Charles Tertiens is a comedian magician, who conjures smiles on children’s faces all over South Africa, and hopes to inspire some to become performers themselves and fall in love with the magic of the theatre.
The 38-year-old from Vredelust has been doing magic shows since he was in Grade 7 at The Settlers High School.
Mr Tertiens said: “I started out doing magic, but I always threw in a few jokes here and there to keep the crowd entertained. Then one day, this little girl, she was probably about 3-years-old, just looked at me and told me that I was the best clown she had ever seen in her life.
Even though she was so young, it still got to me, and it was sort of the start of me becoming a comedian magician. It also showed me that I did not have to dress up as a clown on the outside to bring humour. All I have to do is bring out the clown in me.”
While attending The Settlers High School, Mr Tertiens continued to perform at children’s parties and he ended up gaining more experience.
Mr Tertiens studied performing arts at UCT, keeping his comedy-magic routine going all along. Apart from the children’s parties, he’s done stage shows, corporate gigs, television and movies.
“When I finished school, I first travelled to England with a friend of mine to work there, but that only lasted three months before I came back home.
I then started studying personnel and human resource management at one of the Northlink colleges because I thought that was what I wanted to do, but, in the end, I followed my heart and I enrolled in UCT the following year.”
Mr Tertiens added that his father, Gerald Tertiens, worked as one of the admin managers for Gayle Petersen Productions and it was him who actually made the application to UCT.
“It was really the best thing that could have happened to me because I learned so much about my craft and more importantly about myself. The lecturers at UCT really work with you and they all take certain students under their wings and try and turn them into their proteges. I was fortunate enough to be identified by a few lecturers such as Chris Weare and Mark Fleishman.”
He soon found himself on stage in Onnest’bo, a drama dealing with the Group Areas Act of 1966, a drama directed by Mark Fleishman and Jennie Reznek about the forced removals under apartheid.
“I did not want to perform on stage while I was studying, but in my final year, I started working with Mr Fleishman and Jennie Reznek on Onnest’bo. When I graduated, we began touring with the show and that took me as far as Réunion Islands, and we even performed for deaf people because the show was all about our physical actions and not so much about the words, which was a kind of theatre that I really enjoyed.”
The show toured on and off for the next five years during which time Charles appeared in various TV shows, while he also starred in television shows such as Known Gods, Fishy Feshuns, 7de Laan, and Shooting Stars.
He also had a two-year stint as the SABC 2’s Hip2b2 host while his major movies include and had minor roles in Dollars and White Pipes and Disgrace starring John Malkovich.
While Mr Tertiens hopes to continue to grace screens and stages, the Vredelust resident has a long term goal of bringing theatre to the people.
“I remember once when I was in primary school the Artscape had mobile productions, and they visited our school and did a production of the Little Mermaid.
That memory is one that will always stick with me, and it is something that I am planning to do in 2020.
I have been buying equipment, and I am working on getting that up and running because I want everybody to feel that magic that I felt,” he told Northern News.