Daniel Akinlalu

Table of Contents

Daniel Akinlalu is an artist whose curiosity inspires him to explore the mysterious and empowering nature of creative expression through a variety of mediums.

Daniel Akinlalu revels in his exploration of the art of storytelling as an actor, writer, director, model, and painter. As an actor Daniel is drawn to compelling stories of men who wield power and the journeys of those who seek it. When he directs, Daniel finds inspiration in complex, intriguing characters and how people can reveal themselves in subtle gestures. As a writer, Daniel combines his passion for powerful characters with his taste for the complexities of human nature to create scripts that challenge and inspire audiences. Daniel also finds solace in visual arts as the serene experience of making portraits has been a cherished form of expression since childhood. He seeks to capture a wide range of emotion in his realistic paintings and also enjoys challenging himself with creating live portraits.

Education

Daniel Akinlalu received training at Toronto Film School’s acting for Film, TV and the Theatre program and refined his camera acting skills at Lewis Baumander Acting Studios. Before deciding to become an actor, Daniel briefly attended The University of Ottawa after he graduated from high school in Calgary. Daniel also took classes on painting, creative writing, and learned to play instruments as a student in France at The British School of Paris

 


Past Theatre Experience

Daniel Akinlalu explored the lives of multiple characters as a student at Toronto Film School. During a three performance run at the Rick Bennet Theatre, Daniel played Florindo and Brighella in his 5th term play, This is How It’s Done, based on Carlo Goldoni’s comedy The Servant of Two Masters, written in 1746 and directed by Andy Massingham. Daniel brought The Lawyer and Palamon to life in his 3rd term play Canterbury Tales, written by Geoffrey Chaucer, directed by Jonathan Whittaker and performed on Zoom. In his 2nd term, Daniel played Tom Wingfield in a virtual production of The Glass Menagerie, written by Tennessee Williams, as well as Zastrozzi in Zastrozzi, The Master of Discipline, written by Canadian playwright George F. Walker, both plays were directed by Andy Massingham. Before studying at TFS, Daniel participated in a live theatre improv competition at The Canadian Modelling and Talent Competition where he won prizes for modelling and acting.

Summer Ensemble

Daniel Akinlalu was part of the fourth annual Summer Ensemble. He is a member of Crane Creations Theatre Company’s 2022 Summer Ensemble.

The Summer Ensemble is an 8 week training program for theatre artists. In this paid working opportunity artists learn skills required to be a professional artist in Canada, and gain valuable insights into the theatre industry in Canada and abroad. To apply, artists must be between 18 and 30 years of age. 

Daniel Akinlalu as an Actor.

Why did you decide to become an actor?

My curiosity inspired me to become an actor. I’d always been interested in telling stories through creative writing, illustration and painting, however I had no experience with story-telling from the perspective of a character in a story. This curiosity was a natural extension of my experiences with story-telling from other mediums, since I loved to connect with the characters I had created in my short stories and illustrations and this connection would inspire me to imagine life from their perspective on several occasions. So when I found myself with the chance to act at The Canadian Modelling and Talent Competition I my eyes to the art of story-telling from an actor’s point of view and it was love at first sight.

In your opinion what does being an actor mean?

An actor is like a detective who investigates the mysteries of human nature and uses his creative gifts to discover truthful behaviour in imaginary circumstances.

How do you prepare for a role?

My preparation for a role varies based on the information given by each script. I spend as much time as possible reading the script and taking notes to absorb the circumstances of every character I play while breaking down their individual journeys in each story. Then I’ll often create backstories to discover new depths in each role as I fill in the gap between each character’s earliest experiences and their first moment in the script. These steps make it easier for me to understand each character’s motivations and empathize with how their environment, social background, and memories will influence the decisions they make. After digesting the given circumstances and character motivations I look for music to connect me with the time period, social demographic and the emotional journey of each character. Another important step is finding interesting behavior choices which express a character’s emotional life while hinting at the subtext of a story. Sometimes this involves studying the body language of a variety of animals to incorporate one of them into my performance, other times I learn fitting gestures or accents from watching people.

Imagine you are speaking to someone who knows nothing about your field. How do you become an actor?

I recommend reading books on the craft of acting and taking classes which give you the chance to attempt what you’ve read in a safe environment while receiving constructive notes from acting teachers. This preparation allows you to build a foundation that you can add to with each role you attempt whether it’s a role in the theatre play, an indie film or an audition.

What is the difference between acting for film and acting for theatre?

The difference between acting for film and acting for the theatre emerges from the way each audience watches a performance. In film, a performance is recorded on a camera, during multiple takes, which brings the audience close to the actors, almost as if they were standing right beside them. This closeness highlights the focus on realism in film acting because when the audience can see everything in a performance on a big screen, down to the movement of the actor’s eyes, the performance has to be a believable and natural representation of a human being in the circumstances given by the film. On the other hand, in theatre acting the performance must be sustained for the entire play, which requires a higher level of endurance compared to series of short takes in front of a camera. Theatre acting also gives the audience a live performance which means the actors must use their voice and movement to grab and hold the attention of a room full of people at different distances from the stage, without the technology of a close-up shot where the actor’s face becomes the stage.

An Interview With Daniel Akinlalu.

