Seasoned actor and comedian, Desmond Dube, has taken on a new role this month of Pops, a character born more than half a century after musical, King Kong, was first brought to on a Wits University stage.
Dube joins the cast which was part of both the international tour and Johannesburg run of "The Suitcase". He will be replacing Sne Dladla who left the production due to other commitments.
The last production he was a part of at the Fugard Theatre of "I See You", Dube said he jumped at the opportunity to get back into a role that allowed him to express his comedic prowess.
“The last time I was here I was doing a dramatic role and it was a bit of a dark story. A lot of people were like 'but he’s a comedian why is he doing that?'
“Having played a dramatic role, 'Kanala' was on at that time here (the Fugard Theatre) and I remember saying I want to do that on this stage. I want to play in a musical,” said Dube.
"King Kong" tells the true story of the rise and fall of heavyweight boxing champ Ezekiel “King Kong” Dlamini. Sophiatown sets the scene for this 1950s musical. The character Pop narrates the story. Dube said the role afforded him the opportunity to “have fun”, but that there were no shared characteristics between him and his character. “No similarities! I’m a terrible storyteller. My daughter always says you cut things out and you just think we’re going to catch it and, so I have to follow a journey and make sure the audience follows too
Dube relied on his family members' experiences of living in Sophiatown which helped to prepare for the role and the original production paved the way for future authentic South African stories.
“King Kong pioneered the black musicals and it gave us a lot of stars. Redoing this now as an actor is an honour. I read that Nelson Mandela went to the opening. I don’t think it was political as such, but I think it is because it was something new to a black community” Dube says.