Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: September 2012 (Page 2 of 3)

MedEia MedEia

A show I saw twice. A show I loved. Seeing it again was like listening to that album that you heard only once but loved, again. It was like watching a story you know well, and the inevitable ending, and seeing it play out, and remembering while watching.

Brett Bailey’s MedEia is beautiful, spectacle, style, sound and word. That’s the part I love the most. It is word music, word story, word image. I will write this how I saw the show. You know the story. I will tell you why I loved it.

I loved it because it was like watching/listening to Laurie Anderson tell/speak and I love Laurie Anderson. I loved it because it starts with flames and a cover of David Bowie’s Wild Is The Wind. My best David Bowie song. It has a sad sad song later on, when things go pear-shaped and people start hurting and dying, a song I know and don’t know the name of that I recognise from my own sadness even though I don’t understand the words, but it is the right song for me, and I love that song and its sadness. I loved those three black goddesses Indalo Stofile, Mbali Kgosidintsi and Namhla Chuka, in white who speak, and move, and send out woman emotion as the chorus, bound by beat, bound by word, bound because they are the helpless chorus, but powerful, powerful. I loved Faniswa Yisa as Medea, her voice, her crazy, simple, emotional everything. I loved Jason by James MacGregor who is the snake in the garden of Eden. I loved Apollo Ntshoko because his dancing made me ache. I loved Frank Paco who drums the soundtrack and heartbeat and brain freeze of the story and keeps it from going anywhere except the end. Mostly I loved this text, this  Oscar van Woensel collection of words in this way to tell this story, like this.

For sure this production is not for everybody. It is for the opposite of everybody. It is bold choices. It is style instead of outpouring. It is song lyric. It is mpepu and baby powder dust and black and white and inevitable. It will be lost on many. It will find some hearts. It is the most dangerous kind of theatre for this country because it isn’t made for us, or about us, but it tells a story of one of us, as woman, as stranger, as the one who stays in love.

Bladdy Funny Bench

It is only fair to say that I felt like going out last night as little as I wished I was a frozen fish finger. Not. But it was to The Kalk Bay Theatre (good place to go) and when I arrived I sat down and spoke about puppynesses to a table of animal adorers until the show began (good thing to do).

Bench; a two hander written by Brent Palmer and performed by Brent Palmer and Adrian Collins and directed by Michael kirch. This was its “global premier” as Simon Cooper put it. Bench is the story of two skollies, Henry (Palmer) and Dwain (Collins) who are waiting on a bench outside the National Gallery. They are waiting to put into action a rather shoddy plan to steal a painting. And they talk a whole lot of very very funny kak.

I loved both characters. Henry is a pompous, creepy, used car salesman type, grease ball, long moustached creepazoid. Dwain is the put upon, gatvol ex-con who really doesn’t want to be there. The characters are absolutely classic and work really brilliantly together.

Sometimes the getting out of the story is a bit challenging – there might be a little too much of it; too much justification, too much convolution, situation, historification (a word I am sure Henry would manage) and that can overwhelm the journey a bit, but the characters are the delight and the redemption.

I love the Tarrantino turned duidelik vibe. I love the filthy and brightly coloured language. I love the status shifts between the two.  I love the subtle Company Gardens soundtrack. My opinion? Lose the distracting and stinky cigarette. Tighten up some of the beats. Rely on the characters more and the story less.

Bench will grow and shift for sure. Brent and Adrian will play around as their characters. They are well on the way to discovering what this is all about. I imagine that when they can they will lose some of the plot and will end up more and more being two skollies on a bench, talking kak. In the meantime, there are some, no, many proper laugh out loud moments that make this production absolutely kak funny.

 

Jazzart’s Boring Biko’s Quest

I admit I had second thoughts about going. Dance is not a medium I feel comfortable with, and I certainly don’t really know what I’m talking about when it comes to writing about it, although, there have been a few occasions in my life where I have watched dance and been moved completely out of myself. Also, Biko’s Quest is directed by Mandla Mbothwe, and, obviously, it was based on Steve Biko, which were two good reasons to see it. But, really, I was terribly underwhelmed.

First of all, Artscape, you really don’t help make it a fun night out. The foyer of the main theatre was gloomily dark and deathly quiet when I arrived. I was skeefed by two of the nerdiest looking old queens as I crossed the terribly uncrowded foyer to the bar. There were five of us waiting to be served by the three stooges, who had no idea how to serve drinks, take money or give change. It was chaos. They are obviously entirely not used to actually having customers.

Then the show. I will say at the outset that it looked like I was the only person who didn’t like it. Inspired by a photographic exhibition and weaving together bits of historic information, visual references, personal responses and historic contexts, the show ended up being a series of pieces strung together with a school girl/Hector Pietersen look alike/narrator. The interpretation felt quite literal; violence, torture, protest, proclamation. This was obviously very clear and important and moving for most of the audience but I have to confess I found it rather trite.

I am of a generation where the tragic and hideous story of Steve Biko, his arrest, torture and murder are very well known. When I was growing up this was the pivotal incident that changed everything, even though it took so long. It was the point. It is possible that for a lot of the audience there last night (because they were young) this was an expression of history not told before, and in a new way. So, maybe the bottom line is that I was outside the range of the target market, and this left me disconnected, unmoved (by what I consider to be the most moving and heartbreaking story) and often bored.

