Local stage star Ace shares secrets of the craft

TALENTED Nelson Mandela Bay actor and singer, Andile “Ace” Magxaki spent a lunch hour last week chatting to reporter Nomahlubi Jordaan at Primi Piatti about, among other things, the many roles he has played in theatre.

Magxaki has won the Showtime Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his poignant portrayal of the tormented Beast in Beauty and the Beast.

His latest challenge is to play Che Guevara in Evita, the musical which Gilbert and Sullivan will be staging from May 16 in Port Elizabeth. Chireen Ferreira will make a turn in the coveted role of Eva Peron, and Paul Leonard will play Peron.

Magxaki, a financial adviser at Liberty, chose a cocktail and a tri-carne pizza.

How long have you been in the performing arts industry?

I’ve been performing for just over a decade, but my most meaningful work has been in the last seven years.

Tell us about landing the role of Che in Evita.

It’s a dream role. I’ve been blessed with the roles that I’ve landed in the last 12 months, with each being very different and requiring a special approach. Che is an interesting character and I’m having to dig deep to portray what my director wants and also adding my own personal interpretation where I can.

What other roles have you played in your career and which were your favourites?

There have been so many. I’ve played The Beast in Beauty and the Beast, Curly in Oklahoma, Schroeder in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Benny Southstreet in Guys and Dolls and the Prine in Cinderella to name a few.

I loved each role but one of my favourites, and there were many, is Benny Southstreet in Guys and Dolls. I pretty much got to play the fool on stage.

What inspires you as an actor?

I’m inspired by the art of acting. It’s very much a craft that you have to hone. Also, I love the creating part of acting where you, as an actor, must create a character.

This is something that I have learnt from my director, mentor and friend Robin Williams. I love watching her direct and she always gets what she needs out of her actors.

Which teacher or mentor made the biggest impression on you, and how?

A teacher of mine in school Miss Laura Bekker was the first person to ever cast me in anything. That’s where I realised that I kind of had a gift. Greg Everard, Linda Louise Swain, Helen Flax and Robin Williams have all played a part in my development.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

LOL! I act, sing and dance on stage but when I’m not doing that, I’m playing rugby. These are opposite ends of the spectrum and a lot of people find it difficult to comprehend.

What is your favourite spot in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro?

My top five favourite places in PE, in no particular order are:

1. The Duck Sportsbar for chilling out and watching sport.

2. Charlie Superstars for food.

3. Salt for chilling out and cocktails.

4. Captains Bar and Grill for live jazz and karaoke. They also make a nice pizza.

5. Gym.

Further information on Evita from Rose Cowpar, 072-906-1977, or join its Facebook group at Evita G&S 2012

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