Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: March 2016

Like a Friendship

12108727_10153223922241008_7465013988944086042_nComing back here after a long absence is like picking up the phone to call a close friend after weeks of busy stuff has gotten in the way. I have missed being here, and I miss the particular headspace of writing my thoughts out and then sending them into the very public ethers.

I think what happens is that sometimes there is a natural flow between the kinds of writing I am doing and my blog, and sometimes there is a complete disconnect when I am engrossed in a particular writing project (like finishing my screenplay for example, yes, yes I finished a screenplay, and I am very excited). Mostly the writing on my blog reflects where I am in my other writing, and right now I am in a writing hiatus. I have three very strong ideas and only one committed to index cards. I am going to have to ramp it up a notch and start doing the words of it very, very soon.

So I distract myself with everything else that is not actual writing. Yes, there is other stuff, like directing the brand new (and very funny) Violet Online Rebooted (Love Me Tinder) which opens on 18 April, and working with some gorgeous AFDA honours students on a show.

I am in that interesting, illusive, in between world that is before committing and still dreaming and terribly frustrating, where brilliant ideas come to me while I am driving, or sleeping, or feeding the dogs, and they aren’t put down or remembered. Sometimes only the feeling of the idea remains, without anything to attach it to, and sometimes a character appears, fully formed, with absolutely nothing to do.

And I can do really, is wait. But I have decided to keep in practice here.

A sad, personal post

I am immobilised today. This doesn’t happen to me very often. I usually give myself a talking to, tell myself there are those far worse off than me, remind myself to be very careful about making this all about me. But somehow these last couple of days have just gotten the better of me.

I was supposed to go to Mannenberg today for the viewing of A Silent Hero about Robert Sobukwe. I was supposed to go to Khayelitsha for a vigil for Sinoxolo Mafevuka and I was supposed to go to the theatre to see beautiful new work. And I can’t.

Yesterday was the big catalyst. It started at 7.50am (although I only found out about it a bit later) in a street just down the road from where I live. A woman was highjacked and her car taken. In the afternoon a woman posted on Facebook that she had seen an abduction just across the highway in Walmer Estate. She was in total panic and had no idea what to do. Apparently the robbers posed as taxi drivers and robbed this young woman before throwing her out. She was Mozambican and had no idea where she was. Later in the evening I saw another post on Facebook. A couple’s house in the street where I used to live was burgled and ransacked. Then, when I woke up at 4am this morning I saw another one. A woman had been mugged outside her friend’s house nearby after getting out of a cab.

Never mind the other big rape and murder cases on everyone’s minds right now.

Today I am scared; a feeling I am not familiar with. I was nervous to go and walk the dogs too early. I had to go and get something for a shoot I am doing tomorrow. I went down to the main road and I didn’t feel myself. I was on edge. I remembered that the ATM machines were not to be trusted. I saw a trio of rough kids fighting. I am jealous of people in countries where women can walk alone.

I came back home. I put stuff on hold. And I am waiting for this terrible feeling to pass. I am so sad to be immobilised, disabled.

 

Jewish Tart

tartI have known Big Friendly for almost 13 years now, and over those 13 years he has told me rapturously, in childhood fantasy memory, about his most favourite dessert, a thing called Jewish Tart. His ouma and his mom made it for him on very special occasions and it was his best ever thing. I always pulled a face when he spoke about it, because I am Jewish and I have never heard of or seen a Jewish Tart before. I thought that maybe his strange and wonderful family had given some thing this name, and they were the only ones. Like my father calling stupid, stingy people Peruvians. “Don’t be such a Peruvian!”

A month ago Big Friendly came home flushed and excited. It was a real thing! His aunt had posted the Huisgenoot recipe for Jode Tert on facebum.

Today we tried to make it. It is layers of round biscuit separated by a homemade custard. The biscuits are done and the custard (please may it still firm up) is cooling before we assemble it.

Jewish Tart; this bizarre South African thing made by Afrikaners, and now by me, and stirred by Big Friendly. This is the recipe I followed.

 

Tightrope

6a00d8341c61d153ef0115719b6255970bYesterday was a long, amazing, interesting and eye opening day for me in South Africa. The details were simple. On Thursday I flew up to Jozi, and then drove to Potch, where I spent the night, so that I could run an early morning improv session with participants in an advanced leadership programme for one of the mining companies. I love this work, and am deeply happy to have it. I am in my element working to teach the basic principles of improv to groups who have no experience of this way of thinking. Three hours of laughing, playing and creating later and they are a transformed team.

