Chit Chat: Theodore Jantjies and Maurice Paige

2012-05-18 09:42

You’ve both been acting on and off the stage for a long time. Is this the first time you’re working together?
Jantjies: Maurice, Christo Davids (the director) and I grew up together. We’ve been acting on stage since we were in primary school. Later, in high school, we were part of the Kairos Drama Group at the Kairos Secondary School in Heidelberg in the Boland.
Paige: But this is the first time we’re doing something together since our professional careers
took off.

Where does the inspiration for Platform 9 come from?
Jantjies: Our own stories, really, and from people we know from our hometown of Heidelberg. The things we talk about are things that really happened in people’s lives. Because it’s so real, we have to respect the material and also be sensitive to it. We created our own characters and Christo finalised the script.
Paige: It’s an idea that’s been in the pipeline for a very long time. This year we took it on a more serious note and just decided we’re doing it. Our timing was never right in the past either.

What’s the essence of the show?
Jantjies: It’s a roller coaster ride of emotions emerging both mentally and physically. It’s a story of friendship – the laughs, the tears, the disappointments and
the joys.
Paige: It’s about how we can fix each others’ lives by simply being part of it.

Because you’ve been friends for so long, is it easy to work together or do you fool around most of the time?
Jantjies: Well, we know each other’s energy so it’s easy to help each other out on stage and help the other out with lines.
Paige: There’s a job to be done and we want to make this a success, so we’re going to work hard not to mess it up.
Who’s the more serious one between you two?
Jantjies: That’s a tough call because we both like joking around. Mongi (Paige’s nickname) is definitely more serious, especially when he’s tired.

Do any of the characters in the play have similarities to your soapie personas?
Jantjies: I don’t want to bring Xander into this play at all. He’s a lot more serious and because of that, this play is like getting away from work and that character. Yes, Theo gets serious in the play, but it’s a different focus.
Paige: There’s no relation to Calvin at all. And Theo and I actually play ourselves as well and I’d like to think I’m not like my soapy character. This play is taking a break from the daily routine.

Since the play is set in Cape Town, will all South Africans be able to relate?
Jantjies: We know this kind of play has been done before, but this isn’t a Joe Barber type of comedy. In the beginning of the play we lay the foundation in Heidelberg, so when the other characters are introduced it works, and not all of them are from there.
Paige: This is a national play, or at least we want to tour the country with it so we can’t just zoom in on Cape Town.

How many characters can we expect to see and which ones are your favourite?
Jantjies: There are six characters in the play and they really are all our favourites.
Paige: It’s difficult to choose, especially because they’re based on real people we know rather dearly.
What’s the most challenging part of Platform 9
Jantjies: Probably trying not to burst out laughing at Mau (Paige’s other nickname) because he’s just so funny. And, I guess playing a gay character even though I had done it long ago at school. It’s also funny when a straight guy plays the role.
Paige: I think it has to be separating who I am and being myself in the play – if that makes sense. I’m being myself, but Maurice is also a character and sometimes it’s a bit difficult to disconnect.

What are the future plans for Platform 9?
Jantjies: For now the focus is this play and, being from Heidelberg, it’s imperative that we take the play there. The people from our hometown support us the most, so this is a form of giving back to the community and saying thank you.
Paige: This is something we want to do for the next year or two, perhaps even longer. It’s the process of getting established and launching our own production company with Christo. It will be called Kaalgat Produksies.

»Platform 9 will be showing at the Joburg Theatre from Wednesday to Saturday. Visit for bookings The play will also run in Port Elizabeth on June 2 and 3. Bookings at Computicket, or with Avril Geswindt on?0?072 375 7376

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