What better way to spend a rainy morning in our Mother City than talking theatre with the very talented Candice van Litsenborgh? That is exactly what we did last Thursday while sipping on our Truth cappuccinos.
As Candice is one of the first people that included us in twitter theatre discussions when we first started doing what we do, we are admittedly very excited to see this passionate and dedicated actress put on her first one woman show.
Apparently this play kind of got a life of its own over the last 3 months, starting off with her and musical director, Drew Rienstra, just playing around with songs she likes singing. Her Canned Rice Production partner and show director, Richard Wright-Firth, took one look at their song selection and decided the show can’t but be called Understudy Blues.
And so started the development of what Candice describes as “a musical comedy cabaret about impressing the big-shots so much that you are always their first choice to be first runner-up”.
So is this a true life story? Is she bringing her personal understudy experience to the stage? “No”, says Candice, “not at all. It has evolved past the personal.” This is aimed at, in a light-hearted way, placing the focus on what audiences generally regard as the unappreciated role of the poor understudy.
The understudy is actually a very humble and dedicated member of the cast, not someone to be pitied at all. The understudy must be able to rally the troops, put own aspirations aside and support the lead for the best interest of the production and the audience experience. “You can’t be a diva”, says Candice. This actually makes the casting of the understudy a very complex matter, regardless of the fact that the audience (as the theatre chair critics we are) so easily after the fact comments on whom they thought would have been a better fit for a role. Casting of the understudy actually calls for a search for someone who not only is talented enough to carry the role, but also someone who can manage the diversity that is a variety of personalities back stage in a manner that makes everyone feel at ease like nothing has changed when they are require to step in at a moment’s notice.
So the somewhat off the point question had to be asked, “Castings, how terrifying is the experience really?” Candice laughs and without hesitation answers, “Oh, very! Casting can be a whim and nothing reads like panic and fear.” She says it is ultimately a question of terror or acceptance, and if you choose to give in to the terror you probably won’t get the role. Then on top of that, “Your best friend may be your biggest competition, so you have to be gracious.” And gracious is what we understand from her a true professional understudy should really be, the person act in the best (friend) interest of the cast, the production and the audience.
Talking to Candice about the real showbiz experience, before the audience experiences the lights, the glamour and the action, has us very excited to see what this actress (who according to her just happens to sing) will bring to her show, Understudy Blues. From what we have heard and seen on theatre stages, Candice is a triple threat, she can act, sing and dance! So there will definitely be a star on stage at the Galloway Theatre stage this 21 – 31 May!
Can’t wait for opening night! Hope you have your tickets all booked Cape Town. If not, go book your seat asap on the Water Theatre School website, or send Sharon a message on 0827728867.