I AM PALLANCE DLADLA
THE MAN ┃ BEHIND ┃ THE LENS
"Not many a man can say, I have lived up to my name. His grandfather named him after his favourite actor, Jack Palance."
The SAFTA award-winner, actor Pallance Dladla is much taller than I imagined, his lean shoulders swallow me up in a heart-warming hug. As a well-trained actor, he looks me in the eye and speaks with much articulation. He doesn’t flinch at any question. His back is upright and he is ready to share his journey as one of South Africa’s most loved Actors.
He believes expression is his foundation.
That need to express, to communicate with people who can relate to my story. It’s about – Why I do this in the first place? Other people are just paying their bills -that’s justified, others just want the celebrity status and that’s still justified. As long as you don’t forget why you’re doing this. Every time you feel like you’re getting lost you go back to that.
Dladlas foundation also stems from self-discovery, he is very curious about the world and himself.
"I’m still trying to find out who I am and this medium is the best way for me to discover that. Whatever character I play I have to decide what voice I’m speaking to right now. That’s why it’s important for me to play different characters and to be a part of different productions. Coming from a theatre background I needed to find out what else I could do to evolve."
We can all attest to his growth, the revolution of an actor from story to glory. Being a runner up on the second season of Class Act was no short-fall. It may have thwarted his ego and challenged his confidence. But producer Amanda Lane and Dorothy Gould, his theatre teacher, made a new man of him.
We’ve seen him surrender himself to many different roles; Jimmy from 4Play, Sizwe on Intersections, X – On Tempy Pushas, Sbu from Rhythm City, risk-taker TK from Hard to Get and the much loved Jabu on Isibaya.
"There was a time before Hard to Get when I thought, what’s next now? I’ve done rhythm city; Isibaya and Intersexions but I still felt like I needed to grow."
Dladla attributes his success to the women in his life. “Somehow it’s always been women in my life.” He was raised by his grandmother, aunt and mom. His grandfather and uncle were in and out of his life but those three women have stayed with him. And it seems they keep adding up; his agent – Moonyeenn Lee – also played her role in shaping the man we see on our screens.
Class Act launched a fresh breed of actors, one of which being Sdumo Mtshali. Pallance speaks of him with reverence, as his blood, his partner in crime and business."Every day we inspire each other to go beyond what anybody else has ever done. We get frustrated when we feel like we’re stuck in the same spot. People are saying we’re doing well and I see that but we need to do more than well. We’re trying to create something that’s never been done in the industry."
As an individual, you need to create the spaces you want to exist in if the world you currently inhabit is exclusive. We’ve seen students protest about inaccessible education, women reclaiming their bodies and galvanize against rape issues.
Growing up watching black actors he admired, he soon realized how some were exploited and died poor. Pallance is now heart set on changing the inequalities within the television industry. Together with Sdumo Mtshali and Ntokozo Buthelezi, they started a production company to challenge industry issues and support talent.
The production company seeks to Educate actors about their rights and royalties. It’ll serve to prioritize the creative process, end racial equality, bring about unity so that the crew and the writing department isolated from the actors and the production team isn’t too divided from the story. To create an environment where the entire team fully understands the vision behind the story.