A lot has happened since in the last month – so much in fact that I hardly know where to begin. In the most part it has been because Rockville 2069 had me rehearsing everyday at Artscape where it opened and ran for a week at the Opera House. It also has something to do with the fact that I won the folk music competition I entered. Together, they turned me into something of an overnight celebrity!
A week before I won the competition I was in two newspapers in one day, then the following week after the competition my name exploded into the press and on social media almost instantaneously. Suddenly I had people I hadn’t heard of in years contacting me and sending me words of encouragement. It was bewildering. When I went on to Twitter there was something like 100 notifications from people I don’t know at all. It almost felt like I was trying to escape my own hype because almost everyone who knew me couldn’t not make mention of my recent success and ‘fame’. I even ended up on Channel 24 which I only realised after some members of my family notified me. Check.
Around the same time Rockville had a morning stint on SABC 3’s Expresso Show and a week thereafter on magazine show Top Billing – two of the most watched programmes in SA.
I invariably was not able to perform at the Baxter Theatre as part of the folk festival due to a clash with Rockville’s premiere, and that of course was a big bummer. In that sense, the win was bittersweet. Fortunately the substantial role I had in Rockville as BanjoVida made up for my immense feeling of disappointment. I’d grown to love the “rockstar softie” who gets manipulated by a psychotic villain. The role allowed me to flex both my acting and rockstar muscles AND was physically exhausting.
My character was one of the only ones in the play who underwent an emotional transformation: from that of the bold lead singer of Black Habit to the whimpy lovestruck fool who gets his heart broken by the girl he loves. He later betrays both her and his best friend in a desperate effort to win her affections. Of course the plan didn’t work and I got to act out an extremely dramatic confrontation scene at the end as well as the play’s final catharsis.
The critics’ views on Rockville 2069 were polarised – some praised it and others loathed it. Most of the criticism gravitated around what they thought was a weak script and average sounding songs – one reviewer going as far as saying nothing about the production would bring you back to watch it more than once. Another review said it was on par with international musicals. Nonetheless the best thing I took out of it was the camaraderie amongst the 25 members of the cast. We really became like a family during the run and I must say it was the first time I’d experienced this in a production, which was a great breath of fresh air.
Looking back on the events of the last month and taking an objective moment to take stock, I’m humbled by all of what’s happened and feel ready to embark on the tail end of the year with fresh perspective and renewed zeal. Now, to finish the long awaited Fruit Vendor material.