Local debuts in Kramer musical

2015-12-08 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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Southfield star Robin Pieters is making his acting debut at the Fugard Theatre in David Kramer’s newest musical Orpheus in Africa.

Robin plays Will Thompson and a few other characters 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.

Orpheus in Africa to me is a musical theatre production using talented South African singers and actors telling the story of Or­pheus’s travels to South Africa and his use of music as a way to achieve unprecedented success.”

The group was made up of first-generation freed slaves, many of whom had graduated from America’s Hampton University. They experienced considerable success when they visited South Africa.

Robin describes his character, Will Thompson, as unassuming.

“He comes across as a little bit snobbish, but when he sings he’s definitely part of a dynamic Jubilee Singers.”

Being no stranger to musical productions, Robin was working with Alistair Izobell on a production when he recommended him for a role in Orpheus.

“I then went through an intense audition and the rest, as they say, is history.”

He admits he was a little scared of working with theatre legend David to begin with.

“I grew up hearing David Kramer’s name, seeing his shows and now to be directed by him is so amazing.”

Robin says the experience is a dream comes true.

“He is professional, he demands discipline, he’s a true teacher who doesn’t mind sharing his knowledge and that’s why as an individual, I have grown.”

When he isn’t on stage as Will Thompson, Robin is also a singer. He says it took seven years of doubting himself and getting knocked, only to pick himself up and keep working with limited resources for him to break into the local music industry.

“My self-esteem took a beating more often than not.”

He recently launched his debut single “Where do we go from here” and the track is already playing on local radio stations.

Robin embraces all genres, but says his solo career is still his passion, so after Orpheus, he will be appearing alongside two international artists before jetting off to perform in Australia for two weeks. V In the meantime, theatre fans can catch Robin in Orpheus in Africa at the Fugard Theatre until 9 January.

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