PETER TROMP chatted to four actors – CLAIRE TAYLOR, DANIEL BUYS, SHANNYN FOURIE AND MICHELE MAXWELL – who it was recently revealed landed three plum roles in the Fugard Theatre’s forthcoming production of ‘Cabaret’.
Capetonians can look forward to seeing the trio resplendent in character when the production hits the boards on March 10.
Where were you when you got the news that you had landed the role, and how did you feel?
CLAIRE TAYLOR (CT): I was at an audition at a theatre in Johannesburg. When I got the call, I lay on the ground and screamed. It was unbelievable. I did get some strange looks though.
DANIEL BUYS (DB): I was at home when I got the call to say I’d been cast. I remember feeling excited and flattered by the opportunity.
SHANNYN FOURIE (SF): I was actually at the final call-back. I had been put through my paces and stood their panting and wide eyed having given it my all. They gave me this knowing smile that made my heart soar, but it was only official once I had left and been called by my agent.
MICHELE MAXWELL (MM): I was in my kitchen when I got the call and felt like I’d just won the lotto! I couldn’t ”Start spreading the news…” as we had to keep it under wraps for awhile, which made it a delicious secret!
Describe the audition process. Must have been intensive…
CT: My thighs were bruised black and blue from slapping them (part of the choreography). I have never danced that hard. Although tough and highly competitive, I’ve never had so much fun in an audition process.
DB: The audition process for the show was stressful, as it always is for any show. You put yourself out there and hope the feedback is positive. I auditioned quite late in the process and was auditioning for another show simultaneously so I felt a little overwhelmed.
SF: Yes it was! We started with singing then moved onto choreography. It’s all about taking control of your nerves, which I seldom master even with the aid of rescue remedy, a herbal supplement. I sometimes feel a shot of whiskey may do the trick.
MM: The audition process was even more intense as I’d just opened at the Kalk Bay Theatre in ‘Show And Tell’. However, the production team was so relaxed and encouraging that I actually enjoyed doing the audition.
What do you personally find appealing about ‘Cabaret’s’ story?
CT: It has so many layers to it; from the politics, history and promiscuity, to amoral lovers, garish glamour and personal struggles. It has been a “bucket list” musical for me since I first saw it.
DB: The story is appealing for me in that all the characters are very colourful. It’s set in a bohemian world – which is close to home – with the backdrop of extreme danger and malice. It’s fun and foreboding and real.
SF: It’s about our history as a human race and the ongoing intolerance for another belief system, which is universal and needs to constantly be highlighted in order for us to see that we keep repeating patterns and that we need to break the cycle. It’s also a love story set in a rather seedy establishment, which makes for many interesting twists and turns.
MM: The story is engaging from start to finish. I love the music and the mirror to society and how we should never forget…
Tell us a bit about your character and what your initial intentions are for the role.
CT: Sally Bowles is a singer at The Kit Kat Klub. She never stops acting. At her core, she is incredibly vulnerable and insecure, but wears an exterior of flamboyant ‘hysteria’. She is a complicated character with a capricious flight of fancy.
DB: My character Clifford Bradshaw is an American writer who is full of questions. He moves to Berlin looking for inspiration and I think searching for a sense of freedom in a conservative era. I think many of us will relate to Cliff and I hope to bring sincerity and integrity to the role.
SF: I am playing the role of Fraulein Kost who rents a room in Fraulein Schneider’s establishment. There are no definite reasons as to how she ended up having to sell herself in order to make money to survive, however I have my own idea for the reasons and motivation that led her to rock bottom.
MM: I’m playing Fraulein Schneider, who rents out rooms in her apartment. Her romance with the Jewish Herr Schultz highlights the influence the Nazis are beginning to have. With despair, she takes the advice to break off her imminent marriage to him. She’s a survivor and a realist and the script describes her as “Somewhere around sixty, full of vitality, interested in everything and probably indestructible.” She’s also determined, charming, strategic, funny and wise. The rest I’ll discover en route…
Have you gotten an indication yet of Matthew Wilde’s vision and if so, why should audiences be excited for what’s to come?
CT: If the hugely successful ‘Rocky Horror Show’ is anything to go by, I think audiences are in for a wild ride. I cannot wait to work with Matthew; to explore and experiment with this piece, and rehearsals are just around the corner.
DB: I’m really not sure what Matthew’s vision for the show is yet, so watch this space…
SF: Dark, gritty, compelling. Matthew likes the audience to taste and smell the atmosphere on stage. He’s a tactile director and I am over the moon excited to work with him.
MM: We only begin rehearsals in a week’s time, but I know that whatever it is, it will have been researched from every angle, visualised and brimming with Matthew’s brilliant imagination and creativity.
* Bookings are open via Computicket.
Early bird specials are available only through the Fugard box office on 021 461 4554.