Who’s Upstairs: Louis Viljoen

Louis is one of the featured writers of Anthology, at Alexander Upstairs 7 – 18 April.

photograph by Jesse Kramer

photograph by Jesse Kramer

Home town?
Roosevelt Park, Johannesburg

Current project?
Anthology: A Change In Weather at Alexander Bar, and the re-staging of The Pervert Laura at The Fugard Theatre.

And the one you’re dreaming of?
I’m dying to write a foul mouthed, no holds barred pirate musical-comedy. Maybe I should stop whining about it and just do it. But I’m tired. And I need a beer. I’ll do it tomorrow, jeez.
How did you get into theatre?
A series of terrible life choices and regrettable events. That’s only half a joke. I found myself being incapable of doing anything else and I was lucky to know actors eager to work with me. That’s probably the key factor in my current existence as a theatre practitioner: luck.
Dinner with any two figures from history: who would you invite and what would you serve them?
Can I cheat a bit? Two Living Figures: playwright David Mamet and musician Tom Waits. We would have food that the two of them can talk about; obscure dishes from countries that don’t exist anymore and rare wines made by blind monks and circus midgets. Two Dead Figures: film director Sam Peckinpah and author Hunter S. Thompson. We would have rare steak and good whiskey. Maybe some Kentucky Bourbon in between the fistfights.  

Favorite spot in Cape Town (besides Alexander Bar, obviously)?
It’s a tie between Dias Tavern and Little Ethiopia. Don’t make me choose, you cruel sonsofbitches.

What excites you about theatre?
The fact that last year I saw more new and original work than I ever have. And not at festivals. I mean at true blue theatres, most of them independents like the Alexander Bar, The TAAC and The Rosebank Theatre to name but a few.

What mistakes have you made and learned the most from?
It took me a while to realize that you can’t work in a vacuum or in self-imposed isolation. Not in our little industry. The more I’ve opened myself up to others and their work and views, the better my work has become and the more I enjoy the whole process.

Who do you think people should be talking about?
Anyone attempting to make truly independent theatre. Not only independent of institutions or arts funding organisations, but independently minded work made by theatre-makers who are willing to make plays that don’t give people what they want, but give people what they didn’t know they wanted.