Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Final thoughts on G’town

I am home. Tired, with a million and one things to do, but home. And I want to put my thoughts and feelings about the festival to bed.

The hardest thing for me to realise is that the National Arts Festival, that I have attended about 15 times over the last twenty five years, is no longer my festival. