Interview: Tiffany Barbuzano on her addiction-themed drama series
In 2020, local drama Still Breathing had us glued to our M-Net screens as we watched the heartbreaking story of a stolen baby unfold. If you’ve not seen it, stream it on Showmax now. Then take yourself on over to Netflix to watch another drama from the same team: Sober Companion.
Written by Tiffany Barbuzano, along with Trevor Gumbi, it’s based in part on Gumbi’s personal experience of cocaine addiction and recovery. Every single person who has taken the first step towards a clean life should be applauded. Addiction is no joke, and each day is a battle in a war that never ends, for the addict as well as their family, friends and loved ones. The choice is between giving up everything for one thing, and giving up that one thing for everything.
In this 13-episode series, recovering addicts become sober companions in an effort to help other addicts overcome their vices – and in the process put their own sobriety at risk.
“We follow four characters as they deal with various addictions,” says Tiffany Barbuzano (her husband Johnny directs).
“My character, Grace, is a doctor addicted to pethidine. Kabomo’s character is addicted to helping people to assuage his own guilt over something that happened in the past. Meren Reddy’s character is a compulsive liar, and Trevor Gumbi’s character finds himself a year sober and the pressure of that sobriety is too much to handle. We are led down a path of redemption and destruction as the characters seek salvation.”
“The cast is still a dream come true; the number of ridiculously talented South African actors we managed to assemble for this show is staggering, with incredible acting from some of the country’s Africa’s top talent – including my boys – a much younger Jamie and Jesse Barbuzano,” says Tiffany. (The children also appeared alongside their mother in Still Breathing.)
“From Brandon Auret, Tumi Morake, Chris Beasley, Mpho Osei Tutu, and Terence Bridgett to Atandwa Kani, Michael Richards, Andre Odendaal, Garth Breytenbach, Nicole Bailey Mostert, Thandi Puren, Sivenathi Mabuya, Makgotso M, Chris Chameleon, Nina Hastie, Tessa Jubber, Patricia Boyer, Kate Normington to Robert Hobbs, we struck gold with them. And most are in roles we’ve never seen them in before.”
Fans of homegrown television will recognise some of these names from Still Breathing as well, and definitely their faces.
Tiffany also appears in Seriously Single on Netflix.