Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: September 2010 (Page 1 of 2)

Life at Our House

Sometimes, that’s how it is. Chillin’ together.

Rehearsals

I am loving it. We are into our second week of rehearsals for an industrial theatre project and I am totally in my element. I am in love with each and every member of my cast, Ntombi Makhutshi, Anele Situlweni, Larissa Hughes, Keeno-Lee Hector and Daneel van der Walt. Not are they only amazing performers in and of themselves, they are also brilliant team players and work most wonderfully as a group. They make me feel blessed, and they give me the best kind of creative energy and inspiration.

The super talented Fiona du Plooy came in to rehearsals today to teach the cast some moves for the final song. Yo! She was great, and the cast already look brilliant and hilarious. Then Trevor du Buisson dropped by. He brought the backing track that he made for a very funny rewrite of I Believe I Can Fly; I Believe I Can Drive. It is fantastic! Nothing like pulling in my brilliantly creative connections to do the job.

Tomorrow we do a photo shoot in the morning and rehearse in the afternoon, and then on Thursday we have our first client viewing. I can’t wait for them to see what we’ve been up to. Life is good.

Spring in Cape Town

It’s always hilarious how every single year, for Capetonians and visitors alike, there is the total lack of belief that, aside from a few precious days, it is still winter in Cape Town in September. Take today for example. It is pouring with rain here in Woodstock, and I am still cold in a sweatshirt and jersey. In Jozi it is 30 degrees. It is summer. I am worried that we in Cape Town have not had a wet enough winter, until I remember that winter is far from over. And before summer sets in we have the wind to look forward to! So we only really get to enjoy summer in around February. I’m settling in for the long wait.

Shattering Blackbird

My reaction to this play proves the power of theatre to move one, climb into your head, shake out your stuff and freak you out completely. And it’s a reminder that that’s what theatre should do. This production has left me shattered and confused, and I know I am going to struggle to get it out of my mind.

It’s Blackbird, written by the aptly named David Harrower, directed by Bo Petersen and performed by Warrick Grier and Deborah Vieyra, with teeny cameo by Rebekah Nathan (or Lucy Giffard on other nights). Blackbird is on at The Intimate Theatre until the 2nd of October.

I think it’s the kind of play where the less you know about it, the more powerful it is, so I’m not going to say anything about the story. I am going to say that Warrick Grier is totally, rivetingly, creepily, heartbreakingly amazing. His performance is a tour de force. Deborah Vieyra is also really, really good in a difficult, complicated and many layered part, and Bo’s direction is so subtle and detailed it leaves not a moment unattended.

The subject matter of this play is what makes it controversial. Here it is thrown on its head, turned inside out and it reappears for what it is, sexual abuse. I am still trying to get my brain around it. The Intimate Theatre being exactly that, intimate, makes it feel like you are in the room with these two; you can even smell what they smell. It’s a hideous, hard, tender, radical, and riveting piece.

I was not myself at the end of the play. I wanted to give it a standing ovation but I couldn’t stand up. I really was shattered.

Thoughts on movies, rehearsals, life, and braais

I am in my first week of rehearsals for an industrial theatre project. It is for a client I have worked for for many years, although the show itself is totally new and fresh, and I’m working with a brand new cast of five gorgeous performers. It’s scary that first day; getting everyone together for the first time, checking the dynamics, watching the energies, managing the nerves. Then comes the slightly hysterical delight that it is all going to be fun and maybe even fabulous. And now we have started to come to terms with the words I have written and are putting the thing on the floor. It is fun. But it means that my focus is pretty narrow. I am thinking about this show all the time. Which is what took me to Boardmans yesterday, to buy three chairs for the set. Anyway, the guy there convinced me to open a Boardmans account because of the discount I would get if I did, and it seemed like a fantastic idea to save R400. I am a sucker for a deal. I had to speak to their centre on the phone; had to in fact speak to two different women and managed to control myself pretty well until one of them asked me to give them my husband’s cell number. Naturally, I refused. I thought that would be the last of it until she asked me whether I had got permission from my husband to open the account. I. Kid. You. Not. My husband’s permission to open a Boardmans account. In 2010. Had I known what kind of a production it was going to be I would have just paid cash. Which is what I did anyway because I am terrible at managing accounts. Focus on the discount. Focus on the discount. Now I have three very sexy, made in China, white bar chairs from Boardmans. (I would link to their site but yesterday it was flagged as dangerous and today you can’t see any pics, so don’t bother).

So last night I ended up being a TV head and got sucked in (reluctantly) to watching The Reader, with Ralph Fiennes and Kate Winslet. I love her, which is what made me stick with it, but honestly people, I have no idea, barring her performance, why there was a big fuss about this dreary little piece of film making. And it has my worst thing in a movie; English speaking actors pretending to be Germans. I cannot explain how this drives me nuts. Find German actors. Subtitle the thing for us English speakers to understand. Make it real and representative.

And jumping right ahead randomly, to another thing on my mind, the submersion of Heritage Day into Braai Day. Now don’t get me wrong, I am delighted that there is one non-politically charged thing that all South Africans (barring a few vegans I guess) have in common, it’s just the huge commercial hi-jacking of the thing that has caught my eye. It’s a Checkers, or Standard Bank, or Roller towel, or Coke Braai Day. Replace all of those mentioned by their competitors as well for an accurate picture. C’mon. Stop ramming it down our throats, and let us all make fires in our back yards and char to blackness whatever we can, without your expert advice on what we can’t do without.

Now that’s all of my chest, I’m up and attem.

The Sunday Times

Here is a copy of the letter I sent to The Sunday Times after Marianne Thamm warned us that the one page of arts stuff is going to be reduced to one review and a listing. It would be great if we could all mobilise against this.

Dear Editor
It has been brought to the attention of the art fraternity that The Sunday Times will be reducing the national coverage of the arts from its current one page to one review and a listing. For many in South Africa I am sure this will have no impact whatsoever, but for those of us in the arts it comes as a huge, huge blow, and will be the difference between buying the Sunday Times or not.
I understand the reality that the arts in general, and arts reporting in particular, is niche in South Africa, and that The Sunday Times appeals to a huge and wide audience, but that one page of art reviews and listings brings together the arts from all over the country. We get a chance to feel part of a broader arts community, see what our friends (in my case up North) are up to. We get to feel, for one day, that our work is valuable and valued. Also, we get to feel that, amongst the twenty pages of sport, fifty pages of business and many pages of celebrity skandaal, we have a teeny but important place in The Sunday Times.
You have no idea how important this is. When I appeared in The Sunday Times arts review page (once or twice a long time ago) my family and friends passed this info along a grapevine that extends way past the borders of this country. Surely the value of that must work both ways; we get publicity and acknowledgement and you get to sell more newspapers. That’s the idea isn’t it?
Maybe I’m missing something but it would be great to know what deserves that one page more than us, the struggling, yet totally determined and passionate arts world of this country?
Please, please reconsider and leave us our one page.

So that was my letter. I am sure that the more they get the stronger the cause. Send yours to tellus@sundaytimes.co.za

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