As a young boy, Albert Maritz stood behind the curtains to do the sound and lighting for his father, the actor Dawie Maritz’s plays. Today his career is an ode to directing, the architecture of the arts, as he calls it.
Although viewers will recognize Albert as an actor in his own right, known for roles in Darkland, Cursestone, All Malan and Kingsit is behind the scenes, as a director, where he can live out his innate love for the arts.
This 62-year-old actor is currently in the kykNET soap opera, Domestics, as the recluse, Braam, something he considers a full-circle moment in his career. Viljé Maritz, Albert’s son, took his first steps in the entertainment industry on the very set of Domestics gave.
“At the time, he was in a school theater play that made quite a splash,” remembers Albert.
“He performed at art festivals as a schoolchild, and it was at one of the art festivals that he was approached by Friedriech and Elsje Stark to join Domestics to work.”
Viljé initially worked in the various departments at Stark Studios, where Domestics shot is worked, before he was finally offered a role there. It is a belt under the heart for Albert to now walk in the footsteps that his son left there years ago.
He also remembers Danie Joubert, who now works as a director Domestics work, “with love in his heart” as the director of the series Kingsin which Albert starred at the time.
“It’s a feeling of coming home,” he describes his time on the set of Domestics.
Born with a foot in the entertainment industry
Albert readily admits that his father had a huge impact on his own decision to start working in the entertainment industry.
“It was no secret, he was just a troublemaker… a rebel,” Albert remembers his father.
“Now that I’m older, I think back to the incredible example he was; how he experimented.”
Albert often worked behind the scenes at his father’s plays, and even made his first appearance on stage with his father at the age of 12. He still remembers to this day how he squinted at his father’s detailed acting.
“I remember how he played an old man in one play. He was shaking so much when he was holding a cup of coffee, for example.”
It was precisely there, where Albert absorbed everything around him like a sponge, where he discovered his love for directing. Today, he considers it “one of the most delightful aspects of the entertainment industry”.
He remembers how artistic his father was, the darkroom where he developed photographs and the many works of art he assembled.
All this reminds him of his own love for the arts, which he eventually passed on to one of his sons, Viljé.
“I warned Viljé from the beginning about the industry and how difficult it can be,” says Albert, who today believes that a tradesman has better job security.
“Regardless, he decided to take the bull by the horns. He has this passionate love for the industry, and he has this unique gift for thinking on his feet, which I don’t necessarily have,” says Albert proudly.
Albert admits that he is bra shy, and that he easily feels intimidated among people who he feels have a better sense of acting, of which his son is one.
He remembers how he played Viljé’s father in series such as Cursestone and Darkland played, and how impressed he was with Viljé’s talent and passion.
“Viljé is very good, and I am very shy.”
Albert is today a proud grandfather, and counts his blessings one by one in the sprouts of his two sons.
In the end, it is the happiness of his family and his partner, Mariëtte, that is important to him.
“If they’re happy, I’m happy – that’s all one can ask for.”
A peace-loving gardener
After decades in the industry, it is Albert’s peaceful existence in Melkbosstrand that especially brings him peace.
When you don’t see him on the box, stage or behind the scenes, he is walking with his dog through the streets of this suburb of Cape Town.
When he sees a dry flower bed or an unkempt garden, he simply pushes a plant in.
“Then why not now?”
Today, in his sixties, it is especially important for him to look at all sides of a story.
“I don’t think one should condemn, you don’t necessarily have all the information. We are all human, and all under the sun with the same fate. We have to care for each other and tolerate each other better.”