Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: July 2008 (Page 2 of 3)

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, happy birthday!

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I was thinking about how, in my final year of varsity (1986), my best friend and I stood on Camps Bay beach for whites only. It was the time of the State of Emergency and it was particularly chaotic for us students. My best friend had a button pin badge of Madiba’s face and I had one in ANC colours, with the shield and spear logo. At the time all images of Mandela and anything to do with the ANC were banned and you could be arrested for having them.

That’s what I was thinking about this morning. I wish you a very happy day Mr Mandela.

My little helpers

DSC00302 I have been trying to get as much done outside in the good weather we have had this weekend, and I have been cleaning up the courtyard. I have not been alone however. Annie and Chassie have been with me every step of the way. If I prune leaves, Annie prunes leaves. If I clean up the pot plants, Annie is in the pot plants. if a plastic packet is left alone for longer than two seconds Chassie is in it! DSC00351

Sweeping is Annie’s best; the broom produces a complicated roller-coaster of terror, attack, play, taunt and pounce. At one point I brought some stuff through the house and to the front to throw away. Annie came searching for me; totally offended that I had deserted her at the back. I made my way through the house and she charged ahead, so when I came down the stairs she was already on her back on the flagstones. The courtyard doesn’t look that different. But we are all exhausted.

Then, when we were walking the slightly bigger furries this morning, Big Friendly spotted this sign. Now is it just me or…? It’s not a good one, me thinks.

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That sinking feeling

The first test against the English has been more poep than pop! Ashwell Prince has been the only flickering light; he has just scored a century to bring the Poepteas to a massive 244/8 while England declared at 593/8. I guess there’s no question about the Poeps having to follow on.

While the Poepteas were bowling I thought, wow, it really feels like we don’t have enough bowlers. Now that they are literally falling to pieces while batting, I’m like, there’s no-one to bat! Oh no! Ashwell has just gone!

At least Big Friendly is in a good mood after this morning’s Springbok win against the All Blacks in what Big Friendly called The House of Pain. He was referring to the ground in new Zealand where the All Blacks have hardly ever lost. He’s feeling great. I’m not. I really am disappointed by the cricket team.

The Sistas are Cookin’

I went solo to the opening of The Cooksisters at The Intimate Theatre tonight. Big friendly was cold and tired and not up for it. I was quite excited and very open to enjoying it. And I did. cook sisters poster final soft

The Cooksisters is written by Kate Liquorish and performed by her and Deborah Vieyra. They are two talented young actresses and there is much about their "televised cooking show" that takes place in front of a "live studio audience" that is absolutely delightful. The Nigelaesque, perfect housewife cooking show host Marge (played by Kate) suffers a series of setbacks and interruptions to her live show by her late assistant, her maid and two unlikely guests who have won a cooking competition to appear on the show. That’s the story and it holds together well, although the ‘twists’ are a little predictable.

Both actresses and the characters they play are filled with energy and flair. Marge (Kate) is delightful and out there in her conservative approach, her assistant Sherry (Deborah) is appropriately subservient and full of attitude. Susan (Deborah) from Orania is delightful, Ayisha (I know that wasn’t her name but I’m close) played by Kate is typical but borderline irritating and Mavis (Deborah) is the least successful and satisfying of the characters.

The show is a great idea (although not truly original, bringing to mind Play With Your Food by Peter Hayes) but there is tons of material and fun to be had from the cooking show theme. I liked the black and white spotty set and cozzies and the lights were effective. It is a short, enjoyable way to spend time in a small dark room. I was entertained and I laughed.

Here is my problem; no director! The director in me itched with frustration more than a few times during the show. I am entirely convinced that a director would have brought subtle detail to the characters and performances, would have shifted pace and rhythm, and would have brought a third eye to interpret some of the really cheeky funniness that is already there in the text but not present in the performance. I believe in getting a director, especially if you have written the show and are performing in it. Maybe it is about growing up a bit. Maybe it is about confidence. maybe it is believing that someone else can ‘see what you mean!’ I think that people will enjoy this show. It is funky, topical, accessible, funny and entertaining. But it’s not as good as it could be. Go on sisters. Get a director. Then you’ll cook with gas!

Grahamstown deconstruction

I saw two young friends yesterday who had just come back from the festival. The first one had that manic ‘just returned from the war’ look and the other was full of laid back total resignation. All the memories of how hard the festival can be came flashing back and I experienced that wave of nausea and hopelessness in absolute sympathy.

Here is a story; not unique but rather typical. One show’s first two performances were totally sold out. Then they got a bad fifty worder in the Cue. Apparently the ‘reviewer’ liked the show, it’s just she didn’t quite manage to say that in fifty words! So, even the people who had already booked for the show didn’t turn up after that. One audience was a mother and daughter and one was a group of farmers who apologised to the performer while she was on stage, and then left. Ouch.

I always hope that news will get out about what’s good and those will be the shows that do well. That’s what we believe before we go, but it doesn’t work like that. Grahamstown is the hardest rite of passage for any performer. It’s not fair, it doesn’t make sense, it hardly ever makes money. And yet, even in dark times, when audiences are few, the pilgrimage is made.

I am offering a special service for all fringe participants: Grahamstown debriefing sessions. Come tell me your story and I will whip out my version of the same. It has happened to all of us. Over and over again.

Writing

Writing is the strangest of creative processes. It is a little bit like improvising because you have to make things up as you go along, but that is where the similarity ends. I am involved in all sorts of writing; I write this blog, pretty much for me, I write things like scripts for industrial theatre, I write content heavy voice over material for a project I work on long term, I write some stuff with people, like Graham Weir, and I write my own things. I have recently finished a script of a play that Artscape is going to showcase at the end of the year called The Tent. It’s very exciting.

I am also trying to finish a script for a one-woman show that I am writing for myself. I started this at the beginning of the year. A friend had told me the story, years before, about a friend of hers, and it stayed with me in a weird unformed way until, pop, it formed itself into shape one day while Big Friendly and I were walking the dogs. Sometimes it’s like that. But, even though I know the story, choosing how to tell it is a whole other thing.

Some parts have flowed really easily. Others have come out literally one word at a time, and it’s ironic that those words are the ones’ I have changed the most often. I am so close to finishing, and this is the hardest part, especially since I don’t have a deadline.

That’s why it is so exciting to have a moment of sheer, connected inspiration, which is what happened just now. I dashed to the lappie (at a dark, pissing down 7am) and spewed a whole paragraph. It’s a complicated idea, and a totally new one. I reread it, first to myself and then to Big Friendly. Only one thing needed changing. And I am one inspired paragraph closer to the ending.

The paragraph is called “The qualities of the absence of doubt: A deviance before the inevitable resolution.” Sounds like all the stuff I do, like walking the dogs, making muffins, watching the cooking channel, rereading books, while writing a script.

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