis; and lastly enjoy the beautiful weather and experience all that Paris has to offer.

To be honest I’m very, very happy at the moment and I have a lot of energy. I’m focussed, my vision is clear and I feel that are some magical experiences and amazing opportunities lined up for me.