Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: October 2013

Soap-A-Thon reflections, But How Was It For You?

We were a little bit crippled yesterday when we got together for a bit of a debriefing after Saturday’s mammoth 15 hour improv extravaganza, our second annual Soap-A-Thon. We chatted about what worked and didn’t (for us) and what we would do the same, and differently, next time around. We also had a big, fat mutual back slapping session where we told each other how brilliant we were. And we were. No doubts. We had great fun, extraordinary challenges, huge success as we worked as a giant team, brilliant support from our techies (students from the Waterfront Theatre School) and great surprises in both storyline and characters that appeared, almost beyond our control. That is how it felt for us.

But we want feedback. We want to hear from you. What was it like? What did you love? What would you do differently? Who did you love? How did you feel about the style? Drop us a line. Leave a comment. Post on Facebook.

 

Soap-a-thon and a trip

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We decided to paint our lounge and dining room, which meant moving pretty much all of our stuff around. This meant an unexpected trawl though old photos yesterday, and I discovered a box full of ancient TheatreSports ones. Sadly, there are many of some occasions, times and people, and none of others. But it has taken me through the times, since I arrived in CT at the end of 1993 to run our first TheatreSports workshop, at Kasteel Players’ venue in Harrington Street. Our first run at The Dock Road Theatre that December was with a team who came especially from Jozi, our crazy sessions at Eauver The Top in Kalk Bay, The Light Fantastic in Muizenberg, The Purple Turtle, On The Side at Artscape, and now The Intimate and Kalk Bay Theatre. I remember (some more clearly than others) tours to Grahamstown, Knysna, Hermanus, Orlando Florida, and corporates from the hills of the Drakensberg to wine farms to weird lounges. Birthdays and barmies. Schools and fundraisers. Church halls and voorkamers. Australia and Improvention. Natalie’s Circle of Love FUNdraiser. 2 Fleur du Cap awards. Our first Soap-a-thon last last year, and our first improv fest at the beginning of this year. And of course there is tons more that I am not mentioning.

I have met amazing people, workshopped in extraordinary circumstances, performed zingers and dingers, made best, best friends, and mostly had my faith lifted by the extraordinary thing that improv is.

And to the future. The nearest thing is Saturday’s 15 hour Soap-a-thon to raise funds for Rape Crisis. Then, a trip to an improv festival on Reunion Island in the first week of December. What an amazing, beautiful and special thing to have in my life.

The Frontiersmen

I knew we were in for it when we walked through the door. The safe, sexy black box of Alexander Upstairs looked like it had been trashed, stripped and left hollow. The dim light of dusk was slipping through the very office like blind. It looked nasty, but that was nothing. When Yuri and Shane entered the space in white suits drenched in blood and the first thing that happened was a toxic release in the corner… I had no illusions about how hard core it was going to get. Still I was shocked. Still I found it hard to swallow.

Louis Viljoen has written a savage little drama that is unbearably bleak, witty, hideous and terrifying. I am scared about the shit that is in his head. If this is really the world we inhabit then I am a naive bunny hippy. Shit on toast! Greg Karvellas directs the most outstanding performances from Mark Elderkin and Nicholas Pauling. I have to admit it was a lot like seeing a particularly gruesome accident and being fascinated by it. No, I did not enjoy it, but yes, I thought it was rather brilliant. (I thought it was much, much better than Champ.) I had no idea that property developers were that far gone, but I should have known.

I see Mamet, Sarah Kane, Tarrantino, Berkoff influences here, only Louis takes it all to new extremes. Brilliant and hectic dialogue, intense monologues and radical ideas. You need to have the stomach for it, and I’m not sure I do. My breakfast is sitting uncomfortably this morning. Still, I think it was pretty amazing.

Apparently a regular Alexander patron wanted to cancel all his future bookings after seeing it. I had an old couple sitting in front of me last night and I was occasionally embarrassed that we were sharing the space. The Frontiersmen. Not for sissies.

Theatre of heart

I have written about my industrial theatre work before, but every time I start rehearsals it I am reminded of how awesome it is, and I get excited by the braveness of my clients, the creativity and commitment of the team I work with and the audience reach we get.

In SA we are not huge supporters of theatre. It is hard enough getting our friends and connections to support our work. Mostly our audiences are made up of repeat offenders. So, how extraordinary is it that for the past 8 years a petrol company has been providing live training and entertainment in the form of theatre?

Initially they took a huge risk. Doing a road show of this size and reach is very expensive and a massive organisational undertaking. But it paid off immediately because of the response of the petrol pump attendants, cashiers, dealers and management. And they have stuck with it because of the huge pay off. Service delivery improves every time we come around. Pump attendants and cashiers feel special and important and part of a huge team. They adore the performers and treat them like celebrities. And, where I get excited is that these audiences have become more and more theatre literate. They understand character, story and humour, send-up and satire. They have grown as we have grown. And we inform and are informed by each other.

So, we have just completed our second week of rehearsals and we had our first client viewing today. I can’t wait for this show to happen in front of my favourite, and biggest audiences of the year.

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