Nêrens, Noord-Kaap – the play (by director Nico Scheepers) which made its debut at the Vrystaat Festival in Bloemfontein in 2017 – has since been developed into a 13-episode drama series that is due to start airing on kykNET next Tuesday, 31 August.
The original ‘Nêrens, Noord-Kaap’ play
In the play, the Adendorff brothers – played by Geon Nel (Die Boekklub), Albert Pretorius (Johnny is nie Dood nie) and De Klerk Oelofse (Hotel) – had the audience in the palms of their hands from the get-go. (These three actors also play the Adendorff brothers in the TV series).
The soulful play had a huge heart and in 2018 the team won the Fiësta Award for the best ensemble. Oelofse was also nominated as best actor and the play, which was later published in book form, was nominated as the best new Afrikaans play.
Johannesburg-based actor Frank Opperman’s role was written into the series as it was not part of the play initially. His character, Lourens Adendorff, is a Karoo farmer and also the father of the Adendorff brothers.
Opperman says that when he originally watched the play (even before any mention of it being developed into a TV series), he ranked it under his top-five plays of all time.
“The basis from which it came, was solid. It is only then that you can build a solid story and characters.”
A relatable series
Opperman says his role in Nêrens, Noord-Kaap is different to his previous TV roles and that he is grateful for the opportunity. He has had similar roles in plays, but not on TV.
“Theatre is something else,” he says.
In the beautifully filmed series, Opperman’s role – Lourens Adendorff – is trying to be a better father.
“A guy who tries, is better than one who doesn’t,” he says.
“For me, it feels like after the series I now also have three sons in Cape Town,” he says. “I came in as an outsider, but soon felt like I was the father of three boys.”
According to the well-known actor, anyone who is a father or who has brothers will relate to the ‘Nêrens, Noord-Kaap’ series. He says: “I could relate to it, because I am also the father of a 35-year-old son. Anyone who has sons or brothers will relate.”
According to Opperman, Nêrens, Noord-Kaap will remind viewers of the importance of family.
Other well-known actors in the series include Dean Balie who plays Jan-Jan Buys, a childhood friend of the Adendorff-brothers and Arendsvlei’s iconic Ilse Klink plays Dean’s mother, Maggie Buys, who has been working in the house on the Nêrens farm for years.
Deep in the Karoo
Filming the series in the Karoo was a special experience for Opperman and the Nêrens, Noord-Kaap team.
“I love the Karoo,” Opperman exclaims.
He was in Nieuwoudtville for seven weeks during the filming of the series.
“I don’t know the Northern Cape. I wish I could be there now with all the flowers. We just had the March flowers.”
For him, it was the people of the region who stood out the most, though.
“They are a different kind of people. Salt of the earth people.”
What else has Frank Opperman been up to?
The actor, also known for his role as Ouboet in Orkney Snork nie! says: “I don’t think I stayed mentally healthy [during lockdown]”, and that it was tough. He didn’t sit on his laurels, though.
He made a short film called Openbaringe van Ds. Tienie Benadé and he started doing audiobooks, including Fokofpolisiekar’s autobiography.
Apart from Nêrens, Noord-Kaap, Opperman is also busy with a play called Donkie, which will be running from 10 September.
At the end of September, he will also be doing a one-man show at Atterbury Theatre, reciting the book Ek Wens, Ek Wens, by Zirk van den Berg. He is also very excited about his travels to Mauritius early in October, where he will be involved with the filming of a sci-fi TV series.