What is your favourite part of the Summer Ensemble?

My favourite part of Summer Ensemble so far has been the opportunity to connect with artists as we learn about the theatre in a fun and supportive environment. Being able to relate with each other in person is especially enjoyable after the last 2 years of lockdowns.

How can you describe Summer Ensemble in one sentence?

Summer Ensemble is an intensive arts job that provides emerging artists with a supportive environment to explore their craft the tools to succeed in their careers.

Where are you from?

I spent most of my childhood in France, moving around in Europe and Africa before coming to Canada.

What is your favourite thing about your hometown?

My favourite thing about Paris is how easy it is to find delicious food. There’s an abundance of great restaurants, cafés and boulangeries to discover in this city. It’s the kind of place where I could just walk down any street and let my nose guide me towards my next meal.

What are your favourite plays and why?

I have two favourite plays. One of them is A Streetcar Named Desire, written by Tennessee Williams. I’ve always enjoyed his poetic style and the character descriptions in this play skillfully evoke representations of each character in the imagination. Another great part of this play is how the conflict gradually escalates from Blanche’s arrival and builds until her mental breakdown. Tennessee Williams displayed a flair for exploring the complexity of relationships as well as human nature in his plays and Streetcar is no exception. I’m also very fond of The Big Funk by John Patrick Shanley because of the metaphysical themes this play brings to the stage and the final monologue by Austin is incredibly deep. It’s a short play but a dense read with colorful, layered characters that leap off the page.

What are your hobbies?

I played musical instruments regularly when I was younger, taking violin and guitar lessons until the end of junior high school. I stopped practicing during high school but I would like to re-discover my passion for musical performances because I still consider music to be a vital part of my life. I’ve found inspiration in drawing and painting for as long as I can remember, and because of how blissful the creative process feels, it’s a hobby I can always count on during stressful periods to relax. I also enjoy travelling whenever I can since it’s great way to grow and expand my perspective with experiences from new cultures and environments.

What is your favourite food?

I love a good steak.

What is your favourite food to make?

I enjoy making lamb chops.

Where is your favourite place to eat?

Chez Clément.

What languages do you speak?

I speak English and French.

What is a new skill you want to learn?

I’ve had countless dreams where I was flying through the air or in space, which did inspire a childhood fantasy of becoming a pilot, just so I could know what it would feel like. But I would be satisfied with learning how to sky-dive or floating around in an anti-gravity tank.

Where would you travel if you could?

I would travel to Argentina because of it’s vibrant culture, stunning architecture and tropical environment. Another reason is because South America is a continent I haven’t explored yet, and Argentina seems like a great place to begin.

What is a fun fact about you?

I pick up on new accents quickly.

Why do you love theatre?

I love the theatre because of it’s direct connection between actors and the audience. The productions are live which gives actors the opportunity to electrify a room full of people with the immediacy of our performances. Another part of theatre I’m passionate about is how the stage creates a need for characters with a range of exuberant emotional expression and dynamic movement so that we can hold the audience’s attention. I also like the immense control over a performance that theatre actors can develop through extensive rehearsals.

How did you get into theatre?

My theatre journey began at The Canadian Modelling and Talent Competition where I participated in the improv theatre competition. Each contestant only had a few moments on stage since there were hundreds of us, but I found it exhilarating because of the audience’s immediate response to my performance. It introduced me to the connection between an actor and his audience, while igniting a curiosity that inspired me to continue exploring this connection. I went to Toronto Film School to refine my craft, and while most of the course was virtual because of the pandemic, I learned a variety of creative tools I still use today.

Why is theatre important?

Theatre is a storytelling medium which gives actors more control over their performance since the entire play is performed from in front of a live audience, and it’s rehearsal periods usually are longer than rehearsals for a movie. So the actors have more time to understand and embody their characters, it’s also important because of the freedom of expression that comes from being on stage, actors can explore voices and behavior that would be over-the-top for the realistic, close-range performances done in front of a camera because in theatre the actors must capture the audience’s attention and hold it for the whole play. This creates a more visceral connection between the audience and the actors when compared to watching movies, as they will see a story unfold with no breaks, from moment to moment.

What is one project you were proud of?

I was part of a three-performance run of This Is How It’s Done, which was an adaptation of Carlo Goldoni’s The Servant Of Two Masters performed at Toronto Film School in 2021. It was my 5th term play and some of the lockdown restrictions had been lifted, so I found it rewarding to finally have the opportunity to apply all the creative tools I’d been learning in person with my classmates. We rehearsed on campus and at a park in downtown Toronto. I had a challenge to bring two very different characters to life in this play, so I set about with creating backstories, finding costume pieces as well as learning a new accent and gait. The rush I felt during the performance was particularly exhilarating because it felt like everything I’d learned virtually at that point had been building up to this experience.

Do you have any advice for aspiring theatre artists?

My advice to aspiring theatre artists is to always be on the lookout for opportunities to refine your craft. Each new role will give you a chance to learn new ways to express yourself, however this type of education can also come from taking classes, watching plays, or even reading great acting books such as Stella Adler’s The Technique of Acting, Uta Hagen’s Respect For Acting, or The Intent to Live by Larry Moss.

 

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Rhys Whitham Crane Creations

Rhys Whitham

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