Femi Odugbemi’s ‘Battleground’ is getting a lot of attention from Africa Magic Viewers. Due mainly, to its interesting mix of great talents including theatre thespians, music legends and of course Nollywood stars.
The series which revolves around the controversial and extremely wealthy patriarch of the Badmus family, tells the story of power, love, deceit, and intrigue, all packed into an hour of eye candy and appealing dialogues.
We’re fascinated with the character, Nurse Oyiza, played by Ese Lami George, so, Rejoice Abutsa had a chat with her.
A little background on Ese Lami George
To ardent Nollywood fans, Ese Lami George is not new to the industry. She had a major role in “No Safe Place” with Van Vicker, and the film was released in 2011. Being beside Van Vicker in 2011 in a leading role and at that time when the actor was in his prime was no small deal. For most actors, that should define the perfect breakout and it means more movie roles, but it was not the case for Ese Lami George. She took a break shortly after the production to focus on her education, and on the side, her writing. Ese comes from a family with deep love, and in extension, pressure for education. And science education, that is. Her father is a professor of Sociology and Anthropology. Ese was in medical school at the University of Maiduguri before switching courses to Microbiology. She always wanted a place in the Arts, at the time she thought of Mass Communications, and even considered Theatre Arts but it did not work out, and so she got a certificate in the science field and is back to the field she always wanted to be a part of.
Ese has contributed as a writer for the series “This thing called Marriage”, and in 2016, she featured in “It’s her Day” featuring Bovi, Ini-Dima Okojie and Shaffy Bello. It is 2017 and Ese Lami George is stepping into an intriguingly new time period as Nurse Oyiza on Africa Magic’s “Battleground”.
On getting the role of Nurse Oyiza on Battleground
Ese auditioned like other hopefuls and was selected to play Nurse Oyiza.
She describes the character as “very guarded, opinionated, observant, and overzealous about her humble background”. In a striking scene that has gotten quite the reaction, Nurse Oyiza boldly stops Chief Bhadmus from walking into a ward to see his supposed in-law. Showrunners must have agreed that it was the perfect teaser to go out because when it was released as one of “Battlegrounds” most interesting scenes, it caused quite an interesting reaction online, and definitely earned the show some new viewers. Ese firmly rejects the mean natured character we saw Nurse Oyiza display, “I am none of that. I am a very fun person, when I am around people, they laugh a lot.” That is not the only time we see Nurse Oyiza in her mean element, she is quite the confrontational character and too many viewers there is much more to the character than we have seen.
So far, thanks to an admirable performance as Nurse Oyiza, Ese is gathering a fan base for herself. Across Battleground’s promotional page and fan created social media pages, fans are showing love to her character. Maybe there are buried secrets to the character Oyiza but the only thing we have heard Nurse Oyiza disclose is that her parents’ house was demolished during the Bhadmus regime, and definitely some anger dwells in Nurse Oyiza’s soul. Every character has a back story on Battleground but Nurse Oyiza continues to be a mystery. Ese is ready to follow the journey of this character, and as it is for such exclusive shows, she hardly knows much about her character’s future.
Working her way back to the industry:
“There was a dry spell but what happened to me proves that it takes the right person to see you and make a call to get someone back in the game”. Ese’s talent did the trick for her, once her talent became an open secret, she got a role on Nigeria’s popular TV entertainment station. Clearly, there is a bigger story for Nurse Oyiza in the future, and with everything that is happening on the show Ese’s character looks to be the turning point in “Battleground”.
Interpreting Stories as a Scriptwriter:
As a scriptwriter who doubles as an actor, she is always alert to the scripts she has to interpret. “Dialogue and action are very important”. She uses her ability as a writer to influence her performance and make it more believable. “I am conscious of truth and life. As actors, and writers, it is necessary to go beyond entertainment and stroke the consciousness of people.”
On Inspiration in the Industry:
She is a total fan girl when she mentions “Somkhele… Somkhele…” She calls the name a few times and it is a reflection of deep appreciation and love for the breakout star. She also credits Shaffy Bello, who is her co-star on Battleground as an inspiration; she describes the actress as magical. She describes her co-stars as amazing and calls the group the best she has worked with so far
Plans for the Future
In addition to writing more scripts, she plans on starting her own Christian production company. According to her, “it will concentrate on what is going on in Christian lives, and it will feature realistic stories, different struggles.”
Opinion on the current state of Nollywood
There’s massive growth in the industry; something she describes as “a movement”. Her excitement about productions and things currently happening in the industry creates wild anticipation for what is slated for the coming months in Nollywood.
Fun Fact: She is afraid of twerking! She also featured on Star quest as a singer. Feel free to call her the triple threat we almost lost to the medical world.
Ese’s time is near and even if she chooses to remain modest about fame and recognition; being on Africa Magic makes her more visible to viewers and stakeholders in the industry. A strong project after shooting Battleground will do the trick and when it happens… you should remember that we had a piece on why Ese Lami George is the one to watch!
Catch up with her antics as Nurse Oyiza every weekday on DStv Ch151 at 8 pm WAT Follow her on Instagram @lami_george
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