A little bit about the favorite artist Alemayehu Tadesse


The ageless king of the stage, A little bit about the favorite artist Alemayehu Tadesse. Babylon BeSalon (Babylon in Salon) is among the most popular and longest-running stage plays in Ethiopian theatre. It has practically become part of the fabric of society, at least for theatre lovers. At the center of the theatre is Alemayehu Tadesse, the star of the play. Unlike many other actors, the Harar-born Alemayehu who is also a playwright came to acting later than most. “I didn’t have an interest in acting for much of my time at school,” he says. “When I was in 11th grade, my teacher organized a model drama about a United Nations Meeting. 


My part was to play the South African President, and he gave us all speeches to recite. I ended up memorizing mine to the point that it seemed like I wasn’t speaking from a script. People started telling me that maybe I should start looking into acting.” As well as he acted during school plays and events, including as Emperor Tewodros II during a 40th-anniversary celebration at his high school: Medhanealem High School, he wasn’t bitten by the acting bug until he went into higher education.


In 1989, when he was a first-year student at Addis Ababa University, Alemayehu started to become more serious about acting although his initial intent was to study Geography or Economics. “When I was a first-year student, I saw a flyer for a showcase put on by third-year theatre students at the university. Seeing that made me think about stage play more seriously. And then when I went back to Harar for a school break, I met one of my teachers, who told me that I should think about becoming an actor since I had already shown some aptitude when I was in school. 


So for me, it was a gradual thing. I didn’t have an obsession with drama when I was a child or anything, but I found my way to it.” Almost two decades along the line, Alemayehu has become one of the most recognizable faces of the Ethiopian art scene. “It’s difficult to say which of my projects my favorite is,” he says. “I’ve done a lot of things. I think in theatre, my favorite project was Antigone.

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