Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Category: deeply personal (Page 1 of 99)

Art as Life

As an artist who plays in many different forms – performance, writing, directing, marketing, facilitating, teaching, I am always preoccupied with whether the work of the arts can make a real and powerful difference, and can bring about fundamental, systemic change.

Art, especially theatre, can be a potent way to deliver commentary on the human condition. The arts change, often with the use of emotion, how audiences think and feel about many things. It’s what happens to those thoughts and feelings afterwards that I am interested in.

This current version of the world is full of distracting fake everything. It is a rigmarole to find out who really said what, and when a thing happened if it, in fact, ever did. It is distraction of the highest order and it makes us feel bogged down, immobile, and also unable – dis-abled. In art we are unburdened by whether something is a fact; we are made to believe the ‘what if it were true?’ notion of things, and then we see the consequences of it, as if it were true.

We test things out in this artist space. We examine these ideas – and they can be anything, from how to rise above childhood trauma, to the apocalypse, to politics and their intersection into community. We rewrite the common view of history, we invent people to go through hell on our behalf, and we make radical choices and ask our audiences to make decisions based on what feels right. The theatre, the gallery, the darkened cinema is an emotional dissection space where politics, science, history, psychology, and the deeply personal are portrayed in a such a way to elicit a response.

This is powerful stuff. This stuff is the emotional juice of any revolution. It is the potential glue of genuine uprising. It is how Vaclav Havel rewrote the history of the Czech Republic. It is how Woodstock was the expression of a shift in the new world order and a total discarding of the old narrative.

Right now fake news on social media, manipulated by big business politics, is our greatest distraction because it keeps us locked into an outrage that feels both helpless and impotent, and then we suffer outrage fatigue. I believe ostrich head in the sand or even true despair and depression come next. We don’t see the point of voting, participating, or even telling people to pick up their litter. In this state they have us where they want us; we are consumers. We consume their information and their products.

This is where art – theatre, film, literature, stories can be the great shifter. Art can introduce a new possibility. It is the least we can do.

 

Lost Property in Jersey City

Lost Property found a home last night, at the Jersey City Theater Center and I am exhausted, happy, proud, excited and hopeful about this play. Olga Levina, Catalina Florescu, and your team you were so welcoming, encouraging and supportive. It was also a privilege to be in great company with the other writers.

This is the thank you post. Every single person who gave $ for me to get here, both through Thundafund and around it. Each $ and R made it possible, and it was so worth it. Can’t list you, but I know who you are. Love you all madly.

Jaci de Villiers. Thank you for living in NYC and for being my prize fighter, gang leader, battle planner, bodyguard, inspiration, activator and friend. I am only saying the fewest of the things you do here. You are flippen awesome and I love you.

Gys. Brilliant teacher, friend, accommodator, joke maker, theatre blood pumper. Thank you. Your involvement makes me feel like a real writer and performer.

Zane Gillion. You are the most amazing scene partner and a brilliant performer. You brought the words to life with passion and deep understanding and feeling. Thank you. What a great support, energy and electricity you brought. Forever indebted to you.

And then, my friends, old and new who came with arms wide, love pouring out and the best support to watch my work. Thank you.

 

A dive in to Lost Property

Yesterday afternoon we jumped on the PATH train and exited into a thunderstorm in Jersey City. I kept on thinking about my Thundafund that brought me here. We were drenched by the time we reached the JCTC for the first night of this tiny curated festival of work.

The unassuming door to the space leads off a parking lot so there is no hint to the loveliness that is inside: A gorgeous intimate theatre.

Last night’s piece was an 80 minute monologue called Unbossed and Unbowed, written and performed by Ingrid Griffith and it tells the story of Shirley Chisholm a black woman who became a local politician, a congress woman and a wannabe president of the US, in the 60’s and 70’s. This is herstory I know nothing about. And it is rather extraordinary that the US is still waiting to have a female president.

Tonight’s plays are two 10 minute ones and Lost Property. I am overwhelmingly excited to be part of this, and I can’t wait to get feedback on the work. What an opportunity.

Thank you Thundafunders. Look at me go!

A Steamy Sunday in NYC

Yesterday was hot. The cool aircon of the Path Subway to Jersey City was a delicious respite. Our rehearsal was intense. I have written a really hardcore play. Jaci and Zane are dream players. We always feel like we want to be doing the full production.

It is amazing how quickly we make rituals. On Saturday Jaci and I bought little power breakfast bowls. They were delicious. We had to do it again yesterday. Frozen vegan chocolate protein with granola, banana and peanut butter. Yum.

After rehearsals we traveled back to Manhattan and caught a 5pm show of  The Day I Became Black by Bill Posely in a gorgeous old theatre The SoHo Playhouse. It was a very special one man show; a personal, funny, well observed journey towards bi-racial identity and how it plays out in a world obsessed with binary labels, boxes and things. I was charmed and moved by him.

After the talkback we came outside to a dusk that had been cooled by a rain shower that we had missed. It was a beautiful world of wet smells, glistening light and a gentle breeze.

New York Diary by a dramatic vegan

Day 1

It wasn’t a great flight. No, the flight itself was fine and mostly uneventful, it was just that I was surrounded by some real weirdos. The guy behind me had a total meltdown and grabbed the air hostess to scream his frustration that the little TV screen wasn’t playing what he wanted it to. Then he kicked out this frustration on my seat for 15 hours. And he would not stop farting. It was pretty toxic. People moved out of the way. The very middle-aged woman across the aisle from me, in a cheeky velveteen dungaree onesie, decided to stand on her chair to sort out the stuff in the overhead locker and then projectile fell through the air, landing on her back next to me. My reflexes were good, I didn’t pack up laughing (like I usually do when someone falls), and I helped her to her feet. She spent the rest of the flight either glaring at me or ignoring me. I think she blamed me. When we were getting ready to disembark, she took a deliberately long time, and farter behind me got irritated, launching me into her to get us moving.

But, we arrived at JFK fresh and early in the morning, waited forever for our baggage which got stuck on an erratic conveyor belt, and then hit the traffic into Manhattan.

After a quick shower I walked to Central Park – really close to where I am so lucky to be staying. I have a best friend who lives in NYC. In the Upper East Side. A dream really.

And then in the evening, after an afternoon rain that left the city glistening, we went to Candle 79, a well-established, double story, incredible vegan restaurant for a mind-blowingly delicious diner. What a taste sensation.

A meandering walk through the park and the most vivid and exquisite sunset brought the jet lag to my face and body and I collapsed in a heap at 9.21pm local time, which was like 4am back home.

How exciting that I am here for my own work. We rehearse this weekend at the theatre in Jersey City. Life is good.

Thoughts on asking for Money

It took everything I had to ask for money to help me get to Jersey City for the reading of Lost Property. I am still trying to unpack why crowd funding made me feel a certain shame. As if I needed charity.

But the desire to go there and represent my work; read it myself, propelled me out of shame and into a shy proudness. And, of course, the process exceeded my expectations. Family, close friends, and even acquaintances helped in big and small amounts and I managed to reach my dream target (which will more than pay for my ticket and production costs in the US). I also managed to do this in a record 4 days. I can’t believe it, and I am overflowing with gratitude and amazement.

So, what I am taking away with me today, and taking with me when I go, and what I will bring back, is that there are people who believe in me. They believe in my work, words, and theatre making. This feeling I am now allowing to permeate into everything I do, and it is no mystery that the flow gates are opening.

I am working more, and dreaming more and making more. I am manifesting and visualising and excited and energised. Watch this space.

Or watch me. The Deep Red Sea comes to the Alexander Bar on 20 and 21 May, just before I leave on the 22nd.

PS. A weird, convoluted, heartfelt bow to Pieter Howes. In the strangest, and most uncomfortable of ways we saw each other. I am sorry the world wasn’t a good place for you to be in.

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