From the Eastern Cape to Pinetown to Jo’burg. Before settling into his acting career, Loyiso Macdonald worked for a bank and a telecommunications Call Centre. He found both jobs uninspiring and by process of elimination, in the year 2007, he arrived at his final destination: Acting. “I enjoyed acting, I had an ease with it when i was doing school plays” Mcdonald began to research ways of getting into the industry this is how he found his way into the Theatre scene in KZN
How did theatre aid your television career?
I never studied acting: It gave me a safe environment to figure things out. I learned by observing actors during rehearsals, and by asking questions. Trying and failing continuously. I was very lucky to work with people who were willing to impart knowledge and bear with my questions. I’m always learning on the job.
What are the top three roles that you have played
Oberon from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ was my first Shakespeare play, that was a daunting task but I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it; Othello, i was only one black guy in the cast and I played the lead and Valentine in ‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’ On television, I love playing Ray and Kagiso on the Queen is a nice change of pace.
Have you featured in any movies?
I shot a movie called Three Way junction and it comes out next year. I spent three days on set and that was my first experience of a real budget film is.
What is in your Actors Survival Kit?
Coffee; a pen and water. The coffee dehydrates me so I need to drink a lot of water to rehydrate. I carry a note book in my back pack all the time because I enjoy putting thoughts down on paper, even when I have an idea for a scene or a character, it’s nice to jot that it down
You also star in the Madiba BET series, What was your experience like?
It was an interesting experience because it was the first time that I had ever been on a set that big. I was there for one day, not even a full day at that. I had one scene with Terry Pheto and it peaked my interest enough for me to say: “I’d like to do more of this.” Because literally since I arrived in Jo’burg in 2012, apart from the movie that I shot this year, I’ve just been cast for T.V roles, I don’t know why. There’s always an element of surprise when i get cast. I think for every actor, going for auditions is Russian Roulette in our minds, we don’t know what the producers are looking for but once an audition is done, I walk away from it and I don’t think about it again.
How are you juggling between The Queen and Gold Diggers?
As an actor, I’ve tried to simplify my process, to keep the bare minimum. I don’t like to complicate things I keep it simple and direct. Once you understand the structure of the story you understand what the purpose of your character is in the story. My workload on Gold Diggers is also very light, I go in once or twice a month whereas The Queen is very busy. So It’s balancing itself out fairly well.
What’s most challenging about being on set?
Focus is really hard in any production, when shooting on location you don’t have the safety net of a studio. You’re dealing with many variables, the decision makers in the production office have a lot of stress on them which sometimes filters through to the crew and the actors.
Like right now, we were supposed to move to a different location but we haven’t because we’re picking up on scenes we dropped yesterday. The challenge is in remaining focused so that when its time for you to get on set and they say action, you’re not only just building up the emotions for that crying or angry scene.
You look quite young for someone who is married
I got married at 26 We’ve been married for four years and have known each other for six. I never thought I’d get married, it’s the typical story of my life. I don’t plan things for the future, I don’t really look that far ahead, I try to stay in the present. When it comes to relationships, I found somebody and It all made sense. It didn’t feel like a struggle so I decided to put a ring on it. The character I play is not married so I
take the ring off on set. As soon I’ve wrapped it comes back on. I’ve only ever forgotten to put It back on once or twice after shooting, I got home one day and I couldn’t remember where I put it, now I have a specific place for it.
Has your celebrity status put any strain your marriage?
My wife is a musician so she understand the industry, there was never a need for that conversation to happen. If you keep a clear head and focus on what really matters, which for me is the work. All the other stuff is non-essential; people seeking attention as much as they do in this industry is an indication of insecurity about why they are in the industry in the first place. If you are secure with yourself, which a lot of actors are then you tend to avoid that kind of attention.
Both you and your wife are artists in the home, how do you deal with the prospect of not knowing where your next pay cheque will come from?
Actors lose their minds, we go crazy when we’re not working. I get very anxious and I try to keep myself busy. At the end of the day you have to save as much as possible. If I could wind back the clock to when I started I would have made sure I looked at investment
opportunities because there will be rainy days and as a freelancer you can’t avoid it. I didn’t come into the industry with a back- up plan, I said: “I’m going to do this or fail.” I took the Quentin Tarantino approach – It’s all or nothing!
Do you think you’re a good actor?
Yes I do, I know I’m a good actor because people still want to employ me and I don’t have a six pack or a million followers on twitter, so what else can it be?
PORTRAITS | LOYISO MACDONALD