‘Theatre’s glorious days are gone forever’
As an actress, she has performed in the nooks and crannies of the country winning honours and accolades for herself.
Lanre Hassan, a member of the Ojo Ladipo Theatre group of the 1960s through 80s, actually played the opposite of Baba Mero (Ladipo) who was a contemporary of the late Thespian, Hubert Ogunde.
But for the actress popularly known as Mama Awero, the glorious days of the theatre may be gone forever:
“There are lots of improvements in the industry today but you cannot compare the stage with anything. In those days, all it took to be an actor was talent and skill. You're either a good actor or a bad one because there was no opportunity of retakes as it obtains today. There were no scripts, no special effects unlike now when you have everything from the director to lighting and sound engineers. In those days, it was a big job going round the country to have a successful stage production.”
Born on October 3, 1950, Hassan's lineage is traceable to the Kosoko royal family in Isale Eko, Lagos. She had her early education at St Peters Primary School, Lagos after which she proceeded to the School of Drama. Though, Hassan began acting while at school and continued as a member of the Young Star Concert Party, her career brightened up when she joined the Ojo Ladipo Theatre group.
Mama Awero has performed in many stage productions including “Bayebayeni”, Egun Alakada”, “Iwa Ibaje”, “Efunsetan Aniwura” and has also featured prominently in several television plays.
But to the veteran actress, money is not everything. What she considers most important before accepting a job, is a good script including the caliber of both cast and crew: “For me, money is not everything in this business. Before I agree to take part in a production, I would have scrutinized the scripts properly. Convinced of the goodness of the story, I would then look at the cast and crew involved in the play. If they are the unserious and inexperienced type, I would back out, no matter the amount of money they may offer.”
However, what many people may not know is that Hassan is a crossover actress. Apart from her roles in several Yoruba movies including “Asewo To Re Mecca”, “Oko” and “Ahon”, she is also a popular face in a number of Engilish productions such as Super story and Family Circles.
“It's good to be a crossover actor but you must be versatile,” she declared.
The actress has vowed to support any of her children or other actors willing to take after her. But there is a condition: “They must be patient and be ready to learn from the elders. They must also be disciplined.”