Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: May 2010 (Page 2 of 2)

Proud, Positive and PANSA’ed Up

Because I’m going official here, I am saying it at the beginning. The City of Cape Town contracted PANSA to be a serivce provider in the search for emerging talent to perform in Cape Town during the FIFA 2010 World Cup. I hope I got that all absolutely right.

Now to my post. I spent the last two days at The Arena at Grand West Casino, checking out the hopeful talent in the final round of auditions. And I was humbled, awed, excited, moved and delighted. Firstly, by the talent. There were some real eye-opening, heart-pumping, jaul-creating acts. Some of the children and traditional and community performances had me in tears. I whooped and cheered lots of the others. And I am excited and confident to know that Cape Town has some amazingly talented people doing really cool things.

But this post is about singing the praises of PANSA. All I am is a member. But I was so proud to be a member of this organisation this weekend. I cannot believe how well they handled this absolutely mammoth task of moving over two hundred acts through that venue and in front of an audience and panel of judges with ease, grace, the minimum of fuss and no major hiccups. I was blown away by the organisation, the technical side, the volunteers, the support, the efficiency, the enthusiasm and the passion of all PANSA reps. I imagine that the City of Cape Town is absolutely delighted. Bravo Brian Heydenrych, Karen Jeynes, Greg Karvellas, all interns and volunteers. And bravo to the judges, one and all who sat there from 9am to 10pm for two whole days, choosing the best that Cape Town has to offer. Ayoba.

Spring Awakening

It was weird for me last night, going to the opening of UCT’s production of Spring Awakening. I was in Chris Weare’s production in 1984! And although I couldn’t even remember my character’s name, I have such clear memories of the little green and pink and white checked dress I wore, and the white bobby socks and little black shoes. Freaky. Seeing the programme up on the pin board was scary too. There were people in that cast that I don’t remember at all, but pictures of Patrick Lilley, Claire Berlein, Ingrid Emslie and Michelle Constant took me straight back 26 years ago, to that time.

Watching the play from this perspective made me understand how difficult a production it is to mount. Spring Awakening, written by Frank Wedekind, is set in Germany at the end of the 19th century, predating what would happen there by fifty or so years, but creating the platform for it in terms of repression, shame, education, parental control and unrealistic expectation. These are huge issues. Because of the sexual and, for the time, explicit nature of the content and scenes, the play was often banned. These days we are all too used to seeing young men masturbating on stage, boy on boy kissing, and nudity and sex have become terribly explicit. So, the real issue of the play, the bursting of puberty and the shame it brings in a repressive society, are a fantasy idea for most of this young cast. Especially in a country with unbelievably high teenage pregnancy and horrific and brutal child abuse stats, child prostitutes, peer sexual violence among children, the sexual innocence of Spring Awakening is very dated and diluted.

One of the other difficulties with this play is, however tempting it is as a drama school production because there are lots of parts for young actors, it is unbelievably difficult for young, inexperienced actors to sustain! I remember Chris Weare’s frustration our time around! The parts are either children, always hideous and difficult to play, parents, who for young actors are not the best fun, or teachers, who at least can be sent up in this play, but are not well developed people and have to remain within their names of Professors Breakneck, Tongue Twister, Total Loss and Strychnine.

Then there is the script itself, which is scenic and cinematic, jumping from one scene to the next, and from location to location. Unfortunately, over the years, we are less able as an audience to manage such long scenes, and for the most part they are very long.

Those are the problems up front. Now to this production. This production is in The Little Theatre. The wooden beamed stage is very, very raked and there is a huge raised walkway through the audience, bringing performers on stage from the back of the auditorium. There is an amazing, repetitive, motion cloud projection on the cyclorama at the back. Gideon Lombard sits in mostly silhouette  in the top right hand corner with a guitar and amp. And that sets the scene. The set, designed by Daniel Galloway and Chris Weare is beautiful. Almost as completely beautiful as Daniel’s lighting, which is breathtaking. Leigh Bishop’s costumes are fabulous; an incredible combination of period and theatrical.

The students, for the most part, have really good moments. Rudi Swart, who plays Melchior, was my favourite. He gave a really tempered, interesting and natural performance, and elicited true sympathy from me. Next was Lethabo-Thabo Royds, who had the difficult task of playing Melchior’s mother. She really grew on me. In her first scene I felt like she was fighting with her dress a little bit, but, after that, I found her still, sincere performance the most moving of all. James MacGregor (who I adored as Romeo) was less successful for me as Moritz Stiefel. There is no doubt that it is a hellishly difficult part, but it was just too childish caricature for me. The young girls all had their moments, but I was left with the overall impression that they didn’t ‘get it’, in terms of the overwhelming unnamable stuff they were feeling, and why it was so big, confusing and bad.

So, in a nutshell, this production is a breathtakingly beautiful study of the past. But it is not exciting, moving or challenging. The horror that we sit with, as an audience today, is, is there anything that can shock us, ever again?

I ♥ facebook

Big Friendly has just written a real bitch post on his blog about how he hates facebook and how he is going to cancel or wipe out or remove his face broek profile once and for all. (It needs explaining that he has been saying this ever since he signed up, over a year ago.) At least once a month he makes these threats, and then, after ‘liking’ a few things, calling me to look at photos of friends and family and cute children/animals, he forgets about it. Then some article in the media (which I haven’t actually even read properly) will remind him why he hates face cloth, and why they are stealing his stuff, and why they can’t be trusted etc, and his fudge book rage will kick in again.

Me, I am the exact opposite. I love face poep. I love it. I know what it is; a public(ish) forum, where I can be clever/silly/indulgent, a place where I can instantly connect with two friends I dreamt about, one in LA and the other in Switzerland. I can play Scrabble, waste time reading everybody’s status, or do proper work and networking. I can advertise on face snoek. I can show off my animals and my holidays. I can ask for advice. I can advertise, for shows, and for other people’s stuff that I support or like. I can imagine I’m introducing people to my strange musical tastes and I can ‘share’ causes. I can show support by joining a group or becoming a fan of a page. That’s all it takes. I can agree or disagree with my ‘friends’ in one sentence. I can choose how I look in my faceblock (profile pic). I heart face book. I just don’t know how to make those little heart shapes in the status place. And Big Friendly has warned me against those damn applications!

World Cup Fever and Ayobaness

I’ve got it! I was never really sure what my involvement with the WC was going to be and, poof, just like that I’m in it. Almost up to the neck, but very, very exciting. Looks like I am going to be involved with the Fan Park on the Grand Parade, for the duration. And I am pretty delighted, I can tell you. From what it sounds like and what the ideas are, the Cape Town Fan Park is going to be a really cool place for locals, and other people, to world cupify. There is going to be live local entertainment with emerging talent (organised by PANSA), SA’s hottest and favourite bands, artists, djs, and emcees, huge screens to watch the games, and all sorts of eating, drinking, chilling and jolling to be had, without actually having to go to any of the games. This is really good for me, since I am not a huge lover of football, but I can understand having a good time getting patriotic.

The fact that Cape Town can have the Fan Park on the Grand Parade feels really significant. It is a very special place, geographically, historically and culturally. But for me, it’s the view. I have stood on the Parade, looking at the mountain, with an orange, pink and purple winter sunset and a full tablecloth seeming to make its way behind the brown City Hall. Ok, I might have been buffeted by the South Easter, and splattered by a few drops of winter rain; but still. It is spectacular. And it is the most stunning backdrop for a 33 day party.

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