Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: July 2010 (Page 2 of 3)

The Soli Story

I’m sure it’s mostly old news by now that Soli Philander was dismissed from 567 Cape Talk a week or two ago. I realised something fishy was happening when Shado Twala seemed to inherit Soli’s slot indefinitely. Although I have read Soli’s heartfelt rhyming explanation for what happened on face book, I don’t profess to having the ins and outs and I certainly haven’t tried to find out the story in more detail or even call out that he was unjustly treated. I just have some thoughts on how corporates just get things so damn wrong sometimes.

Soli is a transformer. He is able to change the way people think, manipulate people’s ideas and encourage them to do things differently. He is exactly what you want in a public persona; someone who speaks their mind with humour and conviction, and gets people to come along for the ride. Which is exactly why his Taxi Timeout was a genius idea and why he and his show were so completely valuable, both for Cape Talk, and for Cape Town.

Now I am not suggesting that Primedia management and the bigwigs don’t have a case against Soli (although I have no real idea about this) but I am pretty convinced he didn’t do anything outright illegal, like steal or cheat or do stuff that our politicians are so comfortable doing with public funds. I am sure they have very good reasons for dismissing him. It just doesn’t make sense.

I really believe that they needed to make every effort to keep him. They needed to pay him more, bend or break the corporate rules, change how they do things, and negotiate a different scenario to make sure he stayed; because he is who we want on our radio. He does it for us. He was their pot of gold, their valuable asset, their secret weapon (not their only one, I concede, but one of them). And instead of trying to make him and us believe that he is dispensable and replaceable they just needed to eat humble pie, recognise his extraordinary value (which comes with all the difficulties of being a huge, popular, magnetic transformer) and make a plan. But no, they pulled that corporate, contractual, businessspeak bullshit and got rid of him.

I loved Shado as a South Africa’s Got Talent judge, but to fill Soli’s boots on the radio as a talk show host? Aikona sisi. So, during that time slot I’ll listen to one of the few really crap choices we have on FM in Cape Town, as I am sure many Cape Talk listeners will. And that just seems so pointless. Cultivate, support and grow what people value and talent you have 567 (and all other corporates), instead of big sticking them out of there.

Cutie Cosi

It looks like I am starting to get able to go and see theatre without breaking into hives. This is a good sign, people! I went with friends to The Little Theatre last night to watch The Mechanicals‘ (the only rep company in Cape Town) offering of Cosi. I didn’t read the programme very well, and I also forgot to bring one home so there might be horrible gaps in what I am about to write.

Cosi the play is the same story as Cosi the movie, where a young graduate gets his first job directing a ‘play’ as therapy for the inmates of a lunatic asylum. I adored the movie; a real feel good, silly, quirky Australian offering with both Rachel Griffiths and Toni Collette in it.

This version is also very cute and totally watchable, and funny and moving at times too. The action takes place in a dusty old theatre, and the story follows the rehearsal process of the totally unrealistic choice of the opera Cosi Van Tutte that one of the inmates is obsessed with. All the while we, the audience, find out more about the motley crew of inmates, and we watch the shift and growth of the young director Lewis, played rather sweetly by Andrew Laubscher. Scott Sparrow directs. I love watching Scott on stage and I missed him out front, but he did a bold, good job of directing this massive cast and all the traffic of this thing.

It is a huge cast, and therein lies its success and downfall. Guy de Lancey is brilliant. Deborah Vieyra, Emily Child, Tinarie van Wyk Loots and Kate Liquorish are fabulous. Everyone else varies from okay to hideous. The really good moments outshine the bad ones, but the bad ones make the production uneven and long. The thing that I love the most about the play though is how totally accessible it is. Yes, accents move in and out, styles clash and smash, pace is up and down, but this is the kind of play non-theatre goers would really love. The story is easy to follow, the characters are fun and quirky, and the dialogue moves mostly at a good pace. There are some really funny and delightfully rude moments too. So, on a Saturday night it should have been full. And there were about forty of us. Damn. I am coming out in hives again. This theatre business sucks!

The Difference

There is a march against xenophobia on Sunday, at 10am, from the St George’s Cathedral along what used to be the fan walk during the World Cup. I think that if anyone is having doubts about how to put their 67 minutes of service into action this would be a good way.

