Babatunde Ojobaro better known as Mr Rain is not just an actor, he is also a master of ceremonies, movie Director and movie maker. Some knows him as Kayode a.k.a Broda Kata in the popular family sitcoms, ‘Awon Aladun De’, airing on African Magic Yoruba, but he is way beyond all these descriptions. Mr. Rain, director and producer for stage and screen, also the founder of Theatre Hub Africa Ltd who has tremendously contributed alot to the growth and revival of Theatre Culture in Nigeria.
In an Exclusive interview with Emmanuel Adewale Alaba of Pearlsnews, the award winning OAP , He talked about his musical play “Oluronbi” that will be hitting the theatre soon and the challenges of mounting a play and also gave his submission on ‘s3x for movie’ role in the make-believe industry.
Why did you choose to bring back life to the story of ‘Olurunbi’ ?
I was actually looking for a story that can help continue to tell our cultural and heritage stories and very rich in messages that can inspire some very deep thoughts which and in turn spur actions for us as humans to do better and for some reason I remembered the story, so I had I did a bit more research on it and I discovered it contained a whole lot more than I thought people knew and I decided this is what we need to talk about at this time.
What do you plan to achieve with Oluronbi story in this modern age?
The Oluronbi story if properly studied represents a lot about who we are as a people, it’s ever-green nature means that both the older generation and younger generation can relate if told in a proper way.
I have also thought about how best we can preach to this generation that our culture as a people is our identity and we will be totally lost without it. You know, story telling is an ambience that appeals to the emotions and reasoning of the jet age has always been an easier way to pass such message.
How long do you rehearse a play before presentation?
Ideally, a proper play takes about two months of rehearsal but a play production can also be achieved in one month depending on the approach the director decides to use and the quality of actors one is working with and most importantly, the resources available to such director
You mentioned that you love finding new actors and bringing out their potentials how do you meet with them or how do they access you for those that would love to be a part of your team?
I absolutely love to work with new talents, this is basically because there are so many of them out there who might never get a platform to showcase their potentials because everybody is focusing on the big names and popular faces and I can say I have discovered a couple of talents. Everytime I have a new production in view, I call for auditions and that’s where the selection takes place.
What approach do you consider when selecting a play?
Drama mirrors the society and so when selecting a play, I am very observant on what’s going on in the society, what’s the need that has to be met. So if I have to select a play, I am looking for something I really want to talk about, a social issue that needs to be addressed albeit it must contain a high dose of humour because once you can make people laugh, you can get their attention and if you get their attention, you can tell them anything.
What should the audience expect?
As with all our previous theatre production, the audience should expect to be wowed beyond their imaginations. We have always made sure that our recent productions outshines previous productions and we have never fallen short of that target. So yes a very good time awaits our esteemed audience.
Having carving a niche around theatre, Do you think Nigerians still appreciate stage dramas?
Before 2013, the answer to this will be a capital NO, but time has passed, things have changed and entertainment lovers are always seeking for something new and different, so we can say that with the increase of theatre productions and producers across boards, people are behind to experience real entertainment and are gradually accepting theatre as the new big deal.
While we can say stage plays or theatre productions have gained that much interest but the story has changed and if the trends continues in another 5-7 years, it will be a whole different story in the affirmative.
Do you plan to bring it into the big screen?
I honestly believe in restricting stage productions to the stage. While theatre producers should be encouraged to embrace new technology that allows for productions to be views on the internet and wherever technology directs, the beauty of the theatre is nothing without the stage. I do not see myself transferring this production to the screen. An adaptation may be possible, where the story is adopted for screen and written to fit in the screen techniques but stage plays should remain stage plays.
What’s your biggest challenge when mounting a production?
Biggest challenge has always been “where will the funding come from?” The question of “will this be accepted” can be very difficult to answer but then, that’s why they are called challenges because they can be scaled and so far so good the challenges have it soured us to find answers to the questions wherever they are. And as we have been consistent, we are gradually finding answers that make putting up productions a bit easier.
A movie Director recently told an actress that she will have to ‘exchange her body’ for a movie role, what do you have to say about this?
Having to use sex as a bait has always been a NO-NO for me and I have also been as vocal as I can be on this issue,but then, this issue isn’t limited to the entertainment industry alone, it’s everywhere, the corporate sector, in the academics, even in the religious circles, so it’s a human problem not limited to a profession and every one of us who is sensible MUST frown against this despicable act. It’s an act or a word I strongly condemn.
The stage play is expected to stop at different states in southwest states in Nigeria including Oyo state, Osun, Ogun, Ondo, and Lagos. Tour will kick off in Oyo State on May 2