Singer in awe of work with Kramer

2015-12-01 06:00
Front from left: Aubrey Poo, Edith Plaaitjies, Lynelle Kenned, Jill Levenberg, Bianca Flanders and Natasha Hess. Jarrad Ricketts, Carlo Daniels, Robin Pieters, Sanda Shandu and Graham Bourne are at the back in this scene from Orpheus in Africa.  PHOT

Front from left: Aubrey Poo, Edith Plaaitjies, Lynelle Kenned, Jill Levenberg, Bianca Flanders and Natasha Hess. Jarrad Ricketts, Carlo Daniels, Robin Pieters, Sanda Shandu and Graham Bourne are at the back in this scene from Orpheus in Africa. PHOT

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Rondebosch East star Graham Bourne is currently shining on stage in David Kramer’s newest musical Orpheus in Africa at the Fugard Theatre.

The UCT Opera graduate plays the role of Moses Hodges 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.

The singing group was made up of first-generation freed slaves, many of whom had graduated from America’s Hampton University. They toured Scotland, Australia and South Africa singing African-American spiritual songs.

“They became an unlikely sensation here in a time when race was a big issue,” Graham says, adding: “This musical is the story of their trials and tribulations and ultimately their success.”

After working with the Cape Town Opera chorus for many years, Graham says he broke into musical theatre with the help of Pieter Toerien, Paul Warwick Griffin and Charl-Johan Lingenfelder.

Graham has travelled the world as Caiaphas in Pieter Toerien’s Jesus Christ Superstar, with Cape Town Opera in Porgy and Bess and in Showboat.

Another highlight of his career is performing in Saartjie Botha’s award-winning Balbesit under the direction of Jaco Bouwer.

“It’s all been very surreal, but I take it as it comes and I’ve made a vow to myself to never give less than everything I have every time I perform.”

Graham admits to being nervous when his agent suggested he audition for David’s new show.

“I had always been in awe of the man,” he says, explaining that District Six was the first production he ever saw as a child.

Graham says he can’t begin to explain his experience of working with theatre legend David.

From trying to get over the idea of working with him, to the fact that he includes actors in decision-making that comes with directing, Graham says: “One is left feeling like you’ve accomplished more than normal.”

He’s also appreciative of David’s enthusiasm and praise for how his cast members do what they do and says he never wants the experience to end. “I’m ridiculously grateful and I hope to show that with my performance – night after night.”V Tickets for the show are available from the Fugard Theatre box office on 021 461 4554 or via Computicket.

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