FESTIVE! Rebelo at the Cannes flm festival.
FESTIVE! Rebelo at the Cannes flm festival.
ARTISTS CORNER: Nicky Rebelo seeing the sights of  Paris.
ARTISTS CORNER: Nicky Rebelo seeing the sights of Paris.

Theatre director Nicky Rebelo recently settled in Cape Town from Joburg with his wife, the award-winning actress Jennifer Steyn. He edited the final chapter of James Joyce’s novel Ulysses to create a one-woman show, Molly Bloom, which he also directed, and which was staged at the Baxter in 2010, earning Steyn a Fleur du Cap best actress nomination for her portrayal.

Rebelo is known for his many stage and television performances and has also written for television. He has written more than five plays and three screenplays, including an adaptation of Master Harold … and the Boys at the request of playwright Athol Fugard. The film was screened in SA in 2009. He is currently directing the play A Teacher in the Bushveld, which looks at the life of literary genius Herman Charles Bosman as a school teacher. It will be at the Baxter from June 18.

Rebelo also loves to travel.

How widely have you travelled?

Not widely enough. My first trip outside Africa was to Haifa in Israel, way back in 1984, where I went to work on a play text I’d written as a drama student at Wits University. I’ve been to Paris three times, Marseilles twice, London, Amsterdam, Malaga in Spain and Dubai.

Where was your favourite holiday or time spent abroad?

In 2009 I spent three weeks in Marseilles, Paris and Malaga. I had a wonderful time visiting friends and roaming the streets of these beautiful cities.

Your worst experience on a holiday?

In 2004 I was in Amsterdam with my wife. We stopped at a public phone booth on the square so that we could phone home.

While I was chatting to one of my daughters, Jennifer wandered off to looked at some fruit on sale in the open market close by. She saw some figs, which reminded her of her father, as they were a fruit he loved, and so she decided to phone her parents only to be informed by her brother that they had been trying to reach us to let us know that her father had passed away that morning.

Needless to say Jennifer collapsed weeping and I had to lead her across the square, sobbing bitterly in front of a crowd of curious tourists. We had to cancel the rest of our holiday and fly home on the next available flight.

Your funniest experience?

Sitting around a kitchen table late at night in a French actor’s Marseilles apartment, drinking vodka and listening to him trying to read the Afrikaans dialogue I was learning for the television series Erfsondes, which I was due to shoot on my return to SA.

What do you avoid during a holiday?

Crowds, and most definitely expensive restaurants.

Your favourite place to have sundowners?

Malaga beach in Spain which is Picasso’s birthplace.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Never ask a policeman for directions. On my last visit to Paris, we missed the last Metro to take us back to our hotel, which was called Cosy in a place called Picpus. We asked a policeman where we could find a bus. He told us the walk to Picpus would take us less than 10 minutes and pointed us down a road. We got back to our hotel an hour and a half later, and for the rest of my holiday I walked about on aching feet.

Ideal travelling companion?

Jennifer and a tub of headache tablets.

Culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

Definitely art and culture.

Greatest travel luxury?

A metro card which allows one to travel the length and breadth of the city every day.

Holiday reading?

No, I don’t want to bury my eyes in a book while overseas. I want to take in all the sights and sounds. I don’t even bother to read maps, which doesn’t please my wife much.

Favourite drive?

The road from Marseilles to Cassis.

Dream trip?

A week in Dublin followed by Bruges in Belgium and finally two weeks in Venice.

As a seasoned traveller and flyer can you share some tips?

Dress casually, drink plenty of liquids, preferably non-alcoholic, try and stretch your limbs and keep your toothpaste and brush easily accessible.

Where next?

Grahamstown. - Weekend Argus