Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: October 2014 (Page 1 of 2)

And Chomi

chomimainLast night I went to Artscape again, making it two nights in a row, to see another of the season of new writing’s offerings, Chomi. And it was an absolute treat being in the audience. The play is a young, black, gay, South African stage version of Friends/Sex And the City and it was cute and funny and moving and generally entertaining and delightful. The performances were good, the direction was very solid indeed, and the sound and lights were spot on. But the absolutely best part of the show was being in that audience. 1. It was a totally mixed audience, reflecting a much lovelier and more authentic Cape Town than I have generally seen in Cape Town, and certainly at Artscape. Yay! 2. They/we were so vocal. It was almost interactive. People oohed and aahed, laughed and expressed their disapproval, even said ‘amen’ at the end of a prayer. It was fantastic. 3. It was an audience who, for the most part, were exposed to pretty raunchy, sexy and gay stuff, and there were deep breaths of conservative shock that turned into acceptance while we sat there. Now, I think that is what makes true, meaningful theatre. The kind that after one hour  might shift opinion, change minds, and open hearts forever.

Chomi is on for two more shows on Friday so check out the Artscape website for details.

Undone

undonemainA lovely thing about the Artscape Season of New Writing is the energy, time, money and commitment given to brand new work. Thank you Artscape for these many years of actively growing local theatre.

Last night was my turn to see Wessel Pretorius’ Undone (previously ONT in Afrikaans). And it was very, very, very good. Here is a tiny rambling, stream of conscious ream in praise of this masterful solo performance.

That tub, that case, a musing face a naked form, emotion storm, both tense intense, can we un-sense, a mother father jacket un-packet. You learned to drive, a muscle taut, un-dead alive.

Alfred Rietmann has also made total magic with lighting.

Although this work is entirely different from Sue MacLaine’s Still Life, there are many similarities; even just the obvious ones. Solo performance, nudity, poetry, form. If you can, go see it. The only challenge is the mystery of when it is on. The scheduling is a huge, jumbled Artscape secret.

A Good Sport

The cute documentary that Pascale Neuschäfer made about me and improv.

Still Life Moving Life

Sue MacLaine was totally fabulous last night in her piece Still Life, where we the audience were expected to draw her as she spoke and posed and kept silent and whispered wonderful things and explored an emotional range of being totally present that was huge and special and, most importantly, unusual. It is really exciting to have these original experiences available in Cape Town, South Africa. If you don’t have a ticket for tonight’s performance you should totally see if you can still get one here

I am suddenly less busy, with time on my hands and a whole bunch of stuff to do. One of them is a chance to improvise again, and I’ll be doing that tonight, at The Galloway at 8pm. I am properly excited to jump in. I love making stuff up, and it helps my brain be creative.

Another thing I am toying with is serialising my (yet unpublished) novel, Green Margie and the Starlight, and putting it up here, on meganshead. I am keen(ish) to try and do NaNoWriMo again this year, but I have this nagging feeling that I should do something with my already written novel first. Do you think it is a good idea? Let me know. Leave a comment.

 

The Surprise of Violet Online

1292115891180_4258075Violet Online has been a joyous surprise. Granted, I don’t need to do the hard work of going on stage every night, being the director. Lovely Lynita Crofford has managed that very nicely, thank you very much. The surprise hasn’t even been how well received the work has been, even though it has, with two out of three reviews that I have seen being really, really good. The big surprise has been in how unbelievably well the show has done at the box office.

Firstly, it is clear that this kind of show, and by that I mean content, has a huge and responsive audience. Its target market is middle aged women, and friends and family of middle aged women (even though I believe it has broader, and universal appeal). People heard about Violet Online and booked for it. Our run has been pretty much totally sold out and we decided to add 4 performances next week on our opening night last week. I know that the Alexander Bar theatre is really tiny and easy to fill, but the truth is, none of us did huge publicity. People want to see this show. And this makes me very excited, because Lynita got it right. She chose the material, knew it would be popular, and then we made something beautiful and funny of it.

But I am even more excited by the idea that theatre doesn’t have to be back breakingly difficult to sell. I am excited by the notion of making accessible, enjoyable theatre for people who will come. I am excited that Alexander Bar has built an audience who will trust what is on, and come regardless.

I was scrolling through my blog this week and I saw a post from a few months ago where I wrote about how I was done being desperate about selling my shows. And something has clearly shifted for me. I am (currently) able to keep my promise to myself. I am able to make work, be proud, and let it be seen.

Violet Online extends with shows Mon 21 – Thurs 24 October at 9pm. Book here on Alexander Bar.

Sue Maclaine in conversation

Last night a few of us (mostly white women theatre makers) hung out with visiting UK performer Sue Maclaine at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective, and she chatted to us about her work and inspiration and methodology. It was lovely and interesting and inspiring, and also hilarious. I am always struck by the things we all have in common, as well as our differences, and it’s always lovely to hear the confidence and sureness that maturity brings to the world of theatre work.

Part confession (I rehearse while lying in the bath), part declaration (I do not collaborate), part discovery (I don’t know, but I think it may be me ringing a bell), Sue brought a lightness to the heavy conversation of making meaningful theatre, and she completely sold me her work. I can’t wait to see Still Life, the show she will be performing here next weekend at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective.

I love solo work, but I also love working in a team. I love being completely in charge though and, like Sue, I don’t think I am a great theatrical collaborator (I tell actors exactly what to do to achieve my vision). But, I revel in the co-creative  space of improv. I love the completely solo space of writing, and I am in parts addicted to and terrified of solo performance.

So it was lovely to have a listen to Sue, and to hear her go boldly into this discussion (she saw, and hated, a piece of local theatre the night before), she spoke of having to take out her metaphorical man part at meetings, and she put forward ideas that challenge the narrow narrative between South African performers and our audiences.

Mostly though, she was deliciously funny, in a room full of very earnest female theatre people. I was reminded of how important being funny is (even though Sue told us that her hardest deaths in front of an audience were when she tried stand-up comedy).

I love my theatre life, I love serious solo work, I love directing, and performing and improvising. Thanks Sue, for pinging that stuff for me. (And thanks to Bella for the outrageous and delicious private cooking demo).

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