Khayalethu Anthony – interview
Solomon and Marion

Published: Thursday, October 23, 2014 6:32 PM | Interview by Georgina Ramsay
Khayalethu Anthony (c) Fahiem Stellenboom Khayalethu Anthony (c) Fahiem Stellenboom

Khayalethu Anthony has come a long way from his days of performing at secondary school in his native South Africa. In addition to having performed in numerous productions throughout his career the rising star was also nominated for Best Script Writer at the Baxter’s 2012 Zabalaza Theatre Festival for a play he both wrote and directed.


Now the multi-talented rising star is making his mainstream theatre debut, alongside fellow South African Dame Janet Suzman, as he takes on the role of Solomon in Lara Foot’s critically acclaimed ‘Solomon and Marion’. I found out how Anthony felt about taking on his biggest role to date and why in the world of theatre he is one to watch.


How would you describe 'Solomon and Marion'?

Solomon and Marion is a story of two injured souls who when they are both in hard times they slowly reach for one another. Solomon and Marion is about loss, it’s about a great deal of pain.


What was it about the character of Solomon that attracted you to the role?

When I started to read the play the first time I fell in love with him, I saw a young Xhosa man who wanted to clear his past to move on with his future.

Solomon and Marion has different layers. There is a family side and there is the very painful side. For an actor you want to play in a story like that.


What do you like best about the story of 'Solomon and Marion'?

The story has different layers. There is a family side and there is the painful side. For an actor you want to play in a story like that.


Do you recognise any similarities between yourself and your character?

I like to distance myself as much as I can from each character that I play, but yes there are sometimes parts where I’m not sure if me and Solomon are as different as they should be. Solomon cares a lot about Marion in a way that I care about people around me.


You were chosen from 14 actors during a rigorous audition process. What was that experience like?

Auditions are always hard and scary for actors and that’s how it was for me.


Did you do any research in preparation for the role?

I always find the best way to research for the character is reading the play. I grew up in the township and I know how thugs walk and how they talk but I had to consider Solomon’s mind for this one so I went to the script


Solomon And Marion - Jun 2013 Solomon And Marion - Jun 2013

Solomon and Marion is your debut into mainstream theatre, were you nervous?

Yes because the pressure was huge. I knew this could be that one chance that might never come around again so I had to step up and show the world that Khayalethu Anthony is an actor and he is good.


What has it been like working with a seasoned actor like Dame Janet Suzman?

There are no words for it. She is a great soul. She is always helpful. I’ve learnt a lot from her.

You were nominated for Best Script Writer at the Baxter’s 2012 Zabalaza Theatre Festival for Inqwithelo Zemimoya which you wrote and directed. Would you say you are more comfortable acting, writing or directing?


I don’t like to categorise myself at the moment as I like all of them. I don’t think I can be Khayalethu Anthony if I didn’t do all of them. However in time I might have to choose but not now.


How did you get into first get into acting?

It’s a long story but to make it short I saw kids kissing through the window at the drama class so I knew I had to be there!


You've been described as a 'rising star', what's been the proudest moment of your career so far?

To be the first in my family to go overseas and to be nominated on lot of awards for my role as Solomon


Janet Suzman, Khayalethu Anthony in Lara Foot's Solomon and Marion © Jesse Kramer Janet Suzman, Khayalethu Anthony in Lara Foot's Solomon and Marion © Jesse Kramer

Solomon and Marion is a good story. I don’t think it’s only relevant in South Africa I think it’s universal.


Is there an actor/actress whose career you would like to emulate?

Ever since I was a young boy I only wanted to be the best that I can ever be not someone else but me.


What are your plans after ‘Solomon and Marion’, where can we see you next?

I’m busy with the one man show I wrote titled The Champion which played at the Baxter Theatre Centre and we have good reviews on it. Next year I want to push that more. See if we can tour it.


Best lesson you have learnt from your experience playing Solomon?

Best lesson I have learnt is that the more you perform the role the more you see other things you miss the first time you did it.


Why do you think people should come and watch 'Solomon and Marion’?

This is a good play with a good cast. It’s a good story and it’s told carefully and I don’t think it’s only relevant in South Africa I think it’s universal.


Info: Solomon and Marion is at Birmingham Repertory Theatre until 1 November – book tickets and at The Print Room, London from 4 – 29 November – book tickets




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