Brief Encounter With ... Strip Search’s Damola OnadekoDate: 8 August 2011
Double Fringe First Winner Peter Scott-Presland brings Strip Search to the Fringe this year, a performance piece about male stripper Squaddie, played by Damola Okadeko. An Iraq war veteran with a military strip act, Squaddie bears his soul as he takes off his clothes.
Tell me a little about the character you are playing?
I play the character of Squaddie, who is a gay young male stripper working in a gay bar as he depicts his life-story to the audience about his abusive childhood, life as a rent boy, love of slot machines in amusement arcades. The only friendship he had was with a fellow soldier after he joined the army in Iraq, and the play subsequently shows the effect the aftermath of the war has on him. He is a troubled man with a violent past who is somewhat self-deluded about making it as a star.
What attracted you to doing Strip Search?
I was drawn to the project by its poignant and revealing storyline. It's certainly a controversial and different play to any I have come across, so the initial challenge was there, to make Squaddie as real, empathetic and natural as I possibly could. The play also features a full male strip act, which I feel is an underlying metaphor for the psychological strip which Squaddie is undergoing.
How do you feel about working for a gay theatre company?
Bring it on....
How do you feel about taking your clothes off in front of an audience?
Im naturally quite comfortable in my own skin, so the opportunity to do that in the nude and in front of others doesn't come as a challenge to me, rather as an experience to relish. I mean why not, after slaving hours in the gym, right?
You worked as a stripper while you were in college. What did you learn from it?
Haha! Yes I did. It gave me the freedom to express myself physically and to also lower my inhibitions somewhat. I'm less of a prude now when it comes to the human body, so to speak.
What are your ambitions?
To really challenge myself as an actor, constantly learning my trade and applying that to every piece of work that I am involved with, with full enjoyment and commitment.
Strip Search plays from the 5 - 20 August (excl Sundays) at theSpaces on North Bridge at 21.05.
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