Namibian actress Lara-Lyn, is showing potential in her trade with her role in Phillip Wetu and Orange Juice. This week she talks to The Villager Entertainment about her experience during the making of Max; Fury Road.
When did you discover your love for acting?
From the age of 10 my best friend and I spoke about being actresses, I took part in small school plays and musicals but only launched a career as an actress around the age of 20.
Being one of Namibia’s leading female actresses. what challenges do you face?
The challenges have changed over the years. First the challenge was to meet the right people and start getting my foot in the door. Then it was doing well at auditions and getting selected (I suppose this never changes) and now the challenge I face is staying active in the scene and trying to broaden my horizons outside of Namibia.
I let go of the idea of making money with acting as it was still quite unrealistic and also can easily steal your love and passion for the art. Now I only take on projects as an actress if I feel inspired, compelled or enchanted with the role, even if that means going longer periods without being on stage or on screen. Although I certainly crave it.
What do you prefer theatre or film and why?
I launched my career on theatre with the aim of moving over to film as a bigger goal but once I’d done some films and then come back to theatre I felt instantly at home while on the stage. I am so grateful for my theatre training as it teaches you a lot of discipline and learning scripts & dialogues is now so easy for me as I practiced that a lot.
There is also something wonderful about staying in character and flowing in the story together with the audience. There is a certain thrill about theatre that I love.
What comes to mind when choosing what roles to play?
I primarily look at the character first and see if I connect with the character or if I feel challenged to play the role.
I like the idea of playing the villain or misunderstood characters and trying to get the audience to empathise with them or at least love to hate them. The story and message is of course of importance too. I appreciate a well written script with deeper levels and fodder for the mind.
How do you manage to find a balance between your career as an actress, art director and acroyoga?
I believe I am very fortunate that all these major aspects of my life compliment and supplement each other.
The physicality of the acrobatics and yoga keep me strong and healthy which means I am totally capable of doing the tasks required of me. The meditative aspects keep my mind sharp and relaxed. I handle stress better and also navigate social, personal and professional relationships better. My time as an actress also helps me during my work as an art director as I have a broader idea of the filmmaking process and vice versa.
What exactly is acroyoga?
Essentially it is a combination of acrobatics, yoga, dance and therapeutics. It usually consists of three people. The base, who is the one doing the lifting and supporting, the flyer, who is performing the Ariel manouvres on the support of the base and the spotter who is ensuring the safety of the other two.
Of course the spotter is optional depending on how experienced the base and flyer are or whether or not they are trying something new that may result in quite a bit of falling and failing until they start to find the control and skill to perform the new thing safely.
The number of people involved in acroyoga can also be much more than just 2. For this reason acroyoga is a very social practice and it requires very good communication, the building and maintaining of trust and respect. This is what makes it the best thing I have ever done. The people I have been training with all over the world very quickly became close friends or even acro family and the type of relationship we have will always be open and caring. Plus, it is the most fun I have ever had.
How and when did you start loving acroyoga?
I was introduced to acroyoga 2 years ago with an already long background in physical practices such as yoga, dance and kickboxing and even gymnastics in my youth, so I took to it like a duck in water. From that first evening that I tried it I was instantly hooked and have never looked back. It is safe to say I am an acro addict.
What has been your most challenging and taxing role to date and why?
Quite fittingly, my role in April Fools with Lize Ehlers and Sandy Rudd which had its closing night the same night that I tried acro the first time was my most challenging role. The play was written by the three of us about personal struggles we were facing. For this reason it was gut-wrenching to write, work on and perform. It frustrated me and forced me to face many aspects about myself that were very uncomfortable. I tried several times to pull out of the play but luckily for me Lize and Sandy reminded me that as an artist facing a lot of pain, it was now most important to create and pour myself out on the stage, not only for the sake of art but also for my own personal healing. That play did in fact heal me. My gratitude forever lies with those two inspiring women who held my hand and pulled me through that experience.
What role have you played that best reflects who you really are?
None of them and all of them. I never played a character that was very much like myself, I think that would be very boring and actually difficult for me. Yet they all had something I could relate to in some way. I very much like to play dark characters and the antagonist but in reality I don’t think that reflects me very much. I enjoy characters far away from me. I want to work to understand people who are completely unlike myself and then try to get the audience to understand them as well. The psychology behind that brings me satisfaction.
What has been your best experience in the industry so far and why?
Working on Mad Max in the art department. It was a long project and I felt out of my depth a lot of the time. I also had to work hard to prove myself, climb and grow. I learned so many skills which can never be taken away from me and made some great friends out of the experience. I was changed dramatically by that experience and it has helped me a lot in my career as well. Also, it won an academy award for Production Design and Art Direction for which I was a part off. It is a great feeling.
What’s your favourite hangout spot in Windhoek?
The Parliament Gardens. I hang out there doing acroyoga or yoga or just having a picnic with friends as often as I can. The tall old trees towering above and the wind dancing through their leaves. This is my happy place.
Does being an expert yogi make for interesting intimate positions?
What do you think?
What do you never leave your house without?
A sense of adventure.
What is your go to quote when seeking inspiration?
I am far too organic to have one that I stick to. It changes with the situation or my mood.
Who has been your favourite director to work with?
Here comes my diplomatic answer: All of them. They all helped me grow in one way or another.
Can we expect to see you in any new roles this year?
I hope so. It has been a while since I have graced the stage or been behind the camera and I am missing it right now. I would especially like to do another theatre production. Maybe even some stand-up comedy.