Ellis Otieno is Friends Ensemble’s founder-director. He’s also founder-director of Logos Christian School’s Drama and Filmmaking Club.
And it’s at the school that he’s been busiest, producing shows like Beauty and the Beast and When Did You Last Hug an Orphan?
Working with children from ages seven through 13, Ellis uses one of the best teaching method I know, which is learning-by-doing. It’s worked well with acting since his casts have cultivated a stage presence that’s impressive. Now Ellis has moved his children up a notch, into making short films.
The first was Best Friends Forever. And now he’s in the process of producing a video series, entitled Plugged, that he premiered last Thursday night in the open air in the school’s spacious back yard.
Mostly children and their parents were on hand to see the first episodes of Plugged, a fun reality show that offers children (mainly girls) opportunities to go on camera, work with microphones and project a charming persona. In the segment of the show called Badilisha Tabia, cast members got to interview everyone from the school’s security guard, chief administrator, kitchen cleaner and several teachers, all of whom agreed to swop jobs for an hour with another worker in the school. The result was awkward but fun nonetheless.
Every episode of Plugged, which is still in its pilot phase, also takes us to the Angel Centre for Abandoned Children, which is the most touching segment of the show.
The centre, which was started by Wamaitha Mwangi, has already rescued over 100 babies and abandoned youth.
But there are 33 children on site, from two months up to eight years. So the club, through their series, hopes to assist Wamaitha’s centre. The other fun section in Plugged is called Ku-Know Corner and features teachers sharing fascinating facts. But by far, the most hilarious feature of each episode is the Bloopers where all the goofs were caught on film for us to laugh at.
All told, the concept of Plugged is excellent, but logistically, the show got underway after dark so we couldn’t see the 10 girls who star in the video series.
Nor did we get a good look at Chief Guest — Maqbul Mohammed who plays Donovan in the popular series Aunty Boss.
And running late meant Ellis should’ve only shown us one episode, then sent children home. But Plugged will be up on YouTube soon, for all of us to see.