Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: June 2012 (Page 1 of 2)

Improvisers are lucky

Canberra Improvention (even though it hasn’t officially started). Last night, after watching a new format improv try out,  Heidi and I were talking about fear and I was trying to articulate what I was nervous about. Of course we are nervous; about performing in front of such brilliant improvisers, in front of a local audience (will they get us?) and running our workshop (does it have any validity? will participants like it?) So, I struggled to find the underlying cause of my fear, and now that I have found it I can say it and it will go. I am nervous about being found out as a con-person, a trickster, a busker. As a somebody who says they do but doesn’t. The best part about these ‘fears’ is they are all the things you need to be an improviser. You are a busker, a trickster, a con. You are making it up. I feel so much better now.

Anyway, now that that is gone, I want to say why I think improvisers are lucky. We are lucky because we are always looking for the possibility. We are lucky because we default to yes. On stage, and in life, because we are so used to it. We are lucky because we allow ourselves to get over the moon with excitement, and we allow ourselves to shout our excitement out loud. Look at the improvention facebum page to see what I mean.

So, lucky improvisers, I am ready to play.

Reflections post New York

It’s been a crazy time since arriving home on Wednesday, mainly because I leave again this coming Wednesday for Australia for a month, and I have a ton of work to complete before I go. I sit in front of my lappie, trying to write write write up New York. And I am surprised by how much I am missing the city that I got to know, and fell in love with in just 9 days. Facebook and twitter are my distractions, and I am so saddened by local news of the Limpopo education crisis, the brutal rape and murder of children here at home, and other stories that remind me so shockingly of how we live. Granted, while I was in New York I didn’t have half a moment to scan the internet for news, and there might have been a ton of stuff there that I missed, but it felt like Maria Carey and Sarah Jessica Parker entertaining Obama on one night that we were there was the big news (and Justin Bieber on the Today show).

My sadness is the realisation of how much I carry here, on my shoulders and in my heart, when I am home. I am so drearily sad of being white. Yes, yes, I know what it means, and where it comes from, and how privileged I am and how 90% of South Africans are worse off than me and they are black. It’s not incorrect, just heavy. When the Spear issue exploded in South Africa I found myself in the truly awkward position of having such strong opinions about it (I identify with the artist, and demand the right to freedom of expression) and the overwhelming reality that my opinions were somehow unimportant in the context of where I am. I realised that my struggle history is not visible and will never be counted. I am identified in a certain way regardless.

Back home I am white. Back home I am Jewish in an anti-Zionist way. Back home I have been called “a struggling artist”.  Back home I am “of a certain age”. Back home I feel like I am stuck to the pin board of classification and definition.

Something liberating happened to me in New York, the melting pot of diversity, money and poverty, immigrants, art, commerce, power, old, new, fast food and health food, dogs more spoilt than children, and hot subways where intimate conversations about everything under the sun can be heard. I was, for the most part, just me; made up of all sorts of bits and pieces, background, quirks, ethnicity, nationality, gender, class. And all of it was true and ok and unquestioned. I was me. And, overwhelmingly, I felt huge pangs of jealousy that I was not born there, or had moved there to live years ago.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no doubt that NYC can be depressingly lonely, and hard, and cold in winter, and scary if you have no job and money. It’s not that. It’s that you aren’t being pre-judged, pre-decided on. It’s ok to admit that you are obsessed by money, or are passionate about theatre or want to study for the rest of your life. It’s ok to be a waiter, or a tour guide, or an actor-in-waiting who is a waiter or tour guide.

In NYC everybody except the biggest celeb is anonymous. Everybody is getting on with it. Everybody is doing stuff. I’m not suggesting for one moment that there isn’t injustice, or crime, or ugliness, or corruption, or racial profiling, it’s just that I’m not walking around overwhelmed by it all. And the truth is, at home I am.

