Interview with Kemi ‘Lala’ Akindoju
Taruwa magazine recently sat down to chat with a seasoned thespian, convener of Open Mic Theatre and a friend of the house Kemi ‘Lala’ Akindoju. She shed more light on her most recent involvement with V-monologues, upcoming projects and other issues close to her heart.
TM: could you tell us the reason you got involved with V-monologues?
Lala: KIND was interested in someone they could trust to run with the project and not water down the message. Amy Oyekunle(ED, KIND) and I had been involved in discussions since last year and I assured her that she could trust me with the project.
I’m also very passionate about using every platform available as a tool for speaking up against any kind of oppression or societal ill. Violence against women is one and so it made the project even more attractive.
TM: Could you share what the experience was like and some of the challenges you faced?
Lala: This was an opportunity to put into practice all the things I had learnt over the years about organising events, working in the theatre, people management etc. Finally I also felt it was a good platform to launch my production company – The Make It Happen Productions.
The biggest challenge we faced was funding
Getting the funds to make the production fly was tedious. Three weeks after the production, we’re still tying up loose ends.
Theatre goers will be familiar with Lala’s numerous appearances on stage in various productions and so already know the stuff she’s made of as an actor. However the V-monologues project not only saw her imbibe another character but also found her as a first time producer.
In her own words, “As a first time producer, man power was a bit of a challenge. Only the people who believed in me were able to run around to put it together since the company has no staff yet. So I had Yemi Adamolekun, Jide Bello, Zainab, Biodun Kassim and the YNaija team helping.”
Kemi confessed that although nerve-wrecking, insomnia laden, scary and laced with worry that the experience was entirely worthwhile.
Furthermore all actors that participated got involved because of their trust and belief in her personally and professionally. This was very humbling and made her more determined to ensure its success.
She only had words of praise for the director of the stellar cast. “Ifeoma Fafunwa as the director was so supportive throughout the entire project.”
Plans for the future…
“Right now we (The Make it Happen Productions) are preparing to start a documentary series
I’m fascinated by history and by hearing first-hand accounts of people who have gone ahead of us.
So I want to document the lives of artistes of the older generation
Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Onyeka Onwenu etc.”
(It certainly looks like Lala has more nail-biting moments to look forward to as she embraces the life of a producer.)
Open Mic Theatre as Kemi ‘Lala’ Akindoju’s first baby will continue to run and enliven the lives of participants, artistes and lovers of the arts.
At TM we look forward to great things ahead from this determined lady whose philosophy is, ‘there’s no problem that can’t be solved…sit still, think through it, and you will find a solution’
We leave you with Kemi’s own words…
“And we’ll just continue Making Things Happen for ourselves and for as many people as allow us, whilst we tell our stories.”
Story – Seyi Olanihun
photography – Eniola Tito Abumere
Make up – Lois (Spotted Makeovers)
Stylist – Joan Gbefwi
Lala’s Skirt – Serendipity
Shoot Location – Aries Suites Foreshore Estate Ikoyi