Philip is the writer and director of Ashes, on at Alexander Bar 4 – 20 June
Tell us a little more about your show?
Whilst doing research for a project last year, I learnt about the horrific murders of four young gay men in different towns in the Western and Northern Cape. The murders had nothing to do with each other, but had in common an unimaginable brutality directed at the victims – it makes you wonder 1) why and how someone could hate someone else so incredibly much, or 2) how someone could have so little regard for another’s life. These incidents served as the impetus for Ashes, which explores the life and relationships of a young man and the inherently homophobic and heteronormative society he lives in.
And what’s next on the cards for you?
Involved in three productions at NAF – Ashes and Full Stops On Your Face with the company I have with Penny Youngleson (Rust Co-Operative), and In The Wings which is a production by the Chaeli Campaign. And some other exciting things later in the year!
And the project you’re dreaming of?
I’m obsessed with Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler and Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly, Last Summer – I have exciting ideas for both, but… *sigh* money.
How did you get into theatre?
I did some speech and drama in primary school, but then suppressed my longing for a career in some creative field until my second year of varsity when I finally said, “Screw it, who needs a salary and sense of security anyway?”
Dinner with any two figures from history: who would you invite and what would you serve them?
Tennessee Williams, to pick his brain and with the hope that some of his genius would rub off on me. This is not quite a historical figure, but the mythical figure of Adam, I’m a bit obsessed with the idea of the ‘first human,’ the one who is human before being human is a thing. I’m sure Tennessee is obsessed with this as well. I personally wouldn’t serve them anything – I’m a disaster in the kitchen. Will take them out to a place with a good wine list.
Favorite spot in Cape Town (besides Alexander Bar, obviously)?
My flat, it’s where I hide but it’s not open to the public. Otherwise being halfway up Table Mountain on the Kasteelspoort route at sunset – it’s breathtaking.
What excites you about theatre (or music/burlesque/magic/etc)?
Live performance can be so visceral – in creation, execution and reception.
What mistakes have you made and learned the most from?
Not listening to others, but then also listening to others too much – figuring out when to do which.
Who do you think people should be talking about?
There’s a lot of exciting Afrikaans theatre which isn’t often seen on Cape Town stages (Jaco Bouwer & Christiaan Olwagen, for example). And theatre-makers like Liezl de Kock, Rob Murray, Jayne Batzofin, Koleka Putuma and Joanna Evans are super-creative and exciting.