Sello Maake kaNcube on life, acting and Race


Sello Maake kaNcube’s love affair with Durban has seen him return with his latest theatrical offering entitled Race.  In this play by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright David Mamet, kaNcube plays a lawyer who is a part of a politically correct law firm hired in a racially charged case. What attracted KaNcube to the role was Mamet himself, whose work he is a fan of.

It is not just the dialogue penned as only Mamet can that enticed him but also his opposition to method acting. He does not believe in living the character to make him more convincing.  This technique may work for such legends as Marlon Brando but after the Heath Ledgers death, one would tend to agree with kaNcube when he says “There are no characters, but a series of events , the action defines the character, I am a channel that gives the actions a voice and a human form”.

 He says it is these events that illustrate a story. Whether you are of the mind that acting is character or action driven, one thing that is certain is that kaNcube does a good job at being a vessel for stories, be it on television or in theatre.  His versatility has seen him succeed in both television and theatre. Something which he notes comes from a love for both mediums.  “They are both my children and I love them equally and I fit what I love into my life”. He negotiates time off to do a theatre production into the contract for the etv soapie Scandal, ensuring that there is no sibling rivalry.

His talent does not end in front or the camera or audience, he directs as well. And his meticulous attention to detail won him the coveted the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for directing Komeng in 2002. His many years of acting have rubbed off on two of his six his children. Just as his eldest son Mxolisi, was starting out, he was killed in a car accident earlier this year. This was a hard blow for kaNcube as he says his children are the loves of his life. “I live side by side with everything that happens in my life, it is included in my work”.

 Last year he brought Mating Birds which ran for 3 days, although Race will run for a week, kaNcube laments about the short period, saying “Just when I get warmed up, the play closes.”Although he admits that the reception is always warm, he urges the people of Durban to “Start loving theatre, it is like a drug, once if you enjoy the first experience you go back for hit after hit”.

A seasoned actor he may be but he admits to feeling pressure with all his work. He counts his role in the musical The Lion King, as “different” experience for him. He soon returned to his staple of dialogue driven plays when he played in Othello in London’s West End where he says “There is a great appreciation for theatre”. If that is the case, then London audiences are addicts saying no to rehab. Race premiered at the Playhouse on the 15th and will run until 22 October,

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