Midway through our interview, Joseph Ribeiro pauses to take a deep breath. “Are you bored yet?” he asks, chuckling.
Pity the poor jaded soul who manages to find himself bored in Joseph Ribeiro’s company. “I’m snowed under with teaching and rehearsing and choir work and saving the universe,” the longtime local actor offers, obviously tongue-in-cheek. It’s his explanation for having no time to meet in person. Regardless, his accent, a velvety blend of his native South Africa and the British cadences forced on him during his boyhood schooling, only seem to lure you in further.
“The teachers told me, ‘If you speak like that any longer, you’ll always be lower class.’ Just like Eliza Doolittle,” Ribeiro laughs. “I know what she went through, poor gal. I learned to speak posh.”
There’s also a tiny hint of an American inflection in his voice, just the barest suggestion of the last 20 years, which he’s spent mostly as a teacher, performer, and choirmaster in the Bay Area. Dec. 18 will find him playing the title character in the Cabrillo Stage production of “Scrooge,” where he’s been a Theater Arts instructor since 1996.