Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: June 2016

Why I am happy (even though the world is totally upside down)

IMG_5891On Monday of this last week we started rehearsing Niqabi Ninja. It is a brand new work, written by Egyptian playwright Sara Shaarawi. I met her last year at the WPIC and I worked on an excerpt. I immediately put it on my to do list, and I revisited it after the Reference List protests at the University currently known as Rhodes. Niqabi Ninja is an extraordinary two-hander that investigates sexual harassment in a totally engaging, honest, contemporary, timeless way. Although it is set in Cairo, it could so easily be Cape Town, or Joburg, or Rio, or anywhere where there are women, and men who harass them.

In a gift from the theatre gods, two of Cape Town’s finest young actors signed up to perform this show. I have completely fallen in love with Bianca Flanders and Loren Loubser, who remind me what an amazing training UCT drama school is. These women are exciting, committed, passionate, rigorous, imaginative, generous, questioning, brave and so powerful. I cannot wait for them to be seen.

We have three showcase performances on the 17, 18, 19 July at the Alexander Bar. Come and see the work that makes me so happy.

Uber, and kindness as a way of operating

Last night I did a pretty idiotic but all too common thing. I was in a rush to meet my friend (but I hadn’t concentrated properly and ended up going to a completely different opening night to her, that’s how bad it was), and I jumped out of the Uber leaving my house and car keys on the passenger seat. I sat happily through the long show and then reached into my pockets afterwards and discovered that my keys were not on me. Uber makes it easy to contact the driver, call him and arrange the hook up to get your lost property back, and, after getting home and having Big Friendly on hand to open up, I waited for Colin to come to my front door with my keys. And, of course, he absolutely did.

This way of operating is what sets Uber apart. It is what I have grown to love about Uber, and most of its drivers. There is kindness there, and care, and honesty and proper service. I feel safe using an Uber. I feel special. It is why I would always use an Uber instead of metered taxis. My friends and I have lost phones and wallets and jackets and handbags in metered taxis, and I don’t remember anyone ever getting anything back. Most of the Uber drivers I have met seem to have my best interests at heart. They are kind.

Kindness seems to be less and less available these days, so when it is, the benefits are striking. Stories of kindness reach hero status, because they are rarer and rarer. A helping hand during a catastrophe, an instinct to reach out and offer support, or just an opportunity to do a moment of goodness and help someone in a fix should be the order of the day. It should be what we do, as a matter of course. And it is a way of doing things that we can learn from Uber drivers.

Confession Sessions

I want to introduce you all to some new people in my life. They are four young, fresh and talented people and I am so excited that I am getting to know them now, at this important stage of their young careers. Rendani Mufamadi, Motheo Madisa, Melanie Aiff and Trent Rowe are their names. All four of them are Honours students in Live Performance at AFDA and I have been working with them on their workshopped production that they will take to the NAF this year (sadly the student festival is no more).

We started with nothing. I asked them what they would like to do on stage and each one of them gave me a different goal and desire. So we started to play, and play, and play. We improvised, we told each other stories, we made up stories, we shared interesting moments from our complicated lives, we played out moments in each other’s stories and we laughed, hard and often.

And slowly, not always easily, but over time, our play emerged. There is so much that is cutting edge about this production that we have all been struggling to describe it. It is called Confession Sessions, a name we were hurried into choosing because the NAF forms needed to be filled out. Luckily the name is still valid (even if the student festival itself isn’t, sadly).

Our play is about 3 superheroes and a side kick (currently out of work), and it revolves around who they are and what they do. It is set in a parallel, dystopian South Africa. These guys have big problems; like we all do. In a series of monologues and scenes, we meet them, discover their super powers, the people they have helped, some of their parents, and we attend the funeral of a fallen superhero. This gives each performer a chance to play their main character and a bunch of subsidiary characters, to much delight.

Very influenced by the style and genre of mockumentary films, we decided to see if we could translate this form into a stage performance. What this has ended up being is a series of snapshot scenes and monologues that don’t tell a linear story, but, rather, introduce us to the characters and the world they inhabit.

The result is this strange, charming, moving and hilarious piece of completely original theatre. It has been difficult to trust it all the time, because it is so new and different. But I am so proud of it. We open in exactly two weeks, as part of AFDA’s Experimental Fest. We have shows on Thursday 16 June at 2100, Saturday 18 June at 1700, and a matinee on Sunday 19 June at 1300.

Please come. I would love this work to be seen.

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