Who’s Upstairs: Candice van Litsenborgh

IMG_4636Candice van Litsenborgh is performing in Vacancy at Alexander Upstairs from 30-31 June at 9PM and 6-11 June at 7PM.

Home town?
Born in East London but moved to Port Elizabeth when I was 5.

Tell us a little more about your show?
Vacancy is a show for anyone who’s ever felt lonely, let down and alone and didn’t know what the next step would be. It celebrates the risk of walking out your door and letting life happen. It’s a build up of those tiny daily anxieties and mildly painful experiences that can draw us into ourselves. Our characters are two people, Gavin and Eleanor, who aren’t particularly gregarious. They fantasize about things that someone who isn’t socially awkward would consider mundane. But they relish their small pleasures. And ultimately, that brings them joy.

And what’s next on the cards for you?
Canned Rice Productions’ next show, Court. opens at Alexander Bar on 4 July. It explores the experiences of the girl at the centre of a celebrity rape case, both at the time of the trial and 22 years later. It’s my first full length script and I play the character when she is 37. At the same time, I’ll be playing Ellen-a-Dale in Robin Hood at the Canal Walk Theatre during the day. I end the year off in Annie at the Teatro in Jhb and Artscape in CT.

And the project you’re dreaming of?
Dream job – Doctor Who companion. But if we’re talking musicals then I have a string of Sondheim roles I want to play. And Dotty in Noises Off is on my bucket list of plays.

How did you get into theatre?
I started speech and drama classes when I was 6. I’d been in about 50 amateur, drama studio and high school shows before I finished school. I was cast in my first professional show for CAPAB shortly after turning 18. I just got a phone call and was told I was in an opera I hadn’t even auditioned for. And then that entire system dissolved and acting as a profession became far more uncertain. So I studied to be a drama teacher before I finally headed to UCT to do a BA Theatre and Performance.

Dinner with any two figures from history: who would you invite and what would you serve them?
I’m writing two plays at the moment and I’d like to have dinner with both those people. But if it was at the same time I think they’d clash and I’d get nothing out of either of them. For just a good fun night, that I could also make some money from, I’d pick Marilyn Monroe and William Shakespeare. She’ll probably take over the cooking, which will be a Sunday roast. She’ll make peas and carrots coz she loved the colour combo and she’ll stuff a chicken with her famous poultry stuffing. William will be busy signing the folio copies of his work that he’ll make out to me. I’ll also show him Ethan Hawke’s Hamlet so he can write a document banning Hawke from ever making it? I’ll photograph Marilyn and sell all the previously unseen photos so they can be printed on cushions and piggy banks worldwide.

Favorite spot in Cape Town (besides Alexander Bar, obviously)?
Home, with a cup of tea, listening to the waves and having all the neighbour’s dogs coming in to say hello.

What excites you about theatre?
Finding great stories to tell and figuring out how best to tell them. Working with people who give you the “yes, and…” response so an idea can constantly move forward.

What mistakes have you made and learned the most from?
I waited by the phone too long, hoping for the magical phone call. You have to grab the bull by the horns. Make your own work, try your hand at something new. Constantly read, take classes, experiment and be brave enough to try and fail.

Who do you think people should be talking about?
Any of the small scale, producers, writers and directors who are creating original work. I’d love to see more support, personal mentoring and internships coming from all the big theatre complexes.