Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: June 2008 (Page 2 of 3)

smoking

It’s been a theatre free weekend, hanging with family from out of town, which has been great. We have walked dogs on the beach, driven around the peninsula, had more than one glass of wine, cooked and eaten beautiful food, and laughed and reminisced. Delicious.

Yesterday we (boet, cousin and I) went off to fetch my sister-in-law from the theatre where she had just finished a preview of Chess and I was totally shocked when all the young actors poured into the foyer bar after the show and brazenly lit up cigarette after cigarette. Now there are no smoking signs all over the theatre and it is also a very public space, which pissed me off totally, but what really freaked me out is that these are all young singers. They are in a musical. Granted, I am an ex-smoker of five and a half years now and I used to be an inconsiderate pig, but these beautiful voices and bodies should know better? Apparently not. I was forced to do the fake coughing thing, and nobody took the slightest notice of me. I went to stand outside and sulk; and was all on my own and shivering, as the rest of the warm world chatted and drank and stood around in a haze of smoke. Hau bo!

Corpsing

I have to confess to being a terrible corpser. Now before all non-theatre people have a heart attack (or alternatively, imagine visions of me being a serial killer) let me explain that corpsing is laughing on stage. You can either corpse someone or be corpsed by someone or the worst, corpse yourself.

Corpsing has a bit of a bad rep. It is considered to be not very professional and it’s supposed to be quite rude to fellow actors. Certain actors have a reputation for corpsing on purpose to get laughs, and that is considered the lowest of the low. They often show corpsing in the out takes or bloopers of movies and TV shows, with the best ones I’ve seen from the Australian sitcom Kath and Kim. Carol Burnett and the late Harvey Korman were terrible corpsers with whole scenes coming to a standstill for minutes while they laughed. The second anyone tried to continue they would collapse. It is totally infectious and audiences love it.

Now in TheatreSports it is really difficult to avoid the occasional corpse because everything is made up on the spot, so you can’t be prepared for what comes next. Most often, someone I am playing with will do something and I will be surprised by it and then I’ll get a fit of giggles. That’s what happened on Monday night when Tandi had to play the horrible character I had created in a scene. When I saw her interpretation of me I found it scary and totally hilarious. Naturally I broke down in giggles and the audience found this even more funny. DSCF0921

Last night’s show at The Kalk Bay Theatre was a different kettle of fish, or anal probe actually. It was a truly bizarre scene in which I was the doctor testing a man (played by Nicholas) in a medical farce (like Green Wing). Naturally, the anal probe was brought in, and I have no idea why I didn’t just shelve the idea, but I felt compelled to use it. The thought crossed my mind that it would be terribly unfair to put Nicholas through the indignity of the anal probe, so instead, I gave him one end to hold and reversed myself onto it backwards. I don’t know who was more gob smacked; me, the audience, the rest of the players or Nicholas, who was left holding an imaginary end of the stick! Obviously I was doubled up in a fit of hysteria. I thought at least that the lights would come down, but they didn’t! I suppose you had to be there to get the full picture, but when Candice came on to clean up we all broke down.

And that’s where TheatreSports can feel a lot like laughter therapy. Whoo Hoo!!!!

crits!

Whenever I go and see something and then write about it, I always go with my gut response but I try to be as articulate as possible when explaining what I think. I try even harder when I’m justifying why I didn’t like something. Then, once I’ve had my say, I make a point of seeing what others thought. It’s not like I have to read through reams of stuff. There are usually two, maybe three reviews in total in the English media on any given production. And, mostly, my opinion will be shared by at least one somebody.

So I was quite surprised to see two reviews on Isabella that pretty much raved about it. I was, like, was that the same show I saw? I know it was because I was there on the same night as one of the critics, although our experiences were so vastly different. While I thought the audience members had to shake themselves awake afterwards, he thought that they were dumbstruck and reluctant to break the magic. While I thought the show was incomplete and unready, he found it complex and magnificent. The same things that irritated me he found well done. Go figure. I guess that’s why it’s good to get more than one opinion on things, especially theatre, when the experience is obviously so subjective.

