By Jayson Squires
Isolated in a crowd of unfamiliar faces outside the Drama Department I peered over several mirthful heads in search of Mike Da Silva, Honours Drama student and director of Tank. He was engaged in conversation and I knew I was going to have to stand around, waiting. A fish out of water.
Once he noticed me, I was greeted with a firm handshake and a reassuring smile. Mike exuded confidence. Not arrogance, but rather a content assurance in his intellectual ability to answer any question I could throw at him.
Mike is currently working on Tank, his own production as part of the Young Directors Season (YDS). In his theatrical piece he hopes to bring attention to the oppressive power structures in society through the use of absurd humour and performance arts methods like the distancing effect.
“We wanted to explore the philosophy of anarchy and use it as a lens through which to deal with power structures,” he explained. “It’s funny yet offensive humour. Once you take a few seconds to think about what has been said, you realise that it is problematic.”
Having been initiated from an early age into thespian culture, Mike always knew the stage was his home. He attended the National School of Arts before studying at AFDA for a year. It was then that he decided that the film industry was not for him. In those years he gained hours of valuable experience both on and behind the stage, but he has now taken up the task of directing.
“Taking up directing was more about developing my skills in other areas. I find it interesting and intriguing because it is challenging, but also because I am a megalomaniac and I have to control everything”, he says humourously.
Mike sees directing as something that you need to constantly nurture – in order to improve. And in doing so, improve yourself. “I like to think of it as making a plant grow,” he says. “You take a seed and some water and soil and you really have to look after it.”
Mike is working assiduously on Tank to have it ready for the public.
All of the YDS productions will be on show at the Rhodes Drama Department between 9 and 12 September.