Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: January 2012 (Page 2 of 2)

The Taxi

I’ve just come back from having a chinwag with Soli Philander (Mr KapeTown) on his online radio station The Taxi. I have always talked to Soli over the years; he has been a passionate and committed follower of me and my work, which has been brilliant for me, because I have needed the publicity and exposure. Soli really has been amazingly generous about all of that. And today I want to ‘do it a little differently’. I want to talk about him, the work he does in this town, and how completely amazing he is.

I forget what a brilliant, enthusiastic, passionate, committed, driven and dynamic force Soli is because every time I talk to him it’s about me and the work I’m doing. And yet, he has single handedly changed how we are a community in Cape Town. Conversations with Soli are always deeply honest and to the point. He gets what’s important, and is a hater of bullshit. He loves deeply and strongly, particularly things magical and creative. He is a positive power force. And I am so happy I get a chance to chat to him every now and again. He re-inspires me. And he can you. Listen to The Taxi and hear.

Raw Salad Recipe

I want to eat as much as I can raw. Here is a delicious salad I invented. Break up pieces of swiss chard and rub with a pinch of salt. Add a tbsp of olive oil, some sesame seeds, vinegar (I used red wine vinegar), lemon or lime juice, thin slices of radish and red onion, a few drops of soya sauce and top it all with some raw grated beetroot. Allow the dressing to absorb and wilt the swiss chard.

I’ll probably top it with a bit of feta before eating. It might also be delicious with strawberries, or any berries, but I don’t have any.

Madame Touxflouwe

Said Too (or two) flower. It is a play, at Artscape’s Arena (still no ice at the bar), created and directed by Beren Belknap (who created and directed Out of Order). Madame Touxflouwe had its premier at Out The Box last year but last night was the first time I saw it.

This play has plenty of ingredients. It has a cast of strong and talented performers; James MacGregor, Johan Vermaak, Alex Halligey and Brendan Murray. It has excellent multimedia visuals and tricks. It has horror as a theme and one hellova lot of story. There is very delicious and lovely music. Put all these into a theatre blender and mix, and there should be a good slice of play on the table but there isn’t.

The idea is that there is a haunted house in which the same old ghoulish servants prepare a meal for the head haunt, Madame Touxflouwe, every night. She has them hooked into her story because she has been feeding on their memories (or something) and now there is the new guy who they want to make sure doesn’t leave so she can feed on his memories instead. There is so much story though, and so much exposition, it kinda gets in the way of the plot.

I kept on struggling to stay engaged, right from the very beginning. When we sat down James, as the terribly nervous  cleaner, was cleaning, and setting the table. And that’s how the show starts when the lights go down and come back on again. This sets the tone for an evening of endless repetition. I guess it has to do with the fact that everyone is dead, so they do the same thing every night. Only it’s quite hard for an audience to watch the same thing over and over again.

It’s the same thing with the characters; Henry (Johan) shouts and victimises, Vladimir (Brendan) moves between thug and simpering creep, and Tilly (Alex) is a silent, haunted waif. This is a great place to start but these characters don’t go anywhere. They don’t change in any way, and they don’t affect each other to change. It’s very hard to care about them. Then there is the dialogue, which is also drearily repetitive, with characters saying the exact same things over and over again. A bit like me, here.

I must confess, I started squirming about twenty minutes in. Which was not good because the show was an hour and a half long.

The Best (and easiest) Mjadra

When I was in London, my friend took me to a stunning Lebanese restaurant where we had a piled table of the most delicious plates of food. Haloumi, Labneh, Tabouleh, Mjaddara, Felafel, flat bread and more that I can’t even remember. Since I’ve been back I have been longing to have that meal again and last night I searched for the easiest recipe for Mjaddara (or Mjadra, or Umjadara). I found the one and cooked it up and it was totally amazingly delicious.

Here is all I did. I cooked 1 cup of lentils in 4 cups of water on a medium heat for 20 minutes. Then I chopped a big onion and fried it in olive oil until it was dark brown (almost but not quite burnt). There was still a lot of water left in the lentils after 20 minutes and all you do is throw in the onion and oil, a 1/4 tsp of ground cumin, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup of rice (I used basmati because that’s what I had). I waited until it was all boiling again, and then turned the heat right down and left it for 20 more minutes. Then we ate it. So delicious.

PS. Does anyone know where to get Za’atar in Cape Town?

Bad, dead theatre

I could feel it coming. I had been finding it harder and harder to say what I really felt about certain shows. I found myself being kinder than usual. I started feeling bad for performers. I started softening a harsh response. And then I went to see a show that I found so dismal, dreary and dead I couldn’t actually write a blog post about it at all. I had found the production completely ill considered, deadly boring, unsuccessfully designed, hideously under-interpreted, base and crass, and a waste of my (not very) precious time. I was angry when I left. I felt like bits of tatty wool were about to be pulled over audiences’ eyes. As I walked back to my car I decided that I would keep my big mouth shut on this one and simmer in my own stew of disgust.

And now I am paying for it, because then I started seeing the ‘good things’ that other people were saying about this dismal production. I thought I was going crazy. I started feeling like I was on another planet. How was this possible? Surely not? But, yes. From what I could gather, certain bloggers and critics seemed to sort-of like this show. Others were obviously co-opted into saying good things. And I started boiling in my own bitter juices. This was an injustice. People were going to go off to this show on the recommendation of others and they would be (secretly, if not publicly) horrified that this crap could be considered to be good.

So, I have made a new year’s resolution about this. I am going to say what I feel, every single time. I will end up making people cross. I will offend certain performers and piss off directors. But, honestly, I am missing the whole point of doing this if I don’t put it out there, good, bad and completely hideous.

PS. For those of you who wondered what I thought about the unmentionable show before you decided to go and see it, I promise to honour your readership better and more from now on.

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