Renate Engelbrecht
Content producer
6 minute read
6 May 2022
4:46 pm

‘Dinge van ’n kind’ – 3 Actors, 1 golden thread

Renate Engelbrecht

A brand-new Afrikaans series which is based on a book by Maritha van der Vyver has three actors portraying one character in different stages of her life.

'Dinge van 'n kind' launches on kykNET soon. Image: Supplied

While the brand-new kykNET series, Dinge van ’n kind kicks off with the lead role, Mart in her teen years, it actually revolves around Mart in the present, at the age of 63.

While serving as a reminder of the Apartheid regime, viewers can also look forward to journeying with a very relatable character.

Susanne Beyers in Dinge van 'n kind
Susanne Beyers in ‘Dinge van ‘n kind.’ Image: Supplied

In the series, which has been created from Maritha van der Vyver’s book and theatre production, Die dinge van ’n kind, three actors (Susanne Beyers, Cintaine Schutte and Melissa Myburgh) are responsible for portraying the personality of the main character, Mart Vermaak. This posed quite the challenge, considering that the series was filmed amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, which limited the actors’ opportunities to be on set at the same time.

Still, they’ve managed to sew a distinguishable golden thread throughout the series – one that the three actors playing Mart in her different life stages were able to adopt.

Susanne Beyers says her role as the present Mart (63), is one that required a lot of emotional depth. As with any other role, she had to focus, learn her words, ensure that she understood the text correctly and approach the role in a professional way.

She was able to help pull the golden thread through the series by studying the book and using her imagination to understand Mart’s journey. She likes the role because so many women over 60 will relate to Mart’s situation. “I understand her,” Susanne says. “It’s not too far from myself.”

Susanne Beyers in her role as Mart
Susanne Beyers in her role as Mart. Image: Supplied

Cintaine Schutte plays the role of Mart in her 30s – an expat in London with her toddler son, Pierre. Cintaine has been walking a long road with the character, Mart, having also played the role of a younger Mart in the theatre production.

She says being part of the transition from theatre production to television series has been a special journey. With the support of the producers, Cintaine was able to delve deep into the inner being of the young Mart, as well as the London-based mommy, Mart.

READ: Marita van der Vyver’s ‘Die dinge van ‘n kind’ becomes a TV series

Although time was limited, Cintaine spoke to Melissa Myburgh a lot, discussing Mart’s specific mannerisms and other character traits. She also did a lot of research, which she shared with fellow actors to ensure that the golden thread of Mart’s character was continuously being pulled through.

When Cintaine started with the original theatre piece, she consulted a psychologist, who took her through the psyche of a woman in her 30s, but also a teenager in the 70s and the 90s. “What happens, why do you make certain decisions, what does trauma do to you?”

Melissa Myburgh plays the young Mart
Melissa Myburgh plays the young Mart in ‘Dinge van ‘n Kind.’ Image: Supplied

“We used the book, Die dinge van ’n kind as a character bible, because Maritha van der Vyver sketches everything so beautifully,” says Cintaine.

For her, Mart’s character was very relatable. “She has incredible wisdom and curiousness about her, which I liked,” Cintaine says in her own life, she often observes and internalises – like her character. Her version of Mart shows how Mart wants to build a better life for herself, but mostly for her son.

Cintaine’s role is somewhat of a transportation tool from a younger Mart to Mart in the present, and while she only features a few times in the series, her role has a huge impact and certainly plays an important part in getting to know the character.

The series’ youngest form of Mart is at the age of 16. Melissa Myburgh, who plays the young Mart says it is a ‘coming of age’ story in which the reader sees the character grow up.

The role was very relatable to Melissa (22) who in a sense was also coming of age at the time, but more than that, transforming into a woman.

“I believe these three months of filming had a transformative effect on me. I was really a child when I stepped onto a set that first day, but now I feel all grown up,” the actress says.

Melissa also says she remembers how she often phoned Mienke (who played the role of Dalena) in tears, just because the world suddenly felt big.

“I felt so many emotions and the only way I can describe it is I felt everything in bright colours, and it was indescribably beautiful.”

A young Mart in Dinge van 'n Kind
A young Mart in ‘Dinge van ‘n Kind.’ Image: Supplied

For her, it was challenging to have to revisit the torment of being a teenager. Seeing life through that lens again was tiring in a sense. She also says with the younger Mart playing such a big part in the series, she had long days of filming and had to memorise difficult words and sentences from the text as Mart is such a clever character.

Like Cintaine, Melissa found the actual book by Maritha van der Vyver to be valuable during filming. “The book serves as the perfect blueprint for Mart Vermaak, her personality, her gestures, emotions, everything.” She says as long as all three actors stayed true to the book, it was impossible to portray Mart in the wrong light. “We also had three well-prepared directors who could help us to keep the golden thread constant.”

Melissa says she relates to the character, Mart in many ways. They both like to read and write. They are both curious about life – so much so that they feel they want to read more; learn more about what the world offers. “The character trait that sums us both up best is the fact that we both live in our heads a bit,” the actor says. “We romanticise the people in our lives, build them up and treat them like characters in a story. Sometimes the idea of someone or an experience is better than the real experience.”

Melissa Myburgh
Melissa Myburgh in ‘Dinge van ‘n kind.’ Image: Supplied

Melissa read the book, Die dinge van ’n kind four times before commencing with filming. She also read a lot of articles about the 70s.

She says: “The role brought a lot of healing and self-reflection for me, and I strongly believe it can do the same for the viewers.”

At the same time, the series will remind viewers of Apartheid and the political climate at the time; how history influences the present.

“We must remind younger audiences of what Apartheid was, so that new generations don’t make the same mistakes,” says Myburgh.

Dinge van ‘n kind launches on kykNET (DStv channel 144) on 10 May at 20:00.