The other day Ridi Direko was on the radio talking about xenophobia and a psychologist called in to explain how the term was being used incorrectly. Xenophobia is an irrational fear of foreigners. It is like other phobias; claustrophobia, arachnophobia, agoraphobia. What is important here is that it is one, irrational and two, a fear. What is happening in South Africa is outrageous, out of control, anger driven hatred against foreigners, that results in action which is racist. It is unrealistic to believe that all these South Africans are suffering from a phobia. Let’s call a spade a spade. They are racists who are acting out.

Why this is important is because I believe that they need to be dealt with as such. We have an extraordinary constitution that, in principle at least, protects every race, gender, colour, culture and nationality and outlaws any form of discrimination. This kind of racist attack needs to be responded to with haste and severity. There can be no excusing or tolerating or justifying or downplaying this kind of thing. We need to name and shame. We need to be vigilant, aware and absolutely clear. And anyone caught doing anything, from name calling, bullying and shouting, to any physical violence, must feel the full might of the law.

Let’s say what this thing is. And let us be clear that it is not acceptable.

Prayer for Tolerance

On this last day of showing the world how beautiful

friendly and kind

Colourful and crazy

Generous and supporting

South Africans are, and can be.

On this last day

I am praying.

Hard and fervently I am praying

and making a call at the same time.

I am writing it and saying it.

I am praying and even begging

that not one person in this country does something

to somebody who isn’t originally from here.

Please. Let us all get ready to stop it from happening.

We are armed with good feeling.

We are padded with pride.

We are forewarned with reality.

Now, let us protect these lives,

from nations we loved when they were playing soccer.

The Girl in the Yellow Dress

Simon saw this in G’town and absolutely loved it. I went last night, remembering that I will probably get a chance to see most of what was on at the festival right here in Cape Town, if I haven’t seen it already! It is on at The Baxter, @The Flipside, where the main stage is turned around, with the audience on stage too, creating another small (and freezing) venue. The Girl in the Yellow Dress is written by Craig Higginson, directed by Malcolm Purkey, and is a collaboration between the Market Theatre in Johannesburg and two UK theatres. It is a two-hander performed by British actress Marianne Oldham and South African Nat Ramabulana.

Seeing this play was the first in a bit of a theatre drought for me and I was really desperate to enjoy it. My first impressions of the set were, ok, we’re going to watch a proper play now, and that’s exactly what it was; a five scene play, with blackouts denoting the passing of time chronologically, in a very realistic style. The story is about a young, beautiful girl in Paris who develops a relationship with a young black man to whom she is teaching English. It’s got a bit of sex, psychology, identity, racial issues, and it’s all tied up with the bits and pieces of English grammar; all that ‘past participle’ stuff.

There is no doubt that the two performers are super talented and gorgeous. The story is very clear as the two get to know each other better; with not much left to the imagination. I guess the whole point is that we know that they are lying from the outset but this makes the revealing of the information less of a surprise and more of a ‘get on with it’. I found it all rather pedestrian.

I loved the blackout music and slides. I loved some of the witty lines although most of the “English’ stuff was too dense and sailed over this audience’s head.

I was irritated with the costume and set changes, particularly the last one, where in the dark the plastic to cover the furniture was so loud! I found the flowers trite and predictable. I hated that Pierre had to perform his dramatic stuff standing on bits of torn paper as if it wasn’t there. Truth is, I was bored; my worst thing to be in a play.

When it was done I tried to remember a play that I had liked and I thought immediately of …miskien. Also about a relationship, lies, revealing the truth and the complications it brings, I found the execution of it so much more satisfying. Style, lights, set, direction, music, performances, nuances, the extended moments, all worked better for me to create a heightened sense of theatre. The Girl in the Yellow Dress had moments of drama school cheese about it; that feeling of a director/lecturer getting his students to ‘reveal’, to ‘open up’, to ‘go to that place’.

It comes with massive credentials. It was a hit of G’town and it is off to the Edinburgh fest, England and then Stockholm. But if this is one of the best of the fest, I guess I wouldn’t have had too fantastic a time.

Hup Holland Hup

Getting ready to go downtown.

Page 2 of 3

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén