Candice D’Arcy didn’t get to do much to celebrate her birthday. She was studying for a test that’s part of her honours in English degree.
When I speak to her, it’s a day since she turned 34 and a day that’s going to be filled with interviews about the TheatreSports FUNdraising event at the Artscape Theatre on Wednesday and, of course, the dreaded test.
She’s not the only one who is going to be tested though. The public’s test will be in the form of bums on seats at this fundraiser.
What are they raising funds for, you may wonder? TheatreSports, which has been at the forefront of the improv movement in Cape Town for 20 years, has been invited to take part in an international improv convention in Canberra, Australia in July. D’Arcy, with Tandi Buchan and TheatreSports Cape Town founder Megan Furniss, have been selected to represent South Africa.
“It’s going to be a week of improv,” she says about the trip, “and we’re going to be giving a workshop as well as playing with people from other countries.
“The workshop we’re going to give is about improv where language isn’t a problem. Where very little or no language is needed because in our country and other places English is not always the first language. In the evenings we’ll be a part of shows that are open to the public to come and watch.
“On the first night Megan, Tandi and I are going to have to play together to kind of show people what we do and wear the South African flag while doing it or something.”
At this fundraiser though, D’Arcy, Furniss and Buchan will save their workshop know-how for the convention and be all about the funny.
In a Whose Line Is It Anyway kind of style, the three funny ladies will take suggestions from the crowd and attempt to create hilarious storylines out of those topics. They will be helped by special guests Marianne Thamm and Soli Philander. D’Arcy is obviously quite excited about being afforded the opportunity to go and make Mzansi proud but she’s also excited to see what other parts of the world have to offer. Having been with TheatreSports for a decade, improv is something D’Arcy is passionate about.
For one, she says it was the starting point for her career.
“Everything that ever happened in my career started with TheatreSports – it kickstarted my career and helped me regain my confidence because while I did a little bit of it at drama school, I had a baby right after varsity – how to mess up your life in one easy step,” she jokes. “I was 24 years old and had been a stay-at-home mom for three years when a friend told me they were going to some improv thing for the weekend.”
She took part in the improv weekend and hasn’t looked back since. She doesn’t have rose-tinted glasses on about it, though.
D’Arcy has been acting in film and television while playing two TheatreSports gigs (at the Intimate Theatre and at the Kalk Bay Theatre) each week.
In addition to that, D’Arcy and the other TheatreSports players – there’s about a dozen of them – teach people how to become good at improv too. She recently had a role alongside Sienna Miller in The Girl, which was shot in Cape Town, and said the Hollywood actress was rather sweet since she’d found out she was in the first stages of pregnancy.
“It’s not like (TheatreSports) pays the rent in any way but it’s a passion job. We get to create magic on stage and create it from nothing.”
* The TheatreSports Fundraiser takes place at the Artscape Theatre on Wednesday. Entrance is R120 and donations from those who can’t make the show are also welcome. Details at 021 421 7695