Configuration of Kenyan Film Acting: A Study of Eight Selected Drama Films
Azangalala, Shapaya Beneah
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Acting is one of the most obvious items that one observes in a play or film. Indeed, when one goes to watch a play or film, one usually observes the characters acting so as to tell the story dramatically. However, it ought to be appreciated that actors/actresses perform differently according to their abilities, creativity, social contexts and culture. Hence, this study aimed at analysing the techniques of acting as employed in selected Kenyan films by establishing their characteristics and comparing them to established theoretical frameworks. This research analyses eight films, namely: Killer Necklace (2008) by Judy Kibinge, Weakness (2009) by Wanjiru Kairu, Maisha (2010) by Andrew Odera, Taharuki (2011) by Ekwa Msangi-Omari, Pulse (2011) by Erick Wanyama, Madam Chief (2011) by Joan Kabugu, Blurred Birth (2011) by Victor Ogolah and My Faith (2014) by Bruce Makau. This is a descriptive study, which employed System Acting, External Acting Method and Speech Act Theory as its base theories. The study employed the theories with the aim of verifying the effect of the social environment on the actor/actress and identification of patterns inherent in the acting techniques. The first Chapter of the study acts as an introduction, with the second Chapter analysing the actor’s/actress’ use of voice. The third Chapter examines the actor’s/actress’ use of facial expressions, gestures and postures. The fourth Chapter deals with the actor’s/actress’ use of movements, stage business and proxemics. The final Chapter forms the conclusion and it observes that there are discernible patterns employed in acting and although most of the actors and actresses interviewed had attended short topical workshops conducted by various directors and academicians on performing, they were not grounded in acting theory. Hence, most of the time they performed their roles through their understanding and observations of how individuals operated in society. Finally, the study notes that acting techniques employed by the actors/actresses had a communicative value as focus group participants were able to accurately identify the facial expressions, gestures, postures, movements and proxemic elements in the frames and short video clips derived from the selected films.