Plain star in David Kramer musical

2015-12-08 06:00
Dean Balie, Edith Plaatjies, Bianca Flanders and Lynelle Kenned in a scene from Orpheus in Africa, David Kramer’s newest musical. PHOTO: Jesse Kramer

Dean Balie, Edith Plaatjies, Bianca Flanders and Lynelle Kenned in a scene from Orpheus in Africa, David Kramer’s newest musical. PHOTO: Jesse Kramer

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Mitchell’s Plain star Edith Plaatjies is currently shining on stage in David Kramer’s newest musical Orpheus in Africa at the Fugard Theatre.

The actress, who made her debut as a chorus member in Blood Brothers, plays the role of Belle Gibbons in the production that tells the story of Orpheus McAdoo and the Virginia Jubilee Singers who toured Queen Victoria’s colonies in the last decade of the 19th century, along with the evolution of black American music.

Edith explains that the singing group was formed by Orpheus in 1890. The troupe was made up of first-generation freed slaves, many of whom had graduated from America’s Hampton University.

She says the group travelled the world to sing old plantation spiritual songs.

“Some are hymns that most of us know and sing along to in church.”

The group experienced considerable success when it visited South Africa.

“The experience they had in Cape Town is something to behold.”

Edith’s character, Belle, was part of another vocal group with Orpheus, which she left to join him in his new project.

“Belle is a soprano and very forthright about her dislikes. I absolutely love playing her.”

She was part of the workshop process for Orpheus in Africa and says it gave her a taste of how exciting the production would be, so she simply had to audition when the opportunity arose.

Edith says working with theatre legend David has been an amazing experience.

“I’ve never met a director with the kind of patience he has and who’s open to have your input in what he has created,” she says, adding: “He is humble and a very funny human being.”

While she can’t share too much information on her next project, Edith promises she has something very exciting up her sleeve for her next act.

In the meantime, theatre fans can catch Edith at the Fugard Theatre in Orpheus in Africa until 9 January.V Tickets for the show are available from the Fugard Theatre box office on 021 461 4554 or via Computicket.

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