Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Category: writing (Page 1 of 17)

Word

Last night

Still skin sensitive (I have thin white skin)

After reading an article from Americaland or its cleaner cousin Canada

Where black theatre makers asked that white reviewers

refrain from reviewing their work – they don’t know what we are talking about –

I asked permission to write a review.

This was new.

Who the fuck am I, right? I had never thought about it before.

Oh the sneaky insidiousness of white privilege.

 

I sat in the close heat of the unairconditioned, semidecolonised, renamed and reframed

theatre.

I watched purity and purpose and word and movement

On stage, like a duet dance.

In the audience

We watched, heard, laughed, shivered and shook.

Women and GBV and #menaretrash and our worlds at war and words at work.

 

We rose and applauded. Such good, powerful, clever stuff.

And then a Q&A crept into the room

As I was getting ready to make my exit.

There were 7 white women in the room last night. Including me. I say it to make it clear.

And with the ease of a tide coming in, as we know it must, and does,

White women spoke. First, and loud, and freely.

Sitting at the back I got shy, and then frustrated

By the size of the demographic compared to the space it was comfortable to take up.

By the unconscious, unselfconscious, unilateral hierarchy of colour and gender

And come on. Racism.

Followed by.

There were no white men in the room last night. But, next on the list,

White women. Then black men. It was black men who spoke next.

And the black women on stage, at the Q&A, were the ones who were

Asked, interrogated, questioned, like the representatives of the whole wide west and east.

 

That’s quite a big burden.

To carry.

Out of the theatre

And into the world.

Reviewing my situation

Cue Fagan earworm for the rest of the day.

A particularly complicated space I have managed to carve out for myself is that of reviewer in the field in which I try to have a career (word used because there isn’t a proper one to describe the all over dabbleness of what it is I actually do). It is between a huge rock of irony and a hard place of communal despair (universal and timeless when it comes to theatre that isn’t in New York City and On Broadway) that I put myself. Because I write about other people’s theatre work to get people into the theatre. And I am honest (even though it comes at a terrible price) because I want people to be able to trust me, and get to know me by my likes and dislikes.

But it is a dance, and I suck at the choreography of innuendo, and politic, and getting comps, and being part of the system, and being outside of the system, and having to rely on the same when I put on my own work, and then seeing something that is brilliant that isn’t getting audiences, and then feeling like I can’t get my own work into the spaces because I am more valuable as an external voice, and then seeing something terrible and having my heart fill my mouth and make me wordless, and then straying from the pack and doing something different that nobody sees, and appreciating the effort and hating the result of something, or seeing through the hype, or believing my own hype, and around the mulberry bush I go, mostly at 430am in the morning.

So, I am going to say it here, and test it out on myself. It’s good to be writing from meganshead again.

Pumpkin Finds Her Queen

Off we pootled yesterday evening into the traffic of town to Youngblood in Bree St for the launch of one of my favourite actors in CT, Bianca Flanders’, children’s book, Pumpkin Finds Her Queen. And what a lovely, magical, affirming and divine thing it was.

Pumpkin Finds Her Queen is all about learning to love your unique, and especially curly haired self. And there was so much beautiful, curly, whirly, swirly, bouncy, frizzy, crazy, big and bushy hair in one room last night.

It was a beautiful party, to introduce this little piece of deliciousness into the world. A little, gentle rhyming story, with crazy and fantastic illustrations by Zinelda McDonald and every little person will love and cherish the gorgeous Pumpkin and her curly crown.

PS. Dean Balie’s music accompaniment to the live reading was an extra bonus treat.

Here’s me looking like a psycho stalker fan and the fabulous author.

 

I feel them like nagging pilot fish…

these new thoughts of nameless frustration. This is a quote from The Deep Red Sea. I love it, even if I say so myself (as my granny Janie would say).

I am surrounded by nagging pilot fish at the moment. They are the prickle of ideas that have not solidified into things yet.

They are social media and the irritating little nibbles they take out of my brain and time that I just can’t seem to shake.

They are the edgy rasp of global politics that are part nauseating horror and part nauseating almost excitement. Is the world really changing? Everywhere is on fire and people are protesting, from Lebanon to Hong Kong to Chile. People have had enough. A tide could be, may be turning as the terrifying, terrified last dictators stamp their feet and dig their heels deeper. Are people booing at the clown they made or are they distracted as Pennywise takes hold? Or are these more nagging pilot fish? Do most people in the world want to stay as they are because change is even more terrifying than the hell that is known?

