To Dean Smith (22), lead actor in Die Gangsters, time for hobbies and pastimes outside of acting seems unnecessary.
“I eat, sleep and breathe drama,” Smith said. He also played a role in Die dag is bros during this year’s Woordfees.
To Smith acting is not just a profession, it is his life. “I didn’t choose acting, acting chose me,” said he.
Earlier this year, Smith received a Fiësta theatre award as best supporting male for his role in Die dag is bros. “I was shocked and I could not believe I actually won, considering the other nominees in my category.”
Smith grew up in Malmesbury where theatre is not part of everyday life for most people. However, his family and school was his biggest support system.
His love of drama was first developed during his high school years at Skoonspruit High School. “If it wasn’t for Skoonspruit, I wouldn’t be big on acting because this was a school for the arts,” said Smith.
Even though he played some rugby, drama was always his first love. According to him, he lives for the thrill of being on the stage where he goes into another world.
“Yes, sometimes I like being the centre of attention,” he added jokingly.
At this year’s Woordfees, Smith had the opportunity to work with experienced actors such as Stian Bam and June van Merch.
“Aunty June is like a ball of energy and I learn so much. Ek is nie lui vir vra nie, so ek sal vir Antie June vra as ek met iets sukkel.”
This is also the first time Dean and his girlfriend act in a production together.
“It can be difficult, but this is your profession,” he said about this experience. He explains how Vashti Prins, his girlfriend, who plays Mother Theresa in Die Gangsters, finds it weird seeing him on stage kissing another girl in character.
“She once said it’s like you’re cheating, but legally,” he said laughingly.
Smith said he does not want to be “just a stereotypical coloured actor”. He is adamant that he wants to be “versatile” and that he wants to be cast based on talent, not colour.