BWW Interview: LANGARM Leads Delve Into David Kramer's Unmissable New Musical

BWW Interview: LANGARM Leads Delve Into David Kramer's Unmissable New Musical

With promises to take your breath away, David Kramer's LANGARM debuts at The Fugard Theatre later this month. Taking on the starring roles of a forbidden duo in 1960s Disctrict Six, Cameron Botha and Rushney Ferguson gush about this new musical, working with Kramer, and LANGARM's unique appeal.

BWW: First of all, congrats on landing a lead role in LANGARM. In a nutshell, tell us about your characters.

Cameron: Jeffrey Levine is a Jewish hotel manager from Johannesburg who comes back to Cape Town to help his Aunt run the Canterbury Hotel after his uncle passes away. Him and his previous dance partner/fiancé break their engagement and this causes him to give up dancing. Jeffery then meets the feisty Angelina Cupido and the rest, as they say, is LANGARM the musical.

Rushney: Angelina is a feisty young woman who is determined to win the Swaziland Ballroom Championship. However, she falls in love with someone from the other side of the racial fence and things take a different turn for her.

What was most appealing for you about the show? Why did you decide to audition?

Rushney: With most original productions, it's very rare that the content is made public. So for me personally, it was the prospect of working with Mr. Kramer again for the third time that inspired me to audition. With that said, working on an original Kramer production is also a huge honour.

Cameron: Of course working with David Kramer is incredibly appealing. Working with him on this has been such a privilege. He has such a strong sense of storytelling that it turns any project he touches into gold. I've always wanted to be part of a production that doesn't focus on issues abroad, but rather dives in and addresses some local stories. As rehearsals continued and we created this new South African musical, I realized how much of our own history we don't know; little gaps here and there that were left out and now hopefully this production will open up dialogue so we can talk about the past and heal from there.

So what was it like working with working with David Kramer for the first time?BWW Interview: LANGARM Leads Delve Into David Kramer's Unmissable New Musical

Cameron: David is a master at what he does. The amount of research that he puts into his work is incredible. He drives you as the actor to always go the extra mile and find the character's truth. He has completely changed the way I think as an actor as well as changed my approach with directing and script writing. These last few months have felt like a master class rather than a rehearsal process and I do think that he and the entire team have created something quite special.

Rushney, an experienced and talented choreographer yourself, do you find yourself more so drawn to productions with a strong dance or storyline element in them, or were you just lucky with LANGARM?

Rushney: In any production, the storyline is most important. Any choreography, movement, or stage direction will enhance or bring that storyline to life. Yes, I most definitely love a strong dance element in any production but without a good and solid storyline, the choreography won't make sense. They go hand-in-hand.

What's been the best part of working alongside each other?

Rushney: Cameron is such an amazing person and is lovely to work with. He's had a lot of experience in the theatre world and is able to embody his character with ease. Being a very honest actor, Cameron makes it easy for me to connect with him.

Cameron: Rushney is a talented actress that is so committed to her art form. She is such a giving actress too; she isn't scared of jumping into the deep end with you to explore the characters. Offstage we love joking around and have that typical brother-sister banter.

Cameron, you just started rehearsals for LANGARM during your run of CALLING US HOME - another homegrown musical. Is there something about original South African musicals that really appeals to you?

Cameron: It has to be the freedom that comes with new original musicals. It's pioneering work that allows you to be the architect of the character. With classic musicals there is always a reference in the back of the audience's mind, a Julie Andrews in Sound of Music, a Liza Minnelli in Cabaret, but now you get to create the mold of the character.

Like CALLING US HOME, the Cape Town theatre scene has seen some great musicals this year, what makes LANGARM stand out from the rest?

Rushney: LANGARM is a story that everyone can relate to. The characters are real people with real dreams and trials and tribulations. It stands out because it is set in the heart of District Six and it embodies the spirit and culture of the Cape.

BWW Interview: LANGARM Leads Delve Into David Kramer's Unmissable New Musical

Missing out on the height of the racial tension and laws in South Africa in the 1960s, how are you able to relate to this production's story?

Cameron: It was hard as I was fortunate to miss all of it, but research plays a big part of preparing for such a part. You need to fully understand the social political background of the time and lucky for us as actors this is probably the most documented period of our country's history. There is so much for you to draw from as an actor. What I also found extremely helpful was having conversations with people that lived through the hardship of it all, to help gain some personal memories and experiences.

Rushney: I may have only seen the last days of the apartheid era but my parents and grandparents lived it. It is through their stories and their experiences that I am able to relate and connect to what the characters in the story are going through.

And how do you think LANGARM's 1960s setting will translate to modern day audiences?

Rushney: The characters could easily be you, have been you, your mom, your dad, your aunt or your grandmother. The theme of love is timeless and will always touch audiences no matter what the setting of the production. However, LANGARM does deal with real issues that are still ongoing and we still see the after effects of that time period, today.

Lastly, why should audiences come and watch LANGARM?

Cameron: David Kramer and The Fugard Theatre have become synonymous for quality entertainment. With an uber talented cast, breath taking dance numbers and toe-tapping live music, LANGARM promises to be a night to remember!

Photo credit: Claude Barnardo


LANGARM will be performed at The Fugard Theatre from 20 November from Tuesdays to Saturdays at 8pm with a matinee performance on Saturdays at 3pm. From Sunday 16 December, there will be an additional Sunday matinee at 3pm. There will be a Monday night performance at 8pm on New Year's Eve, 31 December 2018 also at 8pm. Tickets ranging from R150 to R260 can be booked through The Fugard Theatre box office on 021 461 4554 or through The Fugard Theatre's website at www.thefugard.com.

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From This Author Lindsay Kruger

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