Pallance Dladala as Themba on 'DAM'. Picture: Supplied
Pallance Dladala as Themba on 'DAM'. Picture: Supplied

Pallance Dladla says 'DAM' will resonate will many South African women

By Kedibone Modise Time of article published Feb 23, 2021

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SAFTA-award-winning actor Pallance Dladla says he cannot wait for South Africa to meet Themba, a heart-throb biker who packs up and heads back home to the rural Eastern Cape when things get tough in the latest psychological thriller DAM.

While running away from his past, Themba meets Yola Fischer (Lea Vivier), who is also battling her own demons, and the pair hit it off immediately.

Elaborating on his character, the formerIsibaya” actor says: “Themba is on the run but that’s really concealing what he’s running away from internally.”

And that layered storytelling is what “completely sold him” when he read the script.

“The script is beautiful because it’s written the way you see it: it’s very cinematic, which immediately broke from the scripts you normally see here, which are more based on dialogue.

“In ’DAM[, the story is told through the pictures and what the characters do," he shared.

Pallance Dladla. Picture: Supplied

The Soweto-born actor says being part of DAM is a dream come true and he’s thrilled to have added a different character to his résumé.

He added: "I try to explore as many genres as possible to see how the same stories can be told differently.

“What I like about psychological thrillers is that you can touch on heavy subject matter without being too on the nose.

“You can be metaphorical; you don't have to be direct. You can let the audience engage their own imagination by looking at the shot and putting the pieces together – and by the audience putting the pieces together, they become more involved in the story."

On what he enjoyed most about shooting the series, the 28-year-old said: “Getting to watch one of my favourite actors, Neil Sandilands – watching him work was amazing.

“I loved seeing other people’s processes and how they work, from Lea to Faniswa to Siv – just seeing how everyone has this special gift they have harnessed.

"And seeing how Alex and Tom’s relationship on set creates this encouragement, and how Alex can evoke certain qualities out of you that your character needs, that will make your role serve the story.

“I’ll forever be a student of the game because there is just so much to learn and marvel at with our talent out here.”

Dladla says he hopes that viewers walk away with “hope” after watching the eight-part series.

“There is quality inside of you that is heroic light, inside each and every one of us. If we dive into the deep end and are not afraid for those dark things to come out, we’ll be amazed at what strength we can find in that dirt ... in that darkness."

He added: “I was raised by a single mom so that strength of going through whatever trauma it is, I get that from my mom. I think the women of South Africa are going to relate to this series."

The series is written and directed by multi-award-winning director Alex Yazbek.

Commenting on some of the challenges he encountered, Yazbek revealed: “We filmed during Covid, which was difficult.

“We had certain rules and laws we had to obey, which was challenging. We were lucky we only had one break in the shooting.”

He added: "Thrillers are an escalating narrative; the stakes have to keep rising. But someone once said the monster loses his power when we see his face.

“As soon as we see a monster, it’s not as frightening any more. So I needed to create the tension by relying on the imagination of the audience to conjure up the monsters.

“This isn’t new. Spielberg did it in ’Jaws’; you only see the shark after an hour. But that was my main challenge: how to create tension, and how to engross the audience.

“I built in cliffhangers at the end of each episode, so they would watch the next one, and I had a lot of help from Brendan Jury in the music.”

Yazbek says with the new season premiering this week, he is already looking forward to filming season two.

The series also stars Faniswa Yisa, Siv Ngesi, Antoinette Louw, Tarryn Wyngaard, Andre Odendaal and Jennifer Steyn.

“DAM” is streaming on Showmax.

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