Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: February 2008 (Page 2 of 4)

Improvisation for leaders

Over the last couple of years I have been getting more and more involved with improvisation and its skills as a tool in business leadership. I have run many successful ‘corporate workshops’ using and teaching improv to business people. I love it. It is like watching magic happen. The principles of improv are so simple and easy to apply. They are about saying yes, and working in a team, and really listening, and being present. The workshops I run are highly interactive, physical and fast.

Somebody who has been very interested in my work (and that of other improvisers in the world) is Louise van Rhyn, who has been working with business and leadership and dealing with change. We two have joined forces to offer a really exciting workshop, Improv for Leaders, which will take place on the 14th of March. So, if you or your team or your boss wants to join us, get hold of me here or on megan@improvision.co.za for more info or to book.

Anthea’s perfect Valentine

I don’t think it is fair to write a ‘review’ of a show if I saw it on the last night of a run. The whole point of writing stuff about a show is so that people get a very clear idea of what I thought about it before they go and see it. But. We did go to The Kalk Bay Theatre last night for the final performance of Anthea Thompson in Shirley Valentine and I want to write down what I thought.

I remember seeing the movie when I was young enough that Shirley’s journey back to herself was cute and something my mother’s friends should do. The play is much much better than the movie. And now I am exactly Shirley Valentine’s age. You have no idea how weird that is. And how grateful I am that my life is nothing like her’s. This is a simple story of a woman’s journey back to self discovery, identity and independence by taking a two week holiday to Greece. The play is well constructed because we want her to go, we want her to succeed, we support her braveness as if it were us.

Anthea was excellent. Her characterisation, sensitivity, control, physicality, handling of the intimate space, timing were spot on. Her performance was funny and moving.

What was more amazing for me (and a huge lesson) was how much the completely sold-out audience loved the show. It is old-fashioned theatre, with a good story and lots of gags and one liners. There is swearing, but it’s cute. The character is self-deprecating in a comic way. I think everyone in the audience knew the story. The guy sitting almost next to me repeated the lines that he related to. He had a conversation with Shirley. But mostly, this kind of feel-good, warm, personal journey type theatre with a familiar story is exactly what people want to see. They relate to it. They know it. It is comfortable, unthreatening and entirely palatable. I repeat, it was excellently well done, and I take nothing away from that, but I think what I’m saying to the more independent, jump off the roof, original South African theatre makers out there is; remember, people want to see Shirley Valentine.

Ashley Callie

I am, as I’m sure the rest of SA is, so sad to hear about actress Ashley Callie‘s death. I did not know her and we weren’t even on together when I was on Isidingo’s set for a week four years ago, but I think she was amazing. I wish her friends, family and fans my condolences.

Off the Rail but mostly on Track

Last night Big Friendly and I sat in the hottest theatre in the world, which was also totally full, for the opening performance of Tamarin McGinley’s self-proclaimed ‘new comedy’ Off The Rail. And, aside from the unbelievable heat and the passing comment by my agent who sat next to me that we were all breathing in each other’s exhaled breaths, it was a pretty good show indeed.

Off The Rail is the story of a hard-arsed, businessy, corporate cherrie who is obsessed with shopping and acquiring, but who doesn’t believe in love. Of course, ‘love’ is what happens to her; right there, at the mall. The rest of the story follows her downward spiral into obsession and stalker-dom in a mostly hilarious way.

Tamarin created the show herself and she plays the lead Jane. This she does exceptionally well. She is versatile and clever, physical and good with the shifts in writing style which change in a flash from a high prose to informal conversation. She has a fresh new energy, loads of confidence, and her delivery really sparkles. She is also brilliantly supported by two show stealing performances by Jason Potgieter and Dylan Esbach, who play the completely wayward security guards, set movers and sound effect creators. I loved them. No mention is made of the ‘mystery chick’ in the programme, which is weird.

Which brings me to my next point, and the beginning of a bit of criticism. I scoured the programme for a mention of a director but found none and I assume that Tamarin and the others pretty much put the thing together themselves; which is great but. The show could be much tighter and it would pack more punch with an outside controller. Some sections are just too long, some are over explained, some (especially the physical slapstick routines) are just too repetitive. A director really helps with that kind of stuff, pulling and pushing, trimming and pruning, to give the piece tighter structure and flow.

wEB FLYER The set, huge square blocks of floor, then wall, then barrier, looked good and was very successfully handled by the guys. I did have moments of, is this entirely necessary? when they were lifting the boxes again for the next scene and sometimes they did seem a bit cumbersome. I nit pick.

In a nutshell, the show is a jolly good romp. I laughed out loud a couple of times. The opening night audience (a bit of a typical drama school supporting their friends very loudly and alienating us old people crowd) were on their feet in a huge wave at the end. Watch this cherrie and her side kicks. They are going places.

Hectic

I can’t sleep. It has been a totally hectic two days and I am completely wound up. I have been working on a really big, very exciting industrial theatre job for over four years now. Every year we do a 30 minute industrial theatre ‘play’ that goes around the country on a road show. The first performance of this cycle was today. Although we rehearsed last week, I did not pick up (my absent mindedness and his not wanting to lose the job) that one of the four actors was really sick. It became evident at yesterday’s dress rehearsal – too late to do anything before today’s show. We just managed to get through the show in front of a huge audience today and I started training up another actor to take his place. So crazy. The emotional strain of it is enormous – for him, me, the cast, the crew, the client. There is nothing more panicky than an actor who is not managing. It is so scary. I am also so scared about what is wrong. We aren’t prepared for actors to be sick. I am heartsore.

Sweeping Clean

I bet this happens to everybody at some point or another; BIG spring clean, sort out, throw away and tidy up. Last week Big Friendly and I started by selling some furniture on my new most favourite site gum tree. We got rid of a dresser, a sleeper couch and two bookshelves and our space is opening up and becoming a bit more free. Today was tidy up time for me. I had a mountain of paper, books, receipts, copies of IDs, hair bands, asthma pumps, dirty glasses etc around my lappy which has been living on the dining room table. That stuff is more or less completely gone. Big Friendly has been turning our spare room into a proper office for us. Yay! And as we’ve moved stuff we have had to dust and clean, the five day South Easter left black and red dust an inch thick all over everything. So we picked today, the hottest and most muggy day to do it! We are sweating like stuck pigs and rank as garbage trucks. Even the cats and dogs are virtually immobile.

DSC00166 What invariably happens when doing a major clean up is that you find something that triggers a response. It doesn’t have to be a missing thing but something you haven’t looked at for a while. I rediscovered a simple pencil drawing I did of the black dog in 2001. I stuck it more firmly in its frame and I’m now looking for somewhere special to put it. It was one of the first things I drew after many years of not drawing. And I really like it. It’s very nice to see things differently. 

Page 2 of 4

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén