You'll remember his name

Published Oct 10, 2003


Keeno-Lee Hector had hair like the Burning Bush of Moses, was a total loon and his personality was like an effervescent tonic.

That was a few years ago and one thing has changed. Still a frothy font of one-liners and wisecracks, he went snip-snip on the 'fro and grew up. With a new philosophy on life and being able to reason out the anxieties of the entertainment industry, he is standing tall.

"They (directors, producers at auditions) are only interested in what you can do for them that day and how you look, which shouldn't be and we would like to think that the world isn't based on this, but this is the way it is - which is why I lost 11kg."

"Also, I've had too much depression to last me a lifetime...'specially when you're spending six weeks in have a lot of time on your hands."

The stint in Port Elizabeth came about when he was doing educational theatre with the African Reparatory Educational Performance Programme. He feels he has earned enough karmic points and Fame is exactly the big gig he needs to work up his public profile.

"Being in community or education theatre is very good for the heart and soul, very rewarding. But for the bank balance it is not going to work."

Cast as Joe Vegas, Fame is a case of life imitating art: "A young hip Puerto Rican in the school of performing arts who tries to cover everything up with jokes, is very similar to what I used to do," Hector said.

The acting bug came up when, in matric, he was chosen to play the lead in Who Killed Jimmy Valentine, a Volkswagen Musicactive production which ran at the Baxter. And upon his mother's insistence that he should study, even if it was drama at UCT.

Fame is not a case of feeling naked on stage in front of thousands.

"It is all about going for interviews (auditions) for every day of your friggin' life and you can worry yourself into a knot. I was tired of living in a grey area and decided to put myself in a higher gear. I had a self-realisation that I wasn't going to get any work if I didn't take care of the way I looked, because first impressions count."

The musical's Pretoria run was not without its hangups - Hector dislocated his kneecap in the final rehearsals. Off for two days, Hector came back and performed with an aching knee, but "the show must go on".

"We've played to some good houses, not all of them full...yet."

So is community theatre but a distant memory? "Community and educational theatre will always have a place, but both gigs (commercial and non-commercial theatre) have different challenges.

"(The big gig) took a while, and it was very frustrating to see other people who studied at the same time as I did getting TV roles and big things like that and you wonder 'is this job really for me?' If something gets you down, accept it, get through it and move on!"

- Fame will be staged at the International Convention Centre from December 3 until January 31 next year. Booking is through Computicket on 083 915 8000 or visit:

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