Khai Shaw will appear in the first major revival of Arinzé Kene’s Little Baby Jesus, directed by Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu, winner of the JMK Award 2019.
Little Baby Jesus was first performed at Oval House Theatre in 2011 and saw Kene win the Most Promising Playwright Award at the Off-West End Theatre Awards.
Little Baby Jesus, featuring Khai Shaw, is at the Orange Tree Theatre 18th October to 16th November 2019.
You’re appearing in Little Baby Jesus at The Orange Tree Theatre, what can you tell us about it?
To me, Little Baby Jesus is a play that encapsulates the human teenage experience. You’re going to see elements of love, envy, happiness, sadness, angst, everything. I don’t really wanna say too much more than that so come on down and see what you think!
How would you describe your character?
I’m playing the role of Rugrat and Rugrat for me is a bundle of energy, constantly fizzing out at you. He’s lyrical, loves to joke, is super loud and in your face and he’s a great storyteller too and as a storyteller myself, it’s such a joy to play him and all of these wonderful facets of him. To me there’s also so much more beneath the surface of his character and I’ve really enjoyed diving into that and seeing what really makes Rugrat, Rugrat.
What do you like most about Arinzé Kene’s writing?
There’s so much to love about Arinzé’s writing that’s it hard to pick one thing, honestly! I think if I had to choose I would say it’s his relatability. The text is so poetic and eloquent and yet even with all that it’s punchy and direct enough that you know exactly how these characters feel in the moment and you really do take so much from it. It’s an incredible piece to work on and I’m privileged to get to work with his words in this way.
Tell us about Young People’s Takeover Week which will happen during your run?
For the Young People’s Takeover Week we have a whole host of stuff going on! There’s going to be some workshops run by the cast and by Tristan our director during the week, and there’s also going to be a really exciting panel on the 31st of October talking about where we feel the future of youth culture is going. All week we’re inviting any young people who have seen the show a chance to respond to the play as well with the #LBJresponse. I’m really excited to see the creative ways in which young people can interact with this piece because ultimately, it’s for them and I want nothing less than to inspire the next generation of creatives.
What have you learnt most from director Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu?
Again, I’ve learnt so much from Tristan that it’s hard to choose one thing! I think that something that Tristan has taught me which I know I will take with me forever is clarity on and off the stage. Being clear about who you are, what you’re doing this for, who you’re doing this for, and knowing the level of detail you need to put into your work to make it the best it can be is something that Tristan prides himself on and its inspiring to work with him because you feel empowered to do the same.
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see Little Baby Jesus?
Don’t hesitate to come! Honestly, I think this play has something for everyone to enjoy and to learn from. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry but above all, I think that you’ll either see something of the play in you or it will remind you of a time when you had these feelings too. It’s a universal play and I think above all else, I want our audience members to feel connected to everyone else both on stage and in the seats next to them.
Main Image Credit: Khai Shaw credit Ali Wright