Paul Slabolepszy

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(1948-). Actor. Born in Bolton, England to an English mother and a Polish refugee father. The family then emigrated to South Africa, where he grew up in (now known as Musina), Polokwane and Witbank, going to school at the College Of The Little Flower in Polokwane.

He originally wanted to become a radio sports commentator and sports remain a strong element in his writing, and pursue a career in radio. He thus majored in English and Drama at the University of Cape Town, where he decided to focus on stage acting.

Studied at UCT. Won the Stuart Leith Best Actor Award 1976. Performed in People are Living There, Othello Slegs Blankes, Enemy, Romeo and Juliet, Charley’s Aunt (as “Charley”), A Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet (as “Tybalt”), Marowitz Macbeth(?) (as “Macduff”), You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (as Charlie Brown), Siener in die Suburbs (as “Jakes”), Sweet Bird of Youth (as “Chance Wayne”) and in Death of a Salesman (as “Biff”). (SACD 1973) (SACD 1974) (SACD 1974) (SACD 1978/79) (SACD1979/80)

(1948-) Actor, playwright, director. Born in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), trained at the University of Cape Town, graduating in 1971. A founder member of the Space Theatre in Cape Town, where he performed in Enemy, Othello Slegs Blankes (?), People are Living There, School Play, Skyvers/Jollers, Three Cheers for President Charlie, Tinkle Tinkle and Workplay. ** In 19** he moved to Johannesburg. After the enormous success of his first play (Saturday Night at the Palace – which was shaped and directed by Bobby Heaney for a record-breaking run, beginning at the Market Theatre in 1982), Slabolepszy developed into a prolific writer and one of the country’s most successful playwrights. Very often working with his friend Bill Flynn, he has produced works which range between relatively sombre socio-political explorations of South African society, to light and crude (but hugely popular) farces. A prime characteristic of his work is his sharp observation of the language, personalities and concerns of lower middle and working class white South Africa. They include the full-length plays Renovations (19**), The Defloration of Miles Koekemoer (19**), Karoo Ground (1983), Boo to the Moon (19**), Under the Oaks & Over the Hill (1985), Making Like America (1986), Smallholding (1989), Mooi Street Moves (1992), The Return of Elvis du Pisanie (1992/3, winner of Vita Best Play Award and Vita Best Actor Award, and the Fleur du Cap Theatre Award, Best Actor and Fleur du Cap Best New Indigenous Script Award 1992), Victoria Almost Falls (1994), ******. Again working with Bill Flynn, Slabolepszy also developed a fine and profitable style of local comedy which ranged from the poignancy of his more serious work to the crude slapstick fun of the "Corky" series of plays (Heel Against the Head, A Tickle to Fine Leg and Life's a Pitch). The two also developed television and film versions of some of the ideas, with their farce about the Rugby World Cup, Heel Against the Head, being filmed in 2000. He also wrote several TV-plays, including Highrise Cowboy and Hands of Stone, as well as the TV-series Senor Smith. A number of his stage works were published in the collection Mooi Street and Other Moves (1994) as well as single issues of some plays. A number of the plays have also been published in collections. ** SLABOLEPSZY, Paul. He starred in Aubrey Berg’s Story Theatre together with Frantz Dobrowsky, Janice Honeyman, Eckard Rabe and Richard Haines for PACT in 1974. He starred in Robert Möhr’s production of The Tempest with Patrick Magee, Bill Flynn and Michael Richard for PACT at the Alexander in 1975. Slabolepszy and Flynn collaborated in several successful productions over the years including Heel Against the Head in 1996. He starred in John Herbert’s Fortune and Men’s Eyes with Bill Flynn, Ron Smerczak and Danny Keogh for The Company at The Nunnery in 1975. He starred in Ken Leach’s production of Feydeau’s A Flea in Her Ear together with Dorothy Ann Gould, Diane Wilson, Richard Haines, Frantz Dobrowsky, Michael Richard, Annelisa Weiland and Lesley Nott for PACT at the Alexander in 1976. He starred in Ken Leach’s production of the musical Fangs with Michael Richard, Annelisa Weiland, Lesley Nott and Bill Flynn for PACT in 1977. His Saturday Night at the Palace starring himself, Bill Flynn and Fats Dibeko and directed by Bobby Heaney was staged at Upstairs at the Market in 1982. It returned to the Market in October. His double bill Under the Oaks and Over the Hill, directed by himself and Frantz Dobrowsky was presented by the Market in September 1985. His Making Like America starring himself, Marius Weyers, Nicky Rebelo and Lida Meiring under Bobby Heaney’s direction was staged at the Market in December 1986. He wrote and starred in The Return of Elvis du Pisanie at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, the Rosebank Theatre (pg 513 which Rosebank Theatre?) and the Laager in 1992. He won a best actor award from DALRO and Vita for this play. His Mooi Street Moves was staged at the Laager in 1992. His Pale Natives was staged at the Market in 1994. It subsequently played at the Baxter before returning to the Market for a second season. He wrote Planet Perth in 1998.

Art of Charf (2006)

In 1983, Paul received the Standard Bank Young Artist Award.[TH, JH]

In Cape Town: Romeo and Juliet (Mercutio); Black Comedy; Death of a Salesman; The Relapse; Absurd Person Singular; El Grande De Coca Cola; Barney Simon's Joburg Sis; The Company's production at the Market Theatre in An Arabian Night; Cold Stone Jug; Marico Moonshine and Mampoer.

Received the Five Roses Young Artists Award for Drama.


Saturday Night at the Palace programme notes, 1983(?).

Tucker, 1997; Gosher, 1988; Kruger, 1999

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