Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: November 2012 (Page 1 of 2)

Villa Sofia stealing my heart

It’s really exciting for me that 3 of the most interesting works I have seen this year have been plays presented as part of the Theatre Arts Admin Collective and GIPCA’s Emerging Director’s Bursary. Thando Dhoni’s Eutopia, Dom Gumede’s Crepuscule and now Villa Sofia by Lidija Marelic. It’s been a treat seeing such diverse, yet detailed, passionate and committed work of a very, very high standard. Bravo.

Villa Sofia starts off at a massive advantage. Lidija put together Cape Town’s best to devise this work. Susan Danford, Terry Norton and Adrian Galley carry the life of this play and make it brilliant and moving. It is an odd story, that takes a while to access; what I actually know about the Serbs and Croats (the setting and subject matter of the play) is terribly limited, but by half-way in the characters have drawn you into the story and it is a tragic journey then, to the end.

But that’s not all. I loved the set. I loved the music. I loved the lighting, costumes, styling. The text needs another phase of writing, I think. I imagine a dramaturg working with Lidija to take the text to the next level. In the meantime, go and see the deft young hand of the director and the brilliant cast who live their characters so truly.

I want to make an appeal to The Theatre Arts Admin Collective to find a way to do two week runs of these works. A minimum of two weeks is needed before the Fleur du Cap judges can consider a production, and all three of these deserve being considered.

Natalie’s Circle of Love FUNdraiser 2

Dear friends, and readers of meganshead, on Tues 11 December we perform our final TheatreSports show of the year at The Kalk Bay Theatre. It’s a very special show because we are going to laugh you into the festive season AND raise money for Natalie’s Circle of Love. I am sure many of you remember Natalie’s story, and the brilliant Baxter FUNdraiser we did for her in April last year. Natalie is one of the bravest young people I know and I am delighted that we are able to dedicate this performance to her and raise much needed funds for her medical costs. Tickets to this show are R100 for adults and R50 for kids (all funds go to Natalie’s Circle of Love Trust) and I know they are going to fly, so book soon on 072 9393351. Then, on the night, we will be collecting soft toys and gentle toiletries for the Sarah Fox Convalescent Hospital for Children in Athlone. There are dedicated beds there for terminally ill children and they really have absolutely nothing. Book your ticket, bring a prezzie and come and laugh with us. What do you say?

How To Be Happy

The Theatre Arts Admin Collective was where I was happy for 45 minutes last night. Frankie Nassimbeni and his cast of PLAYGROUP made me happy with their strange, whimsical, pretty, odd, funny and delightful How To Be Happy. Go. That is all.

War and the Swing to Conservatism

What happened? What happened to turn the passionately committed anti-apartheid children and youth that I was part of into fearful, hating racists who want all Arabs dead?

This new flare-up of war between Israel and the Palestinians has once again brought into sharp focus the disease that has swept through Jews in South Africa and many of my old classmates, and I do not understand it one bit.

I went to King David High School in the late 70s and early 80s. Yes, I was always considered to be an outspoken rebel, but my thoughts about apartheid were shared by all of my friends and many more who weren’t. Some of us went on to be even more outspoken, committed and involved in the struggle once we went to ‘varsity. We all knew that apartheid was evil and wrong, and even though we were white and had moments of fear about the future, the fear was never enough to turn us away from what we knew was the absolute truth. I certainly remember thinking how I couldn’t imagine what it was like to be black, disenfranchised, without power, without access and absolutely oppressed. We all did.

And now, these same friends have turned into paranoid, hysterical, ranting racists and Arab haters who believe, from South Africa (FFS), that their people are threatened and that Palestinians; refugees contained in virtual prisons, are what threaten Israel’s existence. How? How did this happen to those people I knew?

I am devastated by this. I know it isn’t everybody. I have friends and family in Israel who are deeply opposed to the war and are desperate (and vocal) protestors for peace. Just like we were in those days. But I am scared and shocked by how few of us there are, and that most of those old friends have turned into the oppressors we feared and hated and fought against.

 

I Am What I Am in no uncertain terms

My virgin trip to Upstairs at the Alexander Bar last evening was a really good one. Love when that happens. I went off to see I Am What I Am, a cabaret style of strung together songs performed by Angela Inglis, Bethany Dickson Mahnke, Natasha Dryden and Garth Tavares director and behind the keyboard. And it was really, really good. Surprisingly good, actually, considering the genre and style is generally not my cup of tea.

I kicked back and relaxed in the tiny but sexy venue, and listened, watched and laughed as the three gorgeous girls (and Garth) rollercoastered through a whole bunch of styles, moods and paces; some solo, some duets and some lovely trio work. They are all very cute, and very versatile, and it is big, fat fun. What adds to the enjoyment is the fact that it is slick, well rehearsed and well directed. My favourite numbers were the Freedom duet and The Andrew Sisters’ number. But I loved the Tits song, and I Hope You Die (don’t know what they’re called), and Always a Bridesmaid too. There wasn’t really a song I didn’t like actually, although I did love the funny stuff more.

My only niggles were the American cutsie accent from time to time. Let’s be honest; I just hate it. It is very Disney and all of a sudden it feels like I am in Aladdin. I also wasn’t crazy about the voice over because, why? Other than that it was a most fabulous way to spend an hour, in the company of some sexy, young talent. I scheme that is pretty good going for a style of show I normally don’t enjoy!

Get to Upstairs at Alexander Bar, the easiest and coolest way to do two great things; live performance and drinking.

Special Special Thanks to Guests from Afar

The drought has been broken. Last week I saw three not good things in a row. I was feeling like theatre was the emperor and it was wearing no clothes and the people were praising because they were too scared to say what they thought. But last night definitely restored my faith.

I went to see the first preview of Nicholas Spagnoletti’s new play Special Thanks to Guests from Afar (I have been kicked off the opening night invite list after years of attending everything at Artscape’s New Writing Programme – probably for writing about  a production I didn’t like) and it was like drinking from a fresh new glass.

Special Thanks is about old South African friends attending a wedding in a weird little spot in Germany. Two good friends and the brother of the groom hook up for some interesting discovery stuff about themselves and each other and it is a really funny, touching, wacky and lovely script.

The best part about the production (especially since it is the first outing of the play) is that it feels like such a successful collaboration. Visible is the crazy funny sensitive hand of the director, Matthew Wild (Matthew I have got to get my hands on some of that weird German folk music! Ehrmagherd!) , the gorgeous cast of Nicholas Dallas, Gideon Lombard and Chi Mhende, fab designers Angela Nemov and Alfred Rietmann, and of course Nicholas.

I love how Nicholas has chosen three really strange and interesting characters to bring to life. They are not the marriage couple, or even the best friends. They are the strange “what do we do with them?” bunch. “Adults who will sit at the children’s table.” The brother of the groom (Lombard) is even weirder. Go and see why.

These delicious actors are going to have a ball, the minute they realise that this production works. They are already busy with such lovely nuance and it’s going to be fabulous to watch them grow. I think this one is a winner. Bravo.

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