The actor chatted to Emma Clarendon about starring in Arinze Kene’s Little Baby Jesus at the Orange Tree Theatre.
Hi Anyebe – could you tell me a bit more about what Little Baby Jesus is about? Hi, Little Baby Jesus is about the truthful, fun, awkward and sometimes difficult parts of growing up. It’s about coming to terms with the past and letting go, while finding yourself and how that’s fuelled through situations, people and memories.
How are you feeling about being part of this revival? I am excited yet very humbled about being a part of this revival. Little Baby Jesus has allowed us as the story tellers to rescusitate the memories and stories of school and teenage years and make sense of those experiences by reflecting on those that the characters face. It’s one of Arinze’s earlier plays, and still referenced a lot in drama school auditions, and story telling workshops. It’s an amazing feeling to somehow be linked to such a great piece literature. The excitement since the first day of rehearsals has grown every day as we find new gems within the text.
What was it initially that made you want to be part of this production? I initially wanted to be a part of this production as I see the need for this story to be told. It’s a coming of age drama that will strike a chord with people. We’ve all seen a Kehinde, Joanne and Rugrat, whether in yourself or others, especially through your school and teenage years. Little Baby Jesus is heartwarming and so truthful. Little Baby Jesus humanises characters and actual people who in normal everyday life could and sometimes would be judged with no deeper acknowledgement of their life experiences.
When you first read the script what did you think of it? When I first read the script I was mind blown. I had no words. Honestly, I first read it almost five years ago, but coming back to it this summer was almost like reading it for the first time. I picked up on things that either didn’t make as much sense to me before or didn’t strike as much of a chord with me. I had to take time out to absorb everything and actually went to watch a couple of episodes of ‘Fresh Prince’ to relax before going back to it for a further analysis.
Could you tell me more about your character Kehinde? Without spoiling it I’d say that Kehinde is a black 16 year old who is mature. Like all teenagers and adults he is trying to find his way in life.I’m not sure how much more I’m allowed to say. Though I can safely say that for any more details about Kehinde, you’d have to see the show.
What can audiences expect from this production? Audiences can expect heartwarming, hilarious, nail biting moments that lead to introspection.
By Emma Clarendon
Little Baby Jesus will play at the Orange Tree Theatre from the 18th October until the 16th November.