Interview with Rose Rathaga

Hearing Rose Rathaga's Views about been a Creative person in South Africa.

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Can you introduce yourself to our audiences (Briefly tell (talk to) Me about Rose Rathaga with regard to what she does as an artist)?  Where are you from, and why do you do what you do (your artistic creativity)?

  • Rose Rathaga is a qualified “Theatre and Performance Practitioner”. I majored in Directing and Performance. Born and raised in Soweto, Pimville, Diepkloof and Meadowlands. I have always aspired to be the voice of the voiceless in my artistic creativity- “telling and showing” audiences or people outside of Soweto that the township is more than just a tourist/historical attraction. Soweto continues to evolve in culture, music, dance and stories and that is what inspires my craft, where I come from inspired by the likes of Gibson Kente and fine artist Gerard Sekoto.

You are an ACTRESS |VOICE- ARTIST| MAKE-UP ARTIST , which one best describes you here, and why? 

  • ACTRESS best describes who I am because I am a vivacious person by nature! I am constantly changing my voice when I even have just a simple conversation with anyone. My life is a performance and everyone I encounter or interact with is the audience. “I am an entertainer at heart”, said Rathaga.

What do you like about Acting, Voice Over Acting and/or Make-up Artist?

  • Art is self-expression, therapeutic as well as educational, and I know that somewhere out there someone has been inspired by my performance, by listening to me on the radio or I’ve definitely changed the way a client  viewed themselves after I’ve performed a treatment on them (done their makeup) that’s what I LOVE about what I do and personally, my life is a canvas, my experiences are my tools and brushes, my craft aids me in painting this beautiful life as an active member in society.

Did you like acting since childhood, and when did you decided that you want to become an actor?

  • I was that little girl that sang Brenda Fassie’s songs in the mirror or come back home and sing Nursery rhymes in RnB so yes, I have been a performer since childhood. However, for the longest time I was sure I would study Gynecology until I got to High School and everyone kept asking me if I was really sure about Gynecology and suggested I should audition for Drama. I knew after that audition that that’s what I’m destined to do, I felt at home and I never looked back.

When did you start acting? What got you started?

  • I started acting in Creche/Kindergarten. We did a child abuse play and I was chosen to be a part of it because and I officially picked up again in Grade 10 as I took Drama as one of my subjects.

Do you like something other than Acting, Voice-Over and or Make Up?

  • I love cooking. I’m always trying new recipes. I make homemade pies, roasted chicken oh and I make a mean creamy samp and stew.

Why did you choose career in Acting, Voice Over and or Making-Up?

  • I honestly couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I enjoy being stretched beyond my comfort, I dislike routine and there’s always something new with what I chose to do.

Who are your biggest influencers?

  • Gibson Kente, Motshabi Tyelele, Jenifer Lewis and Lungile Thabethe

Can you briefly talk to Me about the “Voice Over Actor” role you played on SABC 1’s Skeem Saam, what did the role entailed and how you felt about it?

The role I played was a lady from a construction company who came to measure the yard, as “Kwaito” was building a house for “MaNtuli”. Because the character did not appear on camera, it was a voiceover that the other actor would react to. It entailed recording my lines as if I’m speaking having a conversation with the other actor, the only difference was the beats/ silence in between my lines which would later be filled by the other actor in front of the camera. I was really excited about the role because I’ve always wanted to be on the set of Skeem Skaam although it wasn’t a “big” role, I still had the experience.

Can you briefly talk to Me about the “honors & awards bestowed to you for  your contribution in the arts: Which honors and what did you do to earn them?

The award was in honour of my musical contribution in the adaptation of Xoli Norman’s “Hallelujah!” directed by Fiona Ramsay. I think what stood out for whoever was on the panel was my rendition of Miriam Makeba’s “Lakutshon Ilanga” in the play.

 I can see here that you also have had the opportunity to play a supporting role on M-Net’s “Inconceivable”, can you briefly describe your role therein?

I played a nurse at the Infertility clinic.

 You have had the chance to enroll and or to study with “The Pyramid Beauty School”, talk to us about it and where you have used the skills gained from this school?

I studied a part-time Make-Up course there. I am now a qualified makeup artist and business owner of GlambyRose. This has helped to keep afloat in the advent of unemployment in South Africa. I do makeup for video shoots, weddings, parties and any other event.

What, according to you, is the best part of your work?

  • The smiles of my clients at the end of the treatment (Make-Up)
  • Being able to fit into different shoes and tell people’s stories, I can be a doctor, a lawyer, a street-sweeper and or anything. Once you’ve played these roles, your judgement is not so clouded because you understand what it’s like to walk a mile in these people’s shoes (actor)

Tell us about the toughest part of your work? And why do you think it is tough for you?

  • The long hours. It’s tough because you still have to learn more lines when you get home, make notes on the day’s rehearsal and get enough rest to make it to tomorrow’s rehearsal. Acting requires one to be physically, emotionally and mentally fit.
  • House Calls. Waking up early in the am’s only to find the client is not ready and once they are, they rush the treatment because they’re behind schedule. (makeup)

If anything you would be asked to change about your work, what would be that one thing?

  • Allowing some time for a rehearsal on a film/tv set. Sometimes the process seems rushed and you don’t get the opportunity to interact well enough with your scene partner/s.

The entertainment industry is said to be full of stress and pressure; what do you do to tackle the pressure that comes with your work?

