16 January 2023
Watch the creepy trailer for Showmax Original DAM Season 2
Created by four-time SAFTA winner Alex Yazbek, the small town psychological thriller Showmax Original DAM was one of the 10 most-watched titles of 2021 on Showmax and the most nominated drama series at the 2022 SAFTAs, earning rave reviews for breaking the mould of South African TV.
Season 2 is set three months after the Spring Festival. The cult’s ritual sacrifice seems to have worked: rain has come and transformed the land. Yola has no memory of anything since her return for her father’s funeral. Can she put the missing pieces together as diamonds are discovered, a mass grave uncovered and a monster surfaces in the dam?
Lea Vivier and Pallance Dladla return in their SAFTA-nominated roles as Yola and Themba, with Natasha Loring reprising her SAFTA-winning role as Yola’s sister, Sienna. Made in partnership with Picture Tree, the Showmax Original also won Best Art Direction for Sue Steele at the 2022 SAFTAs.
The trailer also gives us first glimpses of the impressive returning cast, which includes SAFTA winners Antoinette Louw and Tarryn Wyngaard; Fleur du Cap winner and Africa Movie Academy Award nominee Faniswa Yisa; and Laudo Liebenberg as Rudy and Francis Chouler as Dirk, whose love triangle with Sienna gets even more complicated this season.
We caught up with Natasha to find out more about the twisty and twisted Showmax Original.
How would you describe your character, Sienna?
She’s the oldest sister who decided to stay, to be responsible, and to look after her family – to do all the things that she knew her mother could not do, and her younger sister would not do.
At the start of Season 1, she deeply loves her sister, but is also very jealous of her for leaving and living the life that she doesn’t feel she can do herself. And then of course Yola returns from Chile for their father’s funeral and promptly inherits the family farm, which doesn’t help Sienna’s jealousy either.
Sienna’s also desperate for love, even if she looks for love in the wrong places.
What can we expect from the second season?
We are picking up from where we left off in Season 1, with a lot of questions. Yola is missing. In Season 1, I was responsible for putting my sister into a psychiatric hospital, so I am dealing with that guilt. Sienna’s journey this season is not only about finding out where her sister is and what has happened to her, although that is the driving force. It’s also about trying to take responsibility for a lot of the hard truths I found out about my family and the town that I’m living in. I’m trying to take ownership of who I am and find my voice and freedom.
What was the reaction to the first season?
We had an amazing response. When we were making Season 1, I knew we were making something bold and brave and out there. To be part of a show that was really pushing the boundaries was really exciting. What comes with that is mixed reactions, of course, because for some people, they were like, ‘Whoa, I couldn’t watch that; it was really scary and really out there.’ But I think for the most part, people were really excited about what we made and trying new things on South African TV.
What makes DAM different?
For me, I think what made it different is we were shooting Season 1 right in the middle of COVID, in a really life-altering year, and I was playing a character who was also dealing with a lot. I think all of us came with the experience of what the year had meant to us and made us feel, so I think there’s a rawness to a lot of the performances.
There is so much complexity in the characters and Alex really allowed us to be free and be ourselves, so it felt like I had total creative freedom and ownership over who this person was. That much freedom is not often given. It was refreshing to play a character who is showing all aspects of their emotions – rather than just being put in a pretty box, which is sometimes how female characters are portrayed. We could all really dig in deep with the roles we’d been given.
DAM’s been described as a psychological thriller but it also has horror, fantasy and romance elements. How would you describe the show?
Sienna’s story is a drama: a love story between these sisters, which explores the complexity of family bonds and jealousy and the lengths you would go to protect the people you love, and also to protect yourself.
But what I love about the show is that it doesn’t really define itself in any way. It’s got a little bit of drama, it’s got a little bit of horror, it’s got some mythical and thriller elements. There’s quite a bit of comedy in it, too. There’s a mesh of all the genres together; that’s what makes it interesting and different.
What was the highlight for you this season?
Oh, man, shooting in the Eastern Cape. The landscape out there is so beautiful.
And the people really make it. We’re living together in this tiny town for six weeks while we’re filming, so we’re a really close group. Not just actors, but the crew too.
I mean, once all of us just got together and hung out at the hotel and played 90s music and karaoked the whole day. I learned that Thembisa Mdoda knows every lyric to every 90s and 2000s song out there.
What have you watched on Showmax recently?
I really enjoyed Reyka. I think M-Net did an amazing job with it. And the HBO shows are really brilliant. What I love about where we’re at as an industry is that South Africa is starting to create really exciting content. Everyone in the industry is really looking inwards to our industry and creating more shows for ourselves, which is very exciting. And obviously, it’s all on Showmax. I’ve loved seeing what people I’ve studied with and people I’ve looked up to in the industry are making.
DAM Season 1 and 2 are available to stream on Showmax.