Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: October 2009 (Page 2 of 2)


Every day for the last while I have been choosing one word for my Facebook status. Sometimes they are silly or funny; sometimes they are serious, personal or meaningful. Today’s word was grace. I love that word. It has such a good attitude about it. And it is also a poetry word. So much so, it inspired my friend Phillippa Yaa De Villiers who left her whole, magnificent poem, Grace, as a comment.

It was an inspired choice of word for me too today because it epitomised how I am feeling about my work on The Tent. Loving it. I am filled with the grace of my cast, and the really beautiful work they are doing. They move from moment to moment like dancers, playing with nuance and meaning, emotion and technique, and I am learning from them and delighting in them. It’s a cast of eight, so I don’t want to go into detail about each one’s magnificence here. Instead I am going to list their names so you know who I am talking about. Sizwe Msuthu. Nicola Hanekom. Pierre Malherbe. Nelson Chileshe Musonda. Albert Pretorius. Leon Clingman. Deborah Vieyra. Lungelo Sitimela.

I am also graced with a brilliant technical team, stage manager, asm, crew. And the designer Alfred Rietmann, who, when he is not in his office, is scratching in the skip for builder’s junk to use for our set. He is from that old school of thought. Theatre runs in that man’s blood. He loves it. His love has no boundaries, work hours, limitations. He is one of those ‘anything is possible’ guys. I am so lucky to have him.

Tomorrow morning is when we do a full, proper run of the play. I am beside myself with everything. I am saying grace.



I just haven’t been able to blog regularly lately. My head is too full; of The Tent (rehearsals are going well), TheatreSports (we are busy performing, preparing our birthday week, organising a Saturday morning improvisation open class) and other stuff, both various and sundry.

I am also very tired this morning. Shots rang out in our quiet little Woodstock street at 1.30 last night and I couldn’t get back to sleep. Now, I am a gun hater and I really believe that all guns should be banned. I think it should be illegal to make, sell and carry guns. Finish and klaar. I run cold at the sound of gunshots and I fear the damage they cause.

But I have to confess, that after I discovered that the gun was fired by my neighbour, at a bunch of gangsters who had been caught stealing his car and had jumped into another getaway car, I was secretly relieved that somebody in our ‘hood was brave, and decisive and…had a gun. I am shocked that this is how I feel. I know that a gun in the most responsible hand can cause untold damage, and that mistakes happen and innocent people get hurt and killed. But secretly, I felt safer and here is why. As I lay awake, nervous and panicky and confused, I did not ever hear the sound of sirens nor the approach of the police. They just didn’t come. Ever.

Are South Africans that dof?

I have finally realised that if I want to be in a foul mood all week, then all I have to do is read the long, completely bullshit, shockingly spelled, grammatically retarded, sad, humourless and garbled vitriol that are the comments left by online readers.

I enjoy reading Chris McEvoy and Marianne Thamm a lot. Their columns appear regularly on News 24, and Chris’s writing is acerbic, often self-deprecating, topical and very funny. Marianne is plain very, very clever and totally hilarious. Both of them are not afraid to use a most misunderstood tool; irony. Unfortunately, this is just too hard for online readers to recognise. They don’t get that these articles are not news but opinions. They don’t get the jokes. They don’t get the point. It makes me totally hysterical.

Yesterday I read Chris’s new article on Big Friendly’s recommendation. He also told me to look at the comments. I promise you; it was a very bad idea. Nobody understands what columnists are actually doing when they write. I can’t even get specific. Literally every comment told Chris what an arsehole he was and how the ANC was dragging the country to hell.

One of the other favourites of comment leavers is to rage bitterly against limp, left wingers; you know, them being such strong…er…conservatives? Moral high grounders? Racists?

Update: Chris’s article that caused the comments that caused the moan here

More musings on The Tent

So I’m sure you can guess what’s occupying my brain (and heart) right now. I am reflecting a little after day three of rehearsals, and again I am thanking the crazy gods of theatre for the sequence of events that has brought these amazing actors into the rehearsal space.

I have always had a bit of a problem with writers who direct the plays that they have written, and here I am, doing just that. But, I have to say, I’m loving it. This work (of rehearsing) is so complex and layered, and so much more than what is on the page, that it is so exciting fleshing it out. And there is also the luxury of time to do it; this isn’t a rush job.

Naturally, while we are focusing so strongly on the making of the play, there is not enough time for me to market the thing. I hope people will want to come and see it. It’s amazing how I can give myself things to worry about hey? Obviously there is The Tent group on Facebook. And I’m writing about it here, on meganshead. Doing last year’s showcase has helped get the word out there a bit. and a cast of eight will at least have friends and family to see it.

Ok, I’m going to let myself worry about something else now. Until tomorrow, day 4. And, I’m loving it.

Let’s Pitch The Tent

It was a fantastic, intense weekend of TheatreSports learning and training. What a lovely, intense, amazing group of people turned up for this course. We laughed and screamed and had the best time. So the course is done, and today is the day of starting The Tent.

Obviously, I couldn’t sleep. I have five thousand ideas flying through my brain, and I’m fantasising about every part of this rehearsal process. I know that after today’s first day I will have calmed down; once I’ve heard everyone speaking their lines, but last night was a joke of an effort in the sleep department.

It’s ridiculous how nervous I am. And excited. We start at ten this morning.

Pre The Tent twitches

The TENT FINAL ART WORK We start rehearsing The Tent on Monday, so my mind is full-up with it. I am full of the usual pre-rehearsal anxiety; is the script good enough? Do I know what I’m doing as a director? Can a writer/director do justice to the script and honour the actors? Have I done enough prep? Once we get stuck in to rehearsals those feelings will dissolve, morph and develop. New things will occupy that now space of nervous/neurotic anticipatory panic.

I have an amazing, mostly new cast to work with. Last year’s ‘showcase’ was an excellent try out, and the response helped mould and develop the play further. It was also easy to nag people to come and see the four performances last time. This time we have a full two week run; and I have to say, I’m in that omigodwhatwillpeoplethink space.

It’s hard to understand all my feelings. I am mostly graciously thankful to The New Writing Programme that Artscape runs, for their belief in and support of my work. I really have properly benefited from this amazing process that gives space, time, energy, advice, and most importantly, budgets to new South African playwrights.

TENT MODEL 005 DONE One of my blessed moments is having found a designer who totally, completely gets my work. Alfred Rietmann helped me stage the showcase, and this time around he is designing set, costume and lights. I am absolutely in love with what he is doing. He also designed the gorgeous poster BTW.

I have mixed feelings about the content of my play. It’s mostly about how South Africans don’t and can’t manage strangers; whether they are foreigners, people who believe different things, people with different sexual orientations and even just outsiders. It’s pretty bleak and not ‘happy ending’ stuff. That’s quite hard to sell, even though I believe the message is so important. It’s not all doom and gloom though. I find it funny too. So, how do you merge those things? How do you find the balance? And who is the you I keep banging on about when I should be saying I? Hectic.

So, luckily I am running the second weekend of the TheatreSports training course this weekend. It is a big, time and energy consuming task. and for some hours my head will not be filled with the The Tent The Tent The Tent The Tent!

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