I know, I said it before, me and dance are not best friends, but over the last 30 years I have seen mind altering productions by Jazzart in particular, where the concept, or talent and skill, or diversity, or artistry, or content has been awesome. Not here. There were moments or sections I did like, but on the whole I absolutely did not get taken up by this production.

I loved the fact that most of the company was on stage pretty much all of the time and I really enjoyed the use of the stage space, but I found the dancing of a pretty low standard. I found the piece disjointed, even though I loved the narrator and thought her to be the most powerful of the performers. I was bored by the terribly repetitive choreography, and had to shake myself awake a couple of times. And one of my biggest problems was an overflowing of emotion from many of the cast of dancer/performers. I don’t want to watch you feeling all the stuff. I want you to make me feel it. This is often a problem when tackling subject matter with such emotional density, and it is a trap that non actors can fall into with ease.

So when it all came to an end finally, imagine my total surprise when the crowd sprang to its feet and went ballistic. I slunk home, feeling unsatisfied.

 

The Bond

How is such love felt after so short a time? Yes there are all the cliches; the puppy breath, the sweet falling walks, the struggle upstairs, the nodding off exhaustion, the bounding towards you in recognition, the way they fall in love with your voice, the soft faces and ears and the cuteness of everything. But how can my heart be close to exploding with love for these two beings after 6 days?

How can Big Friendly and I be having serious discussions (read differences in opinions) about how much and how often they should eat? How can the bedroom rule be broken with such ease? How can our house feel so completely different and better with dog energy in it? How can you know that one feels sick? Who remembers how funny puppies are? How proud can I be when a simple wee or poo happens on the lawn? How can two little personalities be so completely different from each other already, and likes and dislikes unique to each of them?

Oh, big, huge, moist, tumbling and joyous is my new love.

 

Improv

I posted this yesterday on Improguise‘s website, but I thought it was worth reposting here. Waddaya think?

Here are a few of my own personal reflections after running our first new improv class for both Improv for Everybody and Improv for Actors (we split up from next week) in no particular order.

1. Improv is magical. Everybody left with a bit of a light shining somewhere. Some people’s lights were strong, radiating off their faces like reborn creatives. Others had lights shining from strange, underused parts of their bodies and minds. They had that look of “not sure what just happened there, but I think it was good.” Some had the warm, familiar glow of “I know this improv place and it is good.” I had a light shining out of the top of my head. Probably the cough and cough mixture, but I suspect it was the altered state of watching fresh improvisers start getting it.

2. Everyone’s improv clock works differently but the success of learning from others is the most obvious thing. It is ‘watch and learn’ in practice.

3. Actors are complicated beings and improv is so very good for them.

4. People are self saboteurs. So many people ended up not making it to the first session. I know how scary it is to commit, and then actually come to an improv workshop, but getting over the first hurdle is the biggest, and the one from which all things flow. Trust me. Trust you

5. The silly games still make me laugh.

6. Learning improv is like a dance through life’s lessons and the power ones are when you realise that it’s not all about you. Then, after that, it’s about realising that it is a bit about you. The good bit. The one that doesn’t try too hard. The bit that others love, and find easy to reach.

7. Improv is easy, and then it gets hard, and then easy, and then hard and then easy and so on and so on. If you are a newbie this is good to know.

8. Improv classes help you get to know people really fast, especially when there is hugging.

9. If you are going to do the Heimlich Manouvre on someone, tell them first.

10. Every single person can tell when something is amazing.

11. Part of learning improv is saying why something was good.

12. The easiest way to disarm someone is to come to them unarmed.

13. Side coaching is such a lovely, gentle term, and it doesn’t really describe my shouting, crazy style very well.

14. If I could do improv every day, and not much else I would live a charmed life.

15. The biggest pat on the pat that you give yourself is that you committed and then came. Then, whenever you can, tap into the inspiration of it all, whether you want to be on stage in front of an audience or not.

16. There is no wrong way to do it.

17. You are learning me as much as you are learning it as much as you are learning you.

18. For me, teaching improv is like an instant love affair with everyone in the group. That’s day one. Day two is a different story. See what happens on day 2.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, feedback, ideas and confessions as we go along.

Dog days

Linus and Frida are installed.

Frida is a tough, clever, curious, friendly and funny girl. She is almost double her brother’s size. Linus is tiny, gentle, slow and soft. They are totally in our hearts and we only fetched them from the SPCA this morning. I can’t help but feel that everything worked out exactly as planned and that PETS made the mistake they needed to in order for us to get these little magnificent somebodies.

Right now they are lying at Big Friendly’s feet while he watches TV. We have just come back from their first visit to the park. It was both thrilling and terrifying, for the puppies and us. There were ‘big dogs’ there.

Their poos have been examined and discussed. Their tummies, teeth, tails, eyes, fur, claws have been marveled over. Frida can get up and down the stairs but Linus needs a hand.

This is just the beginning of the total, mutual delight session of our time together.

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