Candacy Baveghems has always had an interest in theatre. She loves reading, loves books and recalls, “… every time I read a new book I’d see myself acting out the roles of my favourite character,” but because of a lack of confidence, she never thought “anyone would want to or enjoy seeing me on a stage”.
Winning last year’s Best Actress award in the Junior Category at the National Drama Festival would have been sure to boost her confidence, if it was still lacking. But Candacy had done quite a bit of actual acting since those day-dreaming days.
At the 2010 National Drama Festival, she performed with her youth group Youth Challenge Guyana in the play A Child Scorned, which was written by Shameza David. During rehearsals, the cast members had the opportunity to meet local theatre icon, Henry Rodney. Candacy was inspired by his words of encouragement and resolved to join the Theatre Guild.
Passion is what drives and fuels Candacy. “That feeling I get when I’m on stage and the lights come up is unlike any other I’ve experienced,” she said. And inspiration can come from everyone and everywhere. Candacy said she feeds off the “good energy” of people who are around her daily – both on and offstage.
Over the past three years since she has been a member of the Guild, Candacy has been in several plays. She cited Old Story Time, a Caribbean play written by the decorated late Jamaican playwright Trevor Rhone. The production was directed by Godfrey Naughton and staged in Berbice, Essequibo and Linden.
She was also cast as ‘Sabrina’, a 40-year-old maid in Blind Truth, a play she co-wrote with Nickose Layne and Shameza David. This as she described was one of her most riveting performances in theatre. Her character had been hiding from her ex-husband who had abused her mercilessly and even molested their adopted son which eventually led to the son’s death. At the end of the play Candacy presented a monologue where she told Sabrina’s story to the audience before killing the protagonist. She had placed so much of her own emotions into the performance that after walking off stage she was distraught, crying and depressed for days.
She fondly remembers Working Girls, a play written and directed by Kwasi Edmondson for her role as a prostitute, a character she said that was so out of her comfort zone that it presented a challenge and won her love.
Creative Burial Ground, written by Rae Wiltshire, is the play that was Candacy’s vehicle to her National Drama Festival award. The play, which was directed by Nickose Layne, also won six more of the ten awards in the Junior Category at the 2013 National Drama Festival.
“I read the script and immediately knew which character I’d be cast as, Ororo! I could have sworn that Rae wrote that character with my personality in mind because of the similarities. So when I performed I just felt like I was being myself, always questioning everything,” she expressed when asked about her interest in the play.
Every dramatist has his/her absolute favourite role in drama and a character he/she just wants to fit his/her skin into. For Candacy, it is the role of a schizophrenic that has her heart. Challenging roles are her key interests. “I am more than willing to explore different characters as I do not wish to be typecast,” she said.
A far cry from the girl who had no confidence that anyone would want to see her acting on stage, Candacy now wishes to be more recognisable and to make a bigger splash in the pool of drama. Acting is her way of promoting the arts locally and she is still waiting on that role to make her feel fulfilled as a dramatist.
Off stage she is a youth volunteer and a final-year student at the University of Guyana tackling her Associate Degree in Marketing Management. Before that she has been a student at St Joseph High School.
Candacy grew up in Georgetown with her grandmother, cousins and aunts. She misses the days of playing cricket in the middle of the street with the neighbour’s children; running around during games of ‘war break’ and ‘freeze and melt’ or just deciding which neighbour’s fruit tree to climb and raid. She even misses her grandmother’s halting of their fun by calling from upstairs: “Lil chirren muss be in dey house by six!”
Today in her spare time omce she’s at home, Candacy is often glued to a book if she’s not writing or on the internet; if she is out with her friends, she’s doing random stuff.. She joked that she plans on dominating the world one day but in reality she just wants to focus mostly on intermediate goals rather than long-term ones. So for now, it’s completing university and making the best of every opportunity that presents itself.
Describing herself as unpredictable, she urges everyone to sit tight with open minds and expect the best in drama not only from her, but the local drama community at large. “Our land is filled with so much raw talent waiting to be discovered and polished. Let’s start providing more avenues so we can do so,” she urged. “Recognise and support your own; it breaks my heart every time a [foreigner] comes to our stage and you hear tickets are sold out then when it’s our own productions there is a poor turnout. I’m well aware that comedy is very popular in our culture but …[it] is not the only enjoyable form of theatre Guyanese actors have to offer. Come out and support your own!”