Ilse Klink as Shireen Fortune in ‘Skemerdans’. Picture: Supplied
Ilse Klink as Shireen Fortune in ‘Skemerdans’. Picture: Supplied

Ilse Klink explores a vulnerability not often seen on camera in ‘Skemerdans’

By Debashine Thangevelo Time of article published May 22, 2021

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Ilse Klink is one of SA’s finest actresses.

And it doesn’t matter if she’s working her magic in front of the camera or on stage, she is a tour de force.

Since her breakthrough role as Vanessa Booysens in SABC3’s groundbreaking soapie “Isidingo” in the late 90s, she took on characters, irrespective of the scale of importance, with commendable gravitas.

Throughout her career, she’s covered a wide gamut of roles, delivering notable performances in movies “Ellen: The Ellen Pakkies Story and “Dis Ek, Anna”, stage productions “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Chicago” and “Rent” and, last but not least, “Arendsvlei”, “Fynskrif”, “iNkaba”, “Lockdown” and “Snitch”.

She also bagged a small part in Donovan Marsh’s hard-hitting Netflix movie, “I Am All Girls”.

And Klink is one of the leads in the new Showmax neo-noir crime thriller, “Skemerdans”, which is directed by Ephraim Gordon and Amy Jephta, who also share writing credits, too.

Kevin Smith as Glenn Fortune. Picture: Supplied

She’s in great company with other industry giants like Kevin Smith, Vinette Ebrahim and Brendon Daniels, Carl Weber, Bongo Mbutuma, Sanda Shandu and the late Ceagan Arendse, to name a few.

The story centres on a battle over The Oasis, a once iconic jazz club run by Glenn Fortune (Smith) and his wife Shireen (Klink).

Times have changed and its high-end clients have all but disappeared. As such, Glenn has been struggling to keep the business afloat.

His younger brother, Warren (Arendse), who has a knack for getting himself into trouble with criminal elements, has a plan to get himself out of his current debt with the heads of a new crime syndicate as well as turn the fortunes around for the club.

Ceagan Arendse as Warren. Picture: Supplied

There’s just one glitch in his plan - Glenn isn’t interested.

When Glenn is shot, there is a glimmer of hope but that is dashed after he leaves the club to Trevor (Daniels) - a decision that also doesn’t sit well with Shireen, too.

Expanding on the intricacies of her role, she shared: “After a tragedy happens, she finds herself in a very vulnerable place.

“There are betrayals that happen with family, people who she thought had her back.

“So it takes great strength of character for her to deal with what she comes up against.

“She has to choose her battles, and she chooses family but not the family that we think she's going to choose.

“She has to let go of certain things that were important to her.

“She also has a very tumultuous relationship with her daughter, which she has to rebuild.”

Ilse Klink. Picture: Supplied

On why this part appealed to her, Klink admitted: “It’s very different to the characters that I normally play.

Normally, I get cast in roles where the women are exceptionally strong.

Shireen is that, but there's a beautiful vulnerability about her and the humanness of somebody who has been hard done by.

She battles her own demons to try and repair what is broken after the repercussions of the tragedy.”

She added: What also attracted me to the project was it tells the story of coloured people of affluence.

They're not downtrodden; they're not living on the breadline.

This is a very important story to tell, where coloured people are not seen as gangsters and other stereotypes.

“Also, the cast - from Brendon to Ceagan to Vinette – are all wonderful performers. I've never acted with an ensemble of exclusively black people for television so these were all pluses.”

The veteran actress couldn’t stop raving about the way the 13-part series is shot.

“It's entertaining. It's a murder mystery and it's a whodunit - and we don't know who did it until the very end. It's going to be wonderful for the audience to come on this journey with us,” she teased.

“Skemerdans” is currently streaming on Showmax.

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