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Kai Luke Brümmer - Moffie Interivew

MOFFIE – the world premiere stage adaptation of André Van de Merwe’s searing autobiographical novel - will play Studio 3 at Riverside Studios from Wednesday 5 – Sunday 30 June 2024.

Presented by The Fugard Theatre Archive in association with The Common Humanity Arts Trust (CHAT) South Africa, Moffie is South African playwright Philip Rademeyer's adaptation of André Carl van der Merwe's biographical novel about his time as a conscript in the apartheid era South African Defence Force into a dramatic monologue, performed by rising star Kai Luke Brümmer.

Kai Luke Brümmer in rehearsals

Brümmer will reprise his role as Nicholas van der Swart, the character he portrayed in South African director Oliver Hermanus’s critically acclaimed 2019 film adaptation of the novel, in which his performance was described by Screen Daily as “Triumphant. Kai Luke Brümmer a magnetic centre of an extraordinary young ensemble cast.” 

Ahead of the run we caught up with Kai Luke Brümmer to learn more.

Where did your arts career begin?
It started when I was 2 months old.  Well not really, hahaha,  but my mom was a drama teacher and I first entered a theatre shortly after my mother had given birth to me.  She later converted a helicopter hanger into a community theatre and I spent most of childhood in this theatre.  Later, I was lucky enough to attend the University of Cape Town and study Theatre and Performance.  After finishing my degree, I started working in the local Cape Town Theatre scene and then after Oliver Hermanus’s film MOFFIE I moved to London to pursue my acting career here.

Were there any people or performances that had a big impact on you?
There are so many people that have made a huge impact on my career, directors like Mbongeni N. Mtshali, Paul Warwick Griffin and obviously Oliver Hermanus have really helped shape my understanding of performance.  But equally, producers like Eric Abraham and Jack Sidey have given me tremendous opportunities to show what I can do. 

What first attracted to Moffie?
I am one of the ‘Rainbow Nation’ children.  I was born just before the first democratic elections in SA and grew  up mostly in a free South Africa.  The world I have grown up in, is vastly different to that of my parents.  I would be remiss to not acknowledging that my forbearers were part of a system that fought against the reality that I grew up in. A system that systematically oppressed people of colour.  Telling this story, a story of a white South African, who whether willingly or not, fought for Apartheid is always a tough ask.  But, at the same time, it is a huge privilege to be given the opportunity to delve into my heritage warts and all.

Kai Luke Brümmer in rehearsals

You player the role in the critically acclaimed 2019 film version, how has it been re-visiting the piece and bringing it to the stage?
It’s interesting, because the play is based on the novel rather than the film.  Being slightly older, revisiting similar themes and trying to figure out how to make this story vital for the stage has been an amazing challenge.  However, when I read Philip’s script, all my worries faded away.  He has created something very lean and muscular and I hope that I am able to rise to the standard of the text that he has so kindly given us.

Do you have to play the role in any different way when you are playing it on stage rather than on film?
Absolutely! In the film, the characters journey was very internalised, however, the play feels more like a confession.  Its also just me on stage, so the world and performance model are completely different.  But, Greg Karvellas, has been phenomenal in helping me find the performance language for the stage.
Did you do much research whilst finding the character?
I always try and do a huge amount of research for every project I do, and even though I have told a version of this story before, I started from scratch.  I am very lucky to have people who I can ask for real life accounts of that period in history, because it wasn’t that long ago. 

What do you hope an audience takes away from seeing Moffie?
We are telling a story about a young white conscript in Apartheid South Africa.  The parallels between the South African apartheid state and the genocide that is currently being perpetuated in Palestine are too numerous.  There are so many states and entities that are actively oppressing people, so I hope that audiences see this play as a warning, but also as a battle cry to fight for people around the world who are being persecuted.

Moffie runs at London’s Riverside Studios from Wednesday 5th June until Sunday 30th June. Tickets are available from 

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