I watch things on Netflix with titles like The End of the F***ing World. Imagine that. I watch same sex sex on TV while our own politician tells us to mind our own business when homosexuality is criminalised and given a death sentence by our neighbours. Twitter hate explodes, reverses, twists in on itself, hates the hater. Words bite, burn and heal.

White people deny concepts rather than things and are hurt by the ideas of White Fragility and White Tears, more than the real lived experience of black people, who must be the other every day in a country where they are not the other.

Slaves are bought and sold. Animals are food. Vegans and climate change activists are lampooned. Billionaires are crying about having to pay tax. There is a lobby, a lobby ffs, that has successfully sold the false notion that Pro-Palestine means anti-Semitism.

In the meantime a man is 3D printing limbs for people without limbs. A schoolgirl stands against grown men in the world and makes her voice heard. Chickens run to get hugs from boys. And tiny stories of love, friendship, defiance and bonding float to the surface like blown kisses.

In Her Shoes

I have just submitted my novel, my second attempt at writing a long thing, to a publisher.

This is the most intense combination of complicated feeling, even though it is not dissimilar to performing a one woman show.

Chapter 1 – There is a feeling when you decide to submit it, and then at least twenty push me pull you feelings arrive to make you question whether you are ready, whether the publishing house is the right one (they are the only ones actively asking for submissions at this time), whether you are delusional and have no talent, whether they have a newbie on the submissions desk, whether the time is right, whether you are too old, whether you are too funny/not funny, whether your work is derivative and if it is, who it derives from.

Chapter 2 – The overwhelm, when you have to make sure you have all the supporting documents they need, and you double check the manuscript and you count the chapters and see a mistake, and get caught up in some internal grammar dispute with yourself, and you suddenly question a character’s name, and you get self conscious that the work isn’t long enough, or that it isn’t original enough, and then you re-read a paragraph and you really like it, but the one next to it seems weak in comparison, and you want to go to an arbitrary page and check for consistency but you are too scared to leave where you are and forget what number you changed the mistake to.

Chapter 3 – You are reading a book, a brilliant book, about a writer in his 50s (like you) and his angst, and self doubt, and disbelief that he was any good, and his bleary neediness, and every brilliantly selected word feels like it is written for you, about you, and reminds you of what you are trying to do, only so much better. (The book is Less by Andrew Sean Greer) , and you watch stuff on TV, and it has your themes in it, from your one woman show you just did, and everything feels like it has been done before, only better.

Chapter 4 – The talking to. The pep talk. You give yourself the lecture, the mantra, the vision manifest, and the whole time you are remembering the criticism of the last thing you did – not all the brilliant things that were said, only the bad, and you get the paralysis.

Chapter 5 – You throw caution to the wind, and, like drunk WhatsApp, you press send before you can change your mind, and then you are deeply, irrationally embarrassed.

Chapter 6 – Five minutes later you are already in anxious waiting mode, even though they completely and repeatedly admitted that they would take at LEAST two months to get back to you.

Chapter 7 – in continuum. You write about your feelings, and publicly declare them on your blog, on the internet.

The Deep Red Sea, part 14 – making it to shore

Last night was the final performance of our 5 night run of The Deep Red Sea at the Alexander Bar. I loved getting the piece onto stage, and am absolutely convinced it has a life beyond, and now I need to start thinking about what that looks like.

A 5 show run is literally a chance to test the water. And because the Alexander Bar space is in flux, it wasn’t the smoothest time for the show technically, so after those five performances it feels like we are now ready for a full run.

Tandi Buchan, my most generous, innovative and clever director could feel it too. A longer rehearsal process would have given us a chance to fine tune the piece that is already so fiercely determined by the poetry of the words.

But, Jane Rademeyer definitely raised the bar with her original compositions for the soundscape. She also came to the rescue and operated sound for the show, in a space that needed more hands on deck.

I was touched by how touched people were by the show, particularly the writing, and it has given me licence to think about how to take it further. Festivals? Overseas? All of this needs to be thought about. And I am excited.

I would love this post to be an interactive space to talk about the show, if you saw it. What did you think? What would you like to see it become?

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