My work brings me in contact with many people of different social standings, religions and age groups. All have one thing in common; each has a story to tell.
Normally I am interested in old men and women, who can give me interesting insights into life and its value. There is always something new to learn from their pool of wisdom.
Recently I met Telley Savalas Otieno, one of Kenya’s best actors. His is a story of inspiration and courage.
Born in Kisumu, he relocated to Mombasa as a young boy for his primary and secondary education. He was later admitted at University of Nairobi to pursue literature, but at 22, he dropped out to seek his true passion, theatre.
He performed his first play with the indigenous Miujiza Players under the direction of Cajetan Boy and Caroline Odongo.
Telley attended a two-year course with mime artist Opiyo Okatch. He later joined another theatre company run by Mumbi Kaigwa and Keith Pearson.
In 2005, he was awarded best actor for his role in Servant of Two Masters directed by James Falkland of Phoenix players.
At the same time he got invitations to take part in movies like Spurts of blood and The Epilogue.
I first met Telley in 2006 when he was a production assistant for a juice commercial shoot. He was with a cousin called Nassan and a friend called Dominique. Coincidentally, the three met and fell in love with three Italian women in Malindi.
Shortly after, Telley and his fiancee left for the Cannes Film Festival to promote a screen script he wrote. The two spend time together in Sardinia, an Italian island favoured by the rich and famous.
After a while, life became boring and he found a job as a valet. Bereft of his many friends, he often felt lonely and homesick with each passing day. The couple got formally married and moved to Rome.
With the support of his wife, he started looking for a job as a photo model or actor. But things were not easy given the fact that he could not speak Italian.
To be continued...