By Melissa Cohen
29-year-old actor and funny man, Waasief Piekaan, recently made his “big break” on the Cape Town theatre circuit. This Michells Plein boy has been involved and interested in theatre since the tender age of nine. “I always had big dreams and now I’m making those big dreams in to big realities”, says Piekaan.
This comes after Piekaan’s recent win at the Baxter Theatre’s Zabalaza Festival where Piekaan walked away with “Best Actor”. This festival is able to embrace small community theatre projects as well as aspiring actors trying to make it big in the city. “The Zabalaza Festival gives actors, like myself, the opportunity to perform our work on professional theatre stages”, mentions Piekaan. Although Piekaan has been performing in community projects for most of his acting career, he has always wanted to bring his performances to the big stages that Cape Town has to offer.
After winning the Zabalaza award, Piekaan wrote and co-directed the piece, Wrongly Accused, which is currently showing at the Masambe Theatre at the Baxter Theatre until 1 June. This 60 seater theatre is able to transport the audience in to the small town of De Doorns allowing them the opportunity to go on an intimate journey with Piekaan and his characters, as he humorously touches on issues of poverty and love. “I am not ashamed to say that I have grown up in full view of poverty. Although it was tough, it is one of my aspirations for my work. I feel as though I expose the realities of many living in poverty through my performances but I try and satirise it in order for it to affect the audience in a way that leaves them thinking” says Piekaan.
Throughout Piekaan’s theatre journey, he has been offered to partake in a number of ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunities that, presumably, any community actor would jump at. Piekaan discusses one of his highlight performances that he did in Edinburgh. “I was privileged enough to be in a performance called “Vocal is Lekker” which did a few runs in Cape Town and was then asked to perform at a festival in Edinburgh. It was my most memorable performance as I was able to perform on a world stage for thousands each night. It was truly a blessing and reminded me that I must always be real to myself and my audience each time I get on to the stage”.
Piekaan’s out-going personality and his comedic gift kept me enthralled with laugher throughout our meeting and has been able to do the same too many other people who have been to see him perform. Piekaan mentioned an experience that he had at an event in Michells Plein where he was performing the Abba hit “Dancing Queen” to the audience. Piekaan noticed South African president, Jacob Zuma, in the front row and decided that rubbing his head would be a good idea. “I call it rubbing the nation’s head. It was so funny that the president even got up and danced with me afterwards”.
Piekaan is a highly talented man who is so passionate about what he does. He is an inspiring individual who gets his inspiration from his past experiences and the people around him, allowing his audiences to learn more about him and the different people that are out there. Although Piekaan doesn’t want to be classified as a comedian, this multi- talented performer discusses his main aim, “I want to be unique and make people laugh. I want people to appreciate a good laugh and not focus so much on the past, but rather embrace the present”. This funny man is definitely using laughter to makes his dreams come true.