It’s just, I can’t understand how it can be so different.

Pissing in the wind

So, a while back I bitched and moaned about the crooks stealing a piece of the wrought iron fence that surrounds the soccer field where we walk our dogs. More fence started going and I got more upset. I got hold of our local ward councillor on his cellphone and told him all about it. He promised to do something and asked me to send him an email. Nothing happened. Almost a week later I got a reply. Shame, he had been sick with flu. He had cc’ed the guy from the chairman of the Community Police Forum who also emailed me and gave me the phone numbers of a constable and the roving police van. Like I am going to stake out the field and catch the guys myself!

This morning fresh mounds of soil and twisted poles are all that remains of a further ten metres of fence that was stolen this weekend. Now if the police had been there this weekend they would have caught them. I emailed the councillor again this morning. He phoned back. He was irritated. He told me he was trying his best! He was having a meeting at 10 this morning and the fence would be on the agenda. “What I needed to realise,” he said, “was that there is a terrible problem in Woodstock, with people’s garden fences, gates and heritage wrought iron being stolen and sold for scrap!” This was supposed to make me feel better?

That is it. I am not doing this anymore. No more me trying to save a fence.

bravo for TheatreSports

I was pretty certain that we were entering into the audience wasteland that is Cape Town winter when, against the tide and in spite of the freezing, wet weather, we had two good houses on Monday and Tuesday night and we matched them with two really good shows.

Monday night’s show at The Intimate was a real feel good show, with many funny moments and highlights that included a brilliant point of view by Brett and Tamarin and a last game that was a complicated Indian, horror musical.

Last night’s show at The Kalk Bay Theatre was really strange and amazing. There was a scene from nothing with me and Liesl which was a strange physical theatre piece. We also did a horror order a coke scene which was very strange. Then there was a fabulous end game, movie fest, with ‘clips’ from a Hungarian art film,  a neurotic nomadic Woody Allenish type film and a tap dancing detective movie! We had fun and the audience were in stitches. After the show George and I had a chat. He said he was one of us; an improviser. He is a professional clown, working with children and we spoke about ‘getting inside’ an audience. He loved the show. His daughter had brought him to have fun; he had lost his wife recently.

I drove home on the slick, wet road a warm and happy somebody.

A dangerous thing, blog

Things always come back and bite you on the arse, hey? I suppose it goes with the territory. I have set myself up here with this blog and I have chosen to write reviews of theatre. It’s a very public thing to do. Although I write about a lot of other stuff, it is my reviews that people look for and find.

I don’t flatter myself that I am good or that my opinion is particularly sought after; it’s just that there is so little written about theatre in Cape Town and actors and theatre people are so desperate for any mention that my blog on any given production will be googled and found.

So when I write a stinker I expect that there will be some sort of repercussion. How is this for awkward? I saw Isabella and wrote about it (not very flatteringly) on Saturday night. On Sunday I popped off to The Baxter for a technical rehearsal before the We all Benefit gig and the first person I saw there was Scott Sparrow. The guilt came flooding through me and I asked (how arrogant?) if he had seen what I had written. He looked perplexed. I don’t think he even knew about my blog. Of course it all came pouring out; everything I wrote, and more, completely unsolicited and in a huge splurge. How uncool is that?

I cringed when I thought about it afterwards. And then yesterday I arrived at The Intimate for TheatreSports and who is in the parking lot? Scott Sparrow and Leila Anderson! Of course they would be there. Their show is in the same venue. I felt like a palooka. Comforting myself that it couldn’t get any worse, I warmed up enthusiastically and got ready for our show, excited because we had quite a few bookings (for a change). I bounced onto stage at the beginning of the show, only to come face to face with Leila Anderson who was sitting in the front row. How skaam was I? And then reality took over where my arrogance had been and I realised that she too probably hadn’t read about what I had said, or even heard about it.

I have reread my review. I stick to what I said. I think it can be used positively to build on a really good idea. I just hope I stop feeling like a moegoe every time I see them.

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