Basil Appollis’s talents as an actor and director have taken him all over the world, but his love for the Cape was enough to lure him home.
Q&A with Basil Appollis
It was from Basil’s passion for Cape Town that the musical dinner show, Kaapse Stories from the Mother City, was born.
As an award-winning director who is something of a South African theatre legend, Basil has performed in a range of productions including: A Writer’s Last Word (National Arts Festival 1998), District Six – The Musical (Baxter Theatre, 2002) and Motown Magic (Gold Reef City, 2009). His directing credits include: Buckingham Palace, District Six and Where the Boys Are. He’s also acted in various international films and made guest appearances on South African TV Shows.
His latest directorship sees him based at Richard’s Supper Stage & Bistro in Sea Point on an ongoing basis. Started three years after a grueling series of auditions for the best actors, Kaapse Stories from the Mother City is a musical dinner show that celebrates Cape culture by telling the story of the Kleintjies family. Actors perform a range of traditional and original songs in English, Xhosa and Afrikaans, whilst dazzling, engaging and surprising the audience.
Travel Ideas chatted to Basil about Kaapse Stories and his passion for the Mother City.
- Tell us about your background.
I grew up in a vibrant and theatrical farming community in Paarl. I think my upbringing contributed to me pursuing a career in the arts. When I finished school, I obtained a Performance Diploma in Speech and Drama at the University of Cape Town, after which I went to London where I completed a director’s course. Even though I’ve worked and lived abroad, I’ve always known that my heart lies in Cape Town.
- How did Kaapse Stories come to be?
My vision was to bring the multicultural street culture of Sea Point’s main road onto a stage and to celebrate the diversity and flavour of the Cape. I wanted to create a show that would educate people about our vibrant people and culture, while entertaining them at the same time.
Alongside Richard Loring (the producer of Kaapse Stories), we hosted a series of auditions for potential cast members. Hundreds of people from all over showed up. We found that the actors with experience stood out, but we were also looking for performers with the “X” factor. We ended up with a very talented and inclusive group of performers.
- Why did you choose to stage the show in Sea Point?
Sea Point is one of Cape Town’s most diverse neighbourhoods. It’s also located close to many Cape icons, such as Table Mountains, the Cape Town Stadium and Robben Island. We have many international visitors who come to see the show, so I think Sea Point and Kaapse Stories is a great reflection of what the Cape is all about.
- What is the most important message of Kaapse Stories?
Kaapse Stories puts the spotlight on and tells the stories of characters hailing from all walks of life. For me, the most important message of this production is that people’s lives are important, no matter who you are or where you come from. Secondly, I wanted to portray the importance of celebrating Cape Town as it really is, warts and all.
Kaapse Stories of the Mother City is performed Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays every week and tickets cost R435pp. This rate includes a glass of sparkling wine on arrival and a traditional, Cape-inspired 4-course meal.