August 20, 2019 Artist to Watch: Obatiyé Dent
Obatiye’ Dent who is a native of Baton Rouge has been involved in theatre since the age of 8. He has performed in over a dozen plays, his most recent was Plenty of Time where he played the the role of Corey in which his performance was recognized by New Venture Theatre. Which lead to a nomination for “Best Performance By a Lead Male” award. Which he won. Obatiye’ continues to act on the stage as well as write scripts. Obatiye’ has aspirations of acting on the Big Screen and performing live on broadway.
When did you first take interest in theatre?
I was recommended for talented theatre in 3rd grade by my drama class teacher Mrs.Kandiest Brock who will forever be special in my life. She said I had the gift to act. That’s what honestly got me into acting. From then I went on to do some school productions my first role was Prince Charming In Cinderella. I loved that feeling of being up there and feeling the crowd’s energy. It’s crazy but I enjoy going to rehearsals and never care about being there all day or night. Being around that just makes my soul happy.
Who were your early influences and who do you look to now for inspiration?
Johnny Depp and Denzel Washington are powerful actors. The time they genuinely put into developing their character is mesmerizing to me. Johnny Depp is never the same in his roles. Seeing his range of ability through the movies I’ve seen thus far is why he’s my favorite actor. I look at particularly his role in “Public Enemy” where he played John Dillinger then I would watch “Willy Wonka” or “Sweeney Todd”. The same actor but 3 completely different performances as that’s the type of actor I’m striving to be.
How do you feel about the opportunities in Baton Rouge?
I feel our city has a huge impact on the arts culture. From our art museums to poetry events and of course theatrical productions all over the city. I still feel we’re over looked and sadly by the residents who live here. I know outside looking in we’re a state that’s all about it’s oil, it’s seafood or sugar cane. So we’re easily overlooked for the arts than a city like LA or even Atlanta.
What upcoming events/productions do you have?
I’m currently rehearsing for Pipeline with New Venture Theatre (September 5-8) and working on my own script. I am currently working on a romantic/suspense script , no title yet I’m sure it’ll come. I’ve always created characters mentally throughout my life. I would simply write down this imaginable person and give them an identity basically. I would say where they are from, family background, are they rich or poor. How many siblings they have , how tall or short and to great details about those specific things. So I ended up putting those thoughts on paper and eventually I ended up with a story. Then as I grew older I started creating based of my own family members and friends. Tyler Perry inspires that writer side of me, I’ve heard him mention much of his work is based of his family , personal experiences and friendships.
What have your learned from your character in PIPELINE?
I’ve learned from my character (Omari) you have to be honest with yourself and speak more. Don’t bottle up with emotions.
What can people expect from the production of PIPELINE and what would you like the community to take from the production?
People can expect a wide range of different emotions throughout the show. It’s easily relatable for a lot of people. I would love for the community to take an initiative to try and help damaged or open wounds within a relationship. Especially father - son or mother - son relationships.
If you could play any role in theatre what would it be?
I think playing a villain when you’re naturally a nice a person brings out best in you. You have to mentally and sometimes physically become something that you aren’t. So that’s a challenge that I would deeply enjoy. One performance that made me want to at least attempt playing a role like that is Heath Ledger when he played the Joker. It was amazing to me , I’m like this is the same guy from this or that movie playing something completely outside of himself. I admire those type of performances very much.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself in 5 years walking the red carpets of award shows. Performing on the big screen and live on broadway.
Where can people keep up with your journey?