  • First, I pray for the environments that I get into and then I breathe through the whole process. There is a lot of pressure, you just need know your limits and voice them out so that you don’t drown in the stress and pressure. It’s important to put your well-being first before anything sometimes.

Do you have experience acting in Television or Film?

  • Yes I do

What is the first thing you do to research and approach a role?

  • I first read the script and then break down the character according to their physical,social, psychological and moral level. This gives me an idea of how they would walk, talk, speak, think. This would give me the context they grew up in and I would have to do further research on that too.

What experience do you have in developing accents for specific roles?

  • My strongest accents are Nigerian, Cockney and Coloured and Southern American. I continue to develop these through vocal exercises, phonetics and I could even develop more with the help of a vocal coach-once I can afford one, of course.

Are you flexible enough to work on short notice as a stand-in? How quickly can you assume a new role?

  • Yes. The more you audition, the easier it is to learn lines and build on a character. I could be cast today and assume the role on the same day. It’s all about the commitment and discipline.

What’s challenging about bringing a script to life?

  • Interpretation. Trying to understand and interpret the script as best as the playwright had intended.

What is your reaction to the people, who mimic you?

  • Laughter. I’m sometimes surprised at how dramatic I can be. It’s interesting to see myself through someone’s eyes.

List some of your accomplishments in the field of acting.

  • Landing roles, the aforementioned honorary certificates; meeting and interacting with industry people that I grew up watching; directing a play and performing a one-hander.

Describe your most challenging role to date.

  • The role of Dikeledi from Motshabi Tyelele’s “Shwele Bawo”. It was a one hander that required me to tap in and out of multiple characters. It required a lot from me physically, mentally and emotionally as tis was quite an intense piece.

Where do you see your career in five years as an Actor?

  • I see myself cast as a principle actress in a soapie, doing a couple of films, more stage plays and venturing more into being a casting director and director.

What is your strength as an Actor?

  • Sustained energy.

 How do you rehearse a scene if the other Actors you need to interact within the scene are not available?

  • I first read the whole script out loud so I can hear what the character is saying-listening is so important- and then record their lines and work around that. Always find ways of working with what you have. We actors are quite resourceful.

 Who do you consider to be your acting role model whose career you would like to emulate, and why?

  • Jenifer Lewis. She’s unapologetic and every role she plays she does with conviction.

What techniques do you use to create a believable character?

  • I draw from Stanislavki’s method of acting and Gibson Kente’s township acting.

How do you prepare in advance for a role?

  • I characterize, research the world of the play and rehearse well in advance.

Describe your acting style?

  • I enjoy highly energized acting styles that require physicality than relying more on costume. I always draw from Grotowski’s principles of using the body to compensate for the set because I believe an actor’s body is their greatest tool in terms of voice, gestures and physicality.

How do your friends treat you after you became a Celebrity? 

  • I don’t believe in the idea or concept of “celebrity” and I’m not on yet so to speak but my circle supports even the smallest of my achievements. I’m simply just a vessel of telling great stories.

Which fictional character would be the most exciting to meet in real life?

  • Professor Dumbbledor. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan.

What was your motivation behind a successful Actor?

  • Humility and discipline.

When you decided to be an actor, did your family support you?

  • Not quite in the beginning because they always thought I would become a gynecologist since I was also adamant on becoming but they adjusted once they saw my first performance in High School and fully supported me through varsity until present.

How important is developing a personal style when it comes to Acting?

  • It’s important to know who you are and the roles you would like to play and sell yourself as that as I’ve recently learned that actors are supposed to treat themselves as a business so that when you are requested for a role, you are fully comfortable and ready for that particular role and future roles. It’s also good to challenge yourself as an actor so that you are not constantly type cast, I mean that type cast could also be your brand but know the type of vessel you want to be.

You are also a Make-Up artist, can you share with us some of your experience as being a Make Up Artist? How was the transition for you from being an actor to a Make-Up Artist?

  • I ventured into makeup artistry to keep busy while I auditioned for roles and COVID happened and I don’t like sitting around and waiting for my agent to send me briefs. I wouldn’t say it was a huge transition because makeup aligns with my career and has in fact put me in places that are well aligned with acting. For one to execute a certain character, makeup is required so the two-work hand in hand.

You are a creative person; how has creativity impacted your life? 

  • I am able to think on my feet in any given circumstance, I’m resourceful and adaptable.

Entertaining people is the most difficult task; how did you become interested in this line of work?

  • I’m a born entertainer! I’m always the life of the party and I’m quite talkative so it’s not that difficult of a task for me.

You’re a multi-talented artist with a knack for both Acting, Voice Over and Make Up. What brings you more joy, acting, voice over, and or making up?

  • Acting, because I can always tap into the other roles.

Tell us about somebody you look up to; a person who has shaped the way you think and behave?

  • My mother. She’s a virtuous woman and has instilled so much in me. I continue to learn from her everyday- she’s aggressive with herself, career, business and puts her mind to every thing she does. She’s always looking for a challenge. Her motto is ‘It’s never too late or you’re never too old to start. Whatever you’re destined for will surely meet you along the way’

How has the depiction of violence changed in movies from the ’90s?

  • I think the violence that we see in movies these days is more for entertainment purposes and is didactic in a sense that the audience is made aware that there is CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) and SFX being utilized to create these movies. The violence is merely presentational and most movies are released with the director’s cut as well so that we as the audience learn and not immitate.

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