Five young women, five careers in the making, one dorm, a thousand emotions among others are what the main cast of Different Shades of Blue take viewers through every Thursday night on GTV.
Campus life was never meant to be easy, especially for women and the five young ladies played by Caroline Yankson (Linda), Leonora Okine ( Natasha), Evelyn Akakpo ( Emefa), Yvonne Okyere (Mercy) and Zynnell Zuh (Veronique) aptly depict this acertion as they go through life as students at the prestigious Volta University.
The ladies in their early 20s are subjected to all the troubles, responsibilities and fiery relationships of early adulthood. Different Shades of Blue, which is now in its 18th episode and the first soap opera produced by Sparrow Productions has been showing since April this year.
Talking to Shirley Frimpong-Manso, who doubles as CEO of Sparrow Productions and Director of the programme, she said Different Shades of Blue was conceived after she completed NAFTI in 2005.
“I had been working on it for a year but I needed someone to help me realise the story and characters. I eventually got that help from Matt Hawkins who used to be a lecturer at NAFTI. He scripted it and the dream was made a reality this year when we started showing it on TV.”
She said Different Shades of Blue tells the story of five very distinct characters from different backgrounds put together in one dormitory on a university campus to generate drama.
“Not only do they share the same room but also their hopes, dreams, pain and sometimes boyfriends. In this dorm, drama is always only a heart beat away”, she said.
According to Shirley, the story unfolds through Linda, an intelligent law student who discovers she has leukaemia and is going through counselling sessions.
“The concept for the drama came about just when Danny White was creating the awareness on leukaemia and I thought it would be great to help throw more light on the disease by incorporating it in the series.
“So the story is told by Linda as she describes her struggle with leukaemia and the fact that she doesn't want any of her friends to know—the last thing she wants is pity. She just wants to live her life, or the rest of it, as happily and normally as possible.”
Linda shares her dorm with fellow students Emefa, Veronique, Mercy and Natasha. Each of them has their own particular obsessions and secrets.
Emefa, 22, has a two-year-old son; a fact she is desperately trying to conceal from her friends all of whom look up to her as the 'responsible' one.
The sexy Veronique is a former prostitute trying hard to reinvent herself as a respectable member of a prestigious academic community.
Mercy whose search for Mr Right is never ending as she goes from Mr Wrong to Mr Even Worse while Natasha, the spoiled daughter of a billionaire will use whatever means possible to be the centre of attention.
One day, Mercy turns up with yet another guy: Jean Claude, played by Omanza Shaw a businessman from Togo who seems to recognise Veronique. Omanza is the big bad wolf who plays the girls against each other.”
Throwing more light on the series, Shirley said it was deliberate to use new faces for the soap. “I needed new faces that will represent a new beginning for the girls and Sparrow. Omanza is not new but I guess the thrill of the challenge to make unknown faces into stars got the better of me. I thought there was the need to introduce certain people into the industry” she added.
Asked if the story will ever end, Shirley said the 30 minutes drama will follow the stories of the five girls from semester one to graduation and beyond.
“The idea is to go through the first 26 episodes at school level. We are on the 18th episode and hopefully by the end of the 26th episode, they would have finshed school.
Another chapter will open where the girls face the real world — marriages, divorces, miscarriages and all sorts” she said.
Story by Adwoa Serwaa Bonsu