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Stallone Santino – that’s a name you should remember. After impressing audiences last month with his debut performance at the National Arts Festival (NAF) in his production Dream Boy, Santino now has his hands full prepping for the staging of How Soon Is Now? at the Sex Actually Festival in Joburg and is co-writing a show for DStv’s Mzansi Magic. Latoya Newman chatted to the rising star about his career…
How did Dream Boy come about?
Dream Boy is based on some of my experiences. I began writing with the intention to show people that careers do present struggles, no matter what they are. All it takes is unconditional faith.
When you are passionate about something, nothing else in the world exists. That is what inspired Dream Boy.
How did you feel before your first staging of Dream Boy at the NAF this year?
I was a little nervous since the NAF is one of the largest platforms in Africa. I was not sure what to expect. At times I felt exhausted, switching the roles of actor, producer, writer and sometimes director. It was my constant motivation and love for what I do that kept the flame alight. I felt awesome.
Were you happy with the response to the play?
As a debut production at the festival, I would say I was pretty pleased. Audiences responded well to the play. I met a family who walked into a show and thought they were watching Dream Boy, “the one-man show”, only to realise they were in the wrong show, because of similar titles. Despite the confusion, those who attended gave me reason to keep pushing on, that is why Dream Boy will be staged in Durban.
Tell us a bit about How Soon is Now? and the Sex Actually Fest.
The Sex Actually Festival opens up applications to cutting-edge artists all over Africa. When I was accepted, I was beyond ecstatic! The festival tackles issues around HIV/Aids. How Soon Is Now? is a theatre piece conceptualised and directed by myself.
There is a collaboration with the cast in terms of workshopping the drama because of the improvisational style of forum theatre. It is a show that brings to life the veracity of the HIV demon in society, educating and serving as an HIV/Aids initiative.
The show combines physical theatre, song and realism to effectively portray issues within relationships.
What about the Mzansi Magic gig?
Talk about random opportunities. A friend of mine was funded by M-Net to write and produce a bubblegum show for Mzansi Magic. She called me and asked me to supervise and assist in writing the show. Since television is another love of mine, I agreed. It is a comedy based on three families living in the post-apartheid era.
What are your aspirations for your career – do you see yourself on stage or behind the scenes? And what are some of the goals you’d like to reach?
I own a theatre business called Prompt Side Productions, so I have a lot of experience working behind the scenes. My heart belongs on stage, performing and directing.
I worked on a film set last year as a lead actor and absolutely loved it. I hope to become more involved in television and film. People have said I have an amazing voice, too, among other things, so I’m keen to give radio a shot.
• Born and raised?
I was born in Durban, raised on the Bluff, schooled at Merebank Secondary School near Wentworth.
• Stallone, as in Sylvester?
Yes, my mom was inspired by Sylvester Stallone, that’s how I got my “star” name.
• Favourite quote?
“For I know the plans I have for You, declares the Lord.”
• How Soon is Now? stages at the Drama for Life Sex Actually Festival at Wits University on August 30 from 9am to 10.30am in the Wits Downstairs and at 1pm in the Spaceframe. Another performance takes place in the Wits Amphitheatre on August 31 at 1.15pm.
For info see www.dramaforlife.co.za
• Dream Boy stages at the Catalina Theatre from September 6 to 9 at 7pm. Tickets: R60 at 031 305 6889. You can follow Stallone Santino on Facebook.