There is no doubt that uncle Ebo and his Roverman team has changed the game as far as stage plays go. They have set the standards and they are not going back. While everyone agrees that Mr. James Ebo Whyte is a great writer and certainly on his way to the tittle: the greatest playwright in the history of Ghana, not much is known about the people who bring it all to life—the actors. My focus in this article is one of such unsung heroines who played a pivotal character in the ever popular and award winning play; Women on Fire.
I bumped into Alison on our visit to the Roverman offices in Osu here in Accra. I walked past her without noticing her—there were quite a few people around and she sat at a desk doing some paperwork. Nothing about her told me she could act at all let alone play such a pivotal character such as Afia (a very present and loud character who’s role appeared to hold the whole plot together). She was arguable the single most active ingredient in the whole Women on Fire mix. When I learnt she played the character, I was curious to find out what kind of a person she was and what qualified her for such a challenging role. Interesting thing came out:
Alison is actually a trained and practicing architect from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. She is also married to an architect and have had no formal training in acting. She had however, acted in a few campus and Church productions: nothing too serious as she put it. She explained;
“this is something I love to do on the side. I am passionate about acting and would probably not have been able to choose if I had pursued a career in acting. In the meantime I go with the flow. If I get invited and the timing is right, why not”.
She is a natural. The mother of two boys and a girl is not too keen on movies she said but had played roles in one short film and a full feature film. Most of her acting has been in stage plays like Women on Fire. She has been acting from when she was a child so the stage is not a new place for her. I was curious to find out what kind of people she looks up to. On the Hollywood front Denzel Washington was top of her list but she said she loves RMD too. She also looks up to Uncle Ebo and Prophet and Mrs. Annor as role models in another sense. Her husband also inspires her with his encouragement borne out of his belief in her.
On the Afia character Alison told me;
“At the inception, there was a read through of the script. I read through while chewing on gum. I guess that’s where we started building the character. Some said Afia just happened. I had to think of a typical market woman, not too educated loud type who is in everybody’s business. She was not afraid of anyone. Some say Afia was crazy from day one”.
“I honestly do not know why I was offered the role but I love every opportunity I get to do what I love to do. So naturally I was excited. There is a bit of the character in my personality too. I felt like I was in charge in a way…playing that role. At home I am in charge as I literally run the house telling everyone what should be where”.
The extremely energetic mother of three has also featured in Apartment N1, What’s My Name, Unforgiven and Puppeteers—all Roverman productions. She says she is open to all opportunities in the future and would ultimately like to feature in a Tyler Perry production. At home, she is a mom and a wife; naturally her goal is to raise her children the best way possible and see them grow into model citizens. She is not going to stop practicing architecture either and hopes to set up her own firm.
I have met some actresses in my eventful life. I may have even dated a couple. I am yet to meet anyone with Alison’s level of energy. I could barely keep up with her. That just left me wondering about her husband. But I dared not ask. We have been spending some time at the Roverman offices and we have a few stories to share with you besides our Alison discovery. We are out there looking for ordinary people like Alison doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways. If you know any such person, tell us where they are and what they do, we will make sure they are recognized. Nominate them now into the SPiD-UP® recognition program #Spidup