Soapie storyline strikes a chord

2009-10-10 00:00

ACTOR Christo Davids believes that it’s essential for people with a public profile to do their bit to help others — and that philosophy was one of the biggest motivating factors for the 7de Laan star to back the soap’s current teenage drug abuse storyline.

As fans of the SABC2 soap will know, Davids’s character, Errol, and his on-screen love interest, Janine (Crystal-Donna Roberts), got together after being cast in the same play, but love’s young dream has turned into a nightmare because of drugs.

Errol discovers Janine takes Ecstasy tablets. Initially he gets her to stop, but she’s soon back to her partying ways — and that’s when things really go downhill. Janine is introduced to cocaine, starts buying drugs from a dealer, and when she finds herself in financial difficulty, resorts to theft.

Asked why he thinks the storyline is important, Davids, who was born in Mitchell’s Plein, said: “I come from Cape Town and a lot of people I was at school with are addicted to drugs. If I can send out a message through this story — even if it helps only one person — it’ll be worth it.”

The actor first heard he’d be taking on the dramatic storyline last year and says he was very keen to do it. “It takes the character to a whole new level and makes him more mature,” Davids added.

Asked what he likes most about playing Errol, a streetwise teenager who ran away from home, he says: “I love his childlike honesty. Because he’s from the streets it took him a long time to adapt to normal society, living in a home and having to listen to people.”

The role also allows him to spend time with long-time friend Zane Meas, who plays the role of Hillside Times editor Neville Meintjies. “Zane and I have been been friends for the past eight years. He’s one of my very best friends and we’ve worked together on stage and screen. We also write together and produce together.”

One of those on-stage collaborations was in the play Shirley, Goodness and Mercy, a touching and vibrant account of acclaimed South African writer Chris van Wyk’s formative years in the “coloured” township of Riverlea. His performance earned him the 2007 Naledi Theatre Award for best performance by a newcomer/breakthrough (male).

Davids also worked with Meas on Bloedbroers, a translation of Athol Fugard’s The Blood Knot, which was performed at the Absa KKNK in April; and he received critical praise and was nominated for a Fleur du Cap Award for his performance in Athol Fugard’s Booitjie and the Oubaas at the Baxter Theatre Centre in Cape Town.

His big screen credits include roles in Shooting Bokkie (2003), a documentary about a 13-year-old assassin on the Cape Flats; and Forgiveness (2004), the story of a family’s cathartic rebirth when confronted by the confession of a former apartheid cop, which won the Junior Jury first prize and the Human Rights prize at the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland.

But when asked what he finds tougher — stage, big screen or television — Davids has no hesitation in choosing the soapie. “Of all the mediums it’s the most demanding because you work long hours every day,” he adds.

Asked what fans can expect with the storyline and Errol, all he says is: “There’s a big lesson coming in the next few weeks.”

7de Laan is broadcast on SABC2 Monday to Friday at 6.30 pm.

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