Marius Weyers (1945-). Actor on stage, TV and film. Perhaps one of the most revered Afrikaans actors of his generation.
In 1964 he relinquished his Legal Studies to join PACT (the Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal) as an Assistant Stage Manager. He soon landed a small role in an educational programme, and this led to other small parts with PACT's Educational Theatre Company. He then moved into the adult company. He was to have an eleven year association with PACT, during which time he performed in an average of six Theatre productions a year. In 1975 he left to turn freelance and for the following eight years he performed in independent theatre with Barney Simon and others (notably at the Market Theatre, while gradually also working on a film and television career. He returned to PACT for a brief spell as Artistic Director for PACT Drama (1983-1986), and thereafter returned to work freelance, and for a number of years in the 1990s he divided his time between Hollywood and South Africa.
Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance
His first lead for PACT was in the iconic play Ampie (Van Bruggen) but the role that set his career alight was that of in 1971 came his definitive interpretation of "Jakes" in Francois Swart’s production of the celebrated box-office success, Siener in die Suburbs (P.G. du Plessis).
Roles as actor on stage
His first stage lead was the name role in Ampie the classic Jochem van Bruggen play and in 1971 came his definitive interpretation of “Jakes”in Francois Swart’s production of Siener in die Suburbs (P.G. du Plessis).
Leads in more than 130 plays followed, including for PACT: Hello and Goodbye, an Afrikaans production of Othello (as “Iago”), The Crucible (as “Proctor”), Die Reënmaker (as “Starbuck”), Equus (as “Martin Dysart”), Othello (for KRUIK in 1977 as “Othello”), The Guest, an Afrikaans production of Becket of die Eer van God (as “Becket” in 1979) and in A Lesson from Aloes (as “Piet”), Die Seemeeu, (19**), The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1981), Die Vasvat van 'n Feeks (The Taming of the Shrew, 1983), Die Trem se Naam: Begeerte, an Afrikaans translation of Tennessee Williams’A Streetcar Named Desire in May 1985, Die Emigrante (1986), Hamlet (in Afrikaans, 1987), Hotel Paradiso (198*), (19**), Strider at the Alexander Theatre in 1987.
For the Market Theatre: Die Vroue van Troje (“Women of Troy” - 1976), The Seagull (1976), A Lesson from Aloes (Athol Fugard, 1978 and 1980), Outers (Barney Simon, 198*), Making Like America (Slabolepszy, 1986) and Fordsburg's Finest (Slabolepszy, 1998). One-man shows include Kafka’s Report to an Academy (translated and directed by Mario Schiess at The Laager in 1979 and 1980 onwards, and Marius Weyers (Chris Vorster, 2000), and Bal en Klou (with author Chris Vorster, 2001). Eendsonderend (vertaling van David Mamet se Duck Variations in 2011.
For Mannie Manim Productions: Valley Song (Athol Fugard, 2000?) and for the Baxter Theatre Centre: Sorrows and Rejoicings (Athol Fugard, 2001), Oom Wanja/Uncle Vanya (2004- Fleur du Cap for Best Leading Actor), Twaalfde Nag (2005), Begeerte (Eugene O'Neill’s Desire under the Elms (Baxter Theatre and KKNK 2006), Lang Dagreis na die Nag (KKNK and Vleis, Rys en Aartappels, 2008) .
One-man shows include Kafka’s Report to an Academy (translated and directed by Mario Schiess at The Laager in 1979 and 1980 onwards, and Weyers (Chris Vorster, 2000), and Bal en Klou (with author Chris Vorster, 2001).
He made his directorial debut with PACT’s revival of Die Swerfjare van Poppie Nongena starring Nomsa Nene in August 1983 at the State Theatre and then the Alexander Theatre. In 1984 Nomsa Nene starred in his production of the English version of this play at the Market Theatre.
His film career can be said to have begun when he obtained an 8mm camera. His interest, however, was not in performing but rather directing and it was horror genre movies that initially inspired the young artist.
Films include The Gods Must be Crazy (Jamie Uys, 19**), Paljas (Katinka Heyns ***, 19**) Tigers Don't Cry (***, 19**), The Guest (Ross Devenish, 19**), Deep Star Six (***, 19**), Bopha! (***, 19**), Ghandi (Attenborough, 199*), The Power of One (199*), Farewell to the King (199*), Stander (199*), Red Dust (200*).
In 1983 he received a surprise telephone call from Roman Polanski who had seen, and loved, The Gods Must be Crazy. The Polish director flew him to Paris two days later for rehearsals and then fought a long and hard battle to cast Marius as "Captain Red" a role that later went to Walter Matthau in Pirates. The part was originally written for Jack Nicholson. "Pure Blood" is proud to have cast Marius in the pivotal role of the General.
He has appeared in over 35 motion pictures most notably the huge box-office hit The Gods Must be Crazy, for which he garnered the "Best Comedy Actor" Award at the Charles Chaplin Festival in Switzerland. He earned his recognition as an international actor with this performance, and became a member of SAG. His most notable international feature credits include Richard Attenborough's Ghandi, Farewell to the King' (directed by John Milius and starring Nick Nolte), Bhopa (directed by Morgan Freeman and starring Danny Glover) and John Avildson's The Power of One as well as his international feature debut in 'Tigers Don’t Cry with Anthony Quinn.
Television performances include Die *** Faktor (SABC, ??, 19**); A Midsummer Night's Dream, Onder Draai die Duiwel Rond [“Underneath the Devil dances”] (Katinka Heyns, 1999 & 2001); Tekwan, The Golden Girls (**. 19**), Nurses (***, 19**), Good and Evil, Designing Women, Sewende Laan.
Awards include 13 Best Actor awards for theatre, including those for his one man show Report to an Academy (Kafka) which won international critical acclaim and enjoyed successful runs in Edinburgh, Israel and Los Angeles, 3 for film roles and the Medal of Honour for his contribution to theatre from the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns.
He also won the Stuart Leith Trophy.
SACD 1973; 1977/78; 1978/79; 1979/80.
Beeld. 26 September 2011.
Various entries in the NELM catalogue.
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