Q&A with Candice van Litsenborgh

In the second of our series of Annie Q&As, we spoke to Candice van Litsenborgh about the show and her various roles.

Q1: You play a few characters in the show. How are you finding the costume and character changes?

I play five roles. So in addition to my recurring character, Mrs Pugh, who is Mr Warbucks’ cook, I also play Sophie in the Hooverville scene (and do some more cooking), Mrs Christmas, the sound lady in the radio scene (who is definitely my favourite) and Frances Perkins in the White House.

Other than Sophie, they’re all comic relief characters, so it’s great to get to play and make people laugh. Costume and wig changes are really just part of the job. It’s all so well choreographed backstage that you know exactly what has to have been done when, so nothing is rushed.

That being said, there are also some lightning fast changes. One change I do is super fast. I walk off stage and 12 seconds later I’m back on as a totally different character top to toe. I have 3 people who just make it happen and I simply pop my glasses on and grab a tray as I scuttle on stage.

Q2: What has it been like to perform in such a well-known children’s musical?

It’s my second time doing Annie. The first time was 1997 and I had a great time then too. It’s a show that you can’t help enjoying, whether it’s as an audience member or working on the show. There’s a hopefulness and joy to the story and to watching these young actresses do such an amazing job. On a deeper level though, I don’t think it is just a children’s story. Look at the character of Warbucks. The name says it all. He’s a war profiteer looking for redemption through contrived charitable acts like taking in an orphan for two weeks of the year. He’s done it before and just sent the little boys back. His staff are his only friends. Warbucks is lucky that Annie comes along and can change and soften his heart but other children didn’t manage that. The country is also looking for the light at the end of a very dark tunnel. It’s the Great Depression, we’re heading into World War II. I think Annie offers parents a chance to really engage with children on some very difficult topics and to help them empathize, to stand up for themselves and others and see the parallels between the show and the lives of those around them.

Q3: How have you found the Cape Town audiences compared to the Joburg audiences?

It’s a generalization of course, and there are nights when there are exceptions, but Joburg audiences tend to be more vocal throughout the show while Cape Town audiences tend to show their appreciation more vocally during the bows. But all our audiences have been great.

Q4: What have you most enjoyed about this production?

The entire process, since the first day of rehearsals has been incredible. The cast are so talented and supportive. Every department is so slick. Nick Winston, our choreographer and associate director, really set the tone for the run. He’s kind, complementary when it is deserved, tough when required and a Star Wars geek. It makes the world of difference to have a team who treat all the people involved as equals. And Flirt, the Golden Retriever who played Sandy in Joburg is the best dog ever!

Don’t miss Candice and rest of the wonderful cast in Annie, now showing at the Artscape Opera House. Book tickets here.

Image: Christiaan Kotze

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