Briony Horwitz a screen, stage gem

2013-04-22 00:00

WHETHER she’s performing on stage, the small screen or in a movie, Briony Horwitz has the ability to create multi-layered characters which intrigue and fascinate an audience.

Her current role is a case in point. She’s playing an investigative journalist at The Voice in the soapie Scandal! and is on the trail of a killer.

“Sasha is a great character,” Horwitz said. “She’s had quite a difficult past and is quite closed off … so when playing her I try not to let anyone else see what’s going on with her.

“Sasha sees herself first and foremost as a journalist. She’s put other parts of her personality on the back-burner. She’s also quite crusading … she wants to save the world and she really isn’t that concerned about her own safety.”

Adding another dimension to the character, however, is an unexpected romance. “It catches her off-guard,” Horwitz said, “and it’s also an odd time for it to happen as she’s in the middle of a search for a serial killer.”

Horwitz, who also played Zoe Harris, the sexy, vibrant and witty friend of Gail Nkoane’s character, Lelo, in The Wild, said it was interesting to play contrasting characters.

“Zoe was a fabulous character — she was all about the hair, the make-up, the clothes, the sex — and that was a lot of fun.

“Sasha is none of that. I play her in flat shoes and funky clothes and she’s the kind of person who likes to cut through the bull.”

Horwitz also loves working with co-star James Alexander, who plays Sasha’s love interest, Graham.

“We were both on The Wild, but we only had one scene together in about 10 months … this time we have been able to work together a lot more. He has such a brilliant mind and has made everything a lot of fun.”

Away from the Scandal! set, you’re most likely to find Horwitz performing her one-woman show Owl, written by Jon Keevy.

I saw the production at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown last year and was captivated by the story of Olivia, a young girl who arrives in a small town in the Overberg with her dad. She finds it hard to fit in and make friends. Then she meets Kay, the girl with the scar.

Told in two parts, Owl offers a gut-wrenchingly honest picture of growing up different in the middle of nowhere.

Horwitz said she and Keevy would be returning to Grahamstown later this year to stage the play at Vicky’s, and had also been invited to perform Owl at the Brighton Fringe Festival in England in May.

But funding the trip isn’t proving to be easy, so she and Keevy are hoping to use crowd funding to get them to the British festival.

As for how she got involved in Owl, Horwitz said she and Keevy had known each other when they were students at the University of Cape Town.

“He put out a message on Facebook, which said he had completed the draft of his first play and needed an actress. I just knew I wanted to be it. I really wanted to do a one-woman show,” she added.

“I also like the way Jon approaches his work and the way he uses children and the innocence of childhood. He … looks at the world in a different way.

“He sent me the script and I thought it was absolutely beautiful. We spent six weeks working on the play before our first run and the response was immediate — people loved it.”

Horwitz also starred , Karoo, made by the writer/director team of Fazila Wahab and Oliver Kohl and in which won the 2011 South African Film and Television the short film category.

The film tells the story of Zoe (Horwitz) and Mac (Bjorm Steinbach), a young couple recklessly in love. They embark on a dark ride of lust-fuelled thievery, robbing roadside shops in small forgotten towns, until Mac starts to have second thoughts about sharing the loot.

Horwitz would love to do another film, and says she is grateful that Scandal! allows her the chance to do other projects.

“But I also think it’s important to honour them with my loyalty [because] they have trusted me with this amazing storyline,” she added.

• Scandal! is on Monday to Thursday at 7.30 pm.

• To help Owl get to Brighton you can make a donation to Jon Keevy’s account: FNB cheque, account number 60231080586, Gardens branch 201511. Put your name as a reference and e-mail


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