And yet, I sit with so much anxiety and reservation about the true voices in our country; the unspoken disbelief I see flash across black faces when white participants innocently and unconsciously make reference to ‘those people’ or ‘these people’ and say something so deeply racist my brain wants to explode. Or the vile and despicable white voice of complaint to the black serving woman in the airport business lounge, as if she has the power to improve the ridiculousness of a triple full lounge, plane delays and the lack of seating for her and her miserable partner. I sit with the frustration of the conversation I have with a man who was flying to Limpopo for voter registration weekend and when he hears that I live in Cape Town he tells me “ag, just ask your Zille,” “ask your DA,” assuming that script for me without even asking. I don’t blame him. He sees examples of that mentality all around him. I listen to the slightly louder voice of the white man when he talks to the brown air hostess. We have no idea what we sound like and it is deeply rude and embarrassing.

My big fear is that it is already too late to prove that we can be different. Why should anyone ever believe us? It is hard going. I am not going to stop making a noise, trying to make a difference. I will try in small and big ways.

On my way up to Jozi I sat next to a gorgeous woman. We didn’t speak until she saw me staring out the window in amazement at the beautiful cloud formations below us; we were flying above the clouds. And she turned to me, this stranger, and in a thickly isiXhosa accented English said, “Nature is so powerful and beautiful.” And in that tiny moment I felt hope.

 

 

Our 4th Improv Fest

ImprovFestI cannot believe that we ImproGuisers are about to perform our 4th Improv Fest, from 14-19 March, at The Galloway Theatre.

Inspired by an amazing improv travel experience to Oz in 2012, Candice D’Arcy (now living in Oz with Melbourne improviser Mark Gambino), Tandi Buchan (artistic director of ImproGuise), and I came back with inspiration, motivation and a lot of madness, and slapped together an improv festival that offered the best improv in short and long formats.

We were amazed at the amazement of our audiences. We listened to what they loved the most. We were inspired by their suggestions. And we did the festival three times in a row, for the last three years.

This year the biggest difference is the venue. Our last three week long festivals were in Kalk Bay, but now we will be performing at ImproGuise’s home base, The Galloway Theatre. This makes it much more accessible for most of our fans, (although there will be a few long faces because we are not on the other side).

Every single night of the week will present a different improv form; some tried and tested, and our audience favourites as well as one entirely new, very dangerous one, Naked Improv, where absolutely nothing is known beforehand.

I am not gonna lie. We have been performing improv in Cape Town for 23 years now, and the biggest challenge is getting, and keeping, an audience. It is tough, and we have to do a tightrope balance of reinventing ourselves and doing what our audiences love. If you have seen us before (or if you embarrassingly never have) please come and get a sample of this smorgasbord of improv delights.

Tickets are ridiculously cheap. R80, and R70 for students or for block bookings. They are available here on TIXSA and you can find out more if you call our own booking line 0729393351. Every night is different. Choose your best from the line-up in the poster, or take a risk.

 

 

Just one of those paradoxical observations

Hands_older-and-younger_SMALLA tiny hand holds tightly to mine as I lift my 2 year old niece up onto the low wall in front of our house. The minute she feels safe she starts wriggling out of my grip and I have to hold her little wrists, my big fingers encircling them completely, because, “We can’t sit on the wall and not hold on.”

This love we (Big Friendly and I) have for this person is unique and delicious, and agonising. She has come with her parents to visit from Jozi, where they live, and it is always too short seeing her, how ever long it is. It is the paradox of love that makes us the perfect uncle and aunt when they visit us, or we visit them, or we go on holiday together. Heaven, right here on family earth. And it is a paradox that prevents us from uprooting our lives and going to Jozi to live with her, where we would not be these people there. Our hearts remain torn, and she is growing too fast, and we spoil her rotten, because we don’t see her enough. We squeeze her too tightly, and kiss her too often, and say “careful, don’t run” because our own hearts are in our mouths.

I love watching her turn to look at me and laugh. I love her dancing and singing (she is very, very clever). I love her slang, picked up fluidly from her father, and her kindness from her mother. I love her memory, and vocabulary and her powerful manipulative ways. I love that she trusts us, and wants to please us, and can sleep, and wake up to us. I love that she spent the day saying “I love dogs”, because we do, and we say so. I love that she is so funny, and finds me so funny too. I love that sometimes she cannot bring herself to say sorry, or please, or thank you, and sometimes it springs from her lips with ease.

And it is a paradox, of a kind, that people say what wonderful parents we would have made, with a sad tone; too late now. And I have to remind them that I didn’t want to have children in the first place, even though I probably might have been a rather good mom. The one thing doesn’t necessarily go with the other. But when I see this person, and imagine her as mine, in some way, like us belonging to a tribe, she is my daughter, and I her mother, and all mothers, even the one I never had.

This is the final post in our series of tandem blog posts. I think they have been truly fabulous and special. Please read the next one, with the same title here.

Dave Luis: https://bloggsymalone.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/just-one-of-those-paradoxical-observations/comment-page-1/#comment-1760

 

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