Cellini Luggage Shout Out

I seem always to complain about bad service, but here is a short praise post about Cellini Luggage and Luggage Warehouse who have behaved magnificently. I was so proud when I bought my red, ladybird Cellini suitcase for my months of travel. I packed it full (as I was instructed to do) and flew off to New York. Everything was fantastic. I felt like a travel queen. And then, on my return trip something happened after checking in again in Jozi. By the time my suitcase came around the carousel in Cape Town the zip had been completely mangled and the case was spilling open. I was devastated. Firstly, I had never spent that kind of money on a suitcase before, and secondly, I am only back home for a week before jetting off to Oz for a whole month and I need a case. I had my heart in my mouth when I took the case back to Luggage Warehouse in Access Park yesterday. They promised to get hold of the Cellini rep but were worried that it wouldn’t happen before Monday, and I felt that that was too close to the day of my next departure; Wednesday! And then at about 1.30pm I got the most relieving phone call from Luggage Warehouse. Cellini had offered to change the suitcase out. So I’ll pop off there this morning and pick up my new suitcase. I think this time I will also buy a thing I had never heard about until yesterday; a suitcase sleeve. Hmm. Anyway, Cellini, I completely love how you do business and how you protect your reputation. That is what quality is all about. Bravo. I am now totally brand loyal, after never having known a luggage brand in my life.

How to do NYC in One week, and then summarise it 1

Theatre, live music, art, exhibitions, food, work, people, not much sleep. Buildings, signs, parks, sights, conversations. On top of buildings, in buildings, next to buildings, in buildings. Coffee, on the go, service, healthy food, not-so healthy food, dogs, more dogs, Jewish people, Irish, Russians, Nigerians, Israelis, Saudis, Italians, New Yorkers, out-of-towners, rich, poor, old, young, stylish, nerdy. It is fair to say we packed it all in. We went up the Empire State Building and to the Top of The Rock. We queued in Central Park for 6 hours to get free tickets for As You Like it, which was totally fabulous. We went to the Met and did 3 of the 900 rooms. We went to Moma and I fell in love again with Matisse, Modigliani and Monet. We danced for four hours to a Brazilian band, a Mexican Ska band and Balkan Beatbox as we celebrated Brooklyn in Prospect Park. We walked the High Line, marveling at the radical buildings and how they have been transformed. We ate gelato, shaped like flowers on a cone, in the village. We ate cup cakes from Magnolia Bakery where the girls from Sex and The City would go. We fetched a guitar in a bar in Astoria Boulevard, Queens and visited my darling Tante B and her daughter and family in Stamford. We went to the extraordinary Bodies exhibition. And Dan Bern. And Other Desert Cities. We socialised with some NYC connections who were fabulous and inspiring. We toured the Rockefeller Centre with a guide who knew about every piece of art. We went to Williamsburg, and South Street Sea Port, and Battery Park. We took the subway, and walked and cabbed and trained. We walked through Gramercy in the middle of the night. As much as we did, there was the same amount of things we didn’t have time for, but I’ll be back. I will never be the same again.

Old Love New Love Dan Bern

In a moment of proper synchronicity Jaci and I discovered that one of our mutual demi-heroes would be performing one night in NYC while we were here. It was last night. Dan Bern at The Beekman Beer Garden, on the South Side Sea Port, on the water, with a brilliant view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

We got there really early; in time to see Dan and family having a pre show meal at one of the tables and benches under the little white marquee. The concert was a fundraiser for the Big Apple Greeters, a group of volunteers who show out of towners around. Delicious. As Dan himself said, “What’s not to support?”

As the sun went down and the lights of the city (the still to be completed No 1 World Trade building in stripes of red, white and blue) got turned on, Dan and his band came onto stage and played to us. It was such a brilliant, laid back concert, with a group of the most diverse, arbitrary, strange and gorgeous Dan Bern fans. Jaci described it as real bliss.

Afterwards we told Dan, as he signed our new CD covers with his daughter in his other arm, that we were from South Africa, and he mentioned his song Cape Town on his new album Drifter.

 

Other Desert Cities

I really didn’t ever think that I would be blogging about a Broadway show here, on meganshead, but last night I went to see Other Desert Cities, right here at The Booth Theatre in New York, and I can’t help myself. What an unbelievable experience.

Picture this. A theatre not much bigger than Theatre On The Bay. Every single seat full. Our 50% discounted tickets were $66 each. A play that includes Stockard Channing, Stacy Keach and Judith Light in the cast. Judith had won her Tony for this role the night before. Yes. That kind of play.

Other Desert Cities is a family drama, with fraught, complicated relationships, politics, secrets and twists. It is moving, shocking, hilarious, complicated and totally engaging. But, most importantly, it is brilliantly done. Brilliant performers. Brilliant script. Brilliant set and lighting. Brilliant direction.

This is the kind of theatre that makes you need to see a play at least three times a week. It is the kind of theatre that makes you love theatre. It is what theatre can, and should, be.

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