Cape Town – On Wednesday an enigmatic new character made her appearance on Arendsvlei.
Just who is the woman in the park who was whispering to herself and watching Daniel (Cantona James) with an eagle's eye?
In season two of the popular kykNET & Kie (DStv 145) telenovela Quanita Adams - who was part of the writing team of season one - moves from behind the scenes to onscreen.
The series is centered on a Cape Flats high school and comes front loaded with drama as teachers and pupils confront issues ranging from depression and addiction to murder, revenge and teen pregnancy.
With her character's mysterious debut on the show, we needed to find out more about Laetitia.
In this Q&A the Sara se Gehiem actress she tells us more about her character, her connection with Daniel, and why this storyline is important.
You started as a writer on the show, and now you're onscreen talent. Did it feel like a natural transition for you?
Yes, very natural. I've been a part of this story since the beginning. So, when then the opportunity came around, I was thrilled. I loved that even though they are in the world, they exist a bit in their own bubble. To be honest, I would try to write myself into every part! I even put myself up for Hamilton [Kevin Smith]. (Laughs). When I was offered Laetitia, it was such an honour. She is perfect. I love her.
When and how did the idea of your character, Laetitia, come about in the writer's room?
The process is very organic. The team of writers are incredible, and every week they get together and thrash ideas out. I was in constant awe of the talent. If I can take a moment to celebrate what it means to have a head writer that comes from this community. We are writing ourselves. Our own stories, in our voice. That is the biggest thing. The idea of Laetitia and Daniel emerged from needing new and exciting stories going into the new season. To be able to tell a new kind of story is something we pride ourselves on. And it's very relevant.
You said that this character reminded you of the role Lena which you played before. Can you elaborate more in what way?
Years ago, I was privileged to perform in Athol Fugard's Boesman & Lena. Lena is a homeless woman who has endured many hardships and challenges. Life on the streets has shaped her. I immediately saw such strong similarities that it helped me to find Laetitia. Ultimately, they are different; their circumstances are different. But it helps that I have performed this kind of role before, albeit in theatre. The challenge has been the most rewarding, and I am grateful to the team for trusting me with this woman.
Without giving away a bit too much, can you reveal a bit more about Leatitia and Daniel's storyline?
Laetitia found Daniel when she was wandering around, looking for her next location. Daniel found it odd at first, but they grow closer together as time goes on. Laetitia becomes like the mother Daniel never had, and their relationship is just beautiful. Laetitia is overprotective of Daniel and teaches him how to be a better human. And in turn, Daniel reminds her of her own son that she lost.
How do you feel this storyline with shed light on the plight of homelessness?
It's made me consider things differently. So often we hand over some coins (sometimes begrudgingly) and then that's it. We don't spare a thought to what goes on beyond that. And for women in particular, who have specific needs around health and hygiene. I honestly hope this makes people consider this plight for longer than the time it takes to hand over your litter in your car, or rifle through your pockets for coins. Mental illness and mental health are also dealt with in these characters. I want the audience to consider that often, we don't know the journey people have taken. To be grateful for what we have, it could be taken away in an instant. And to be kind. Just be kind.
WATCH A TEASER HERE:
Tune in to Arendsvlei Monday – Wednesday at 20:00 on kykNET & Kie (DStv 145).
Compiled by Leandra Engelbrecht.
(Photos supplied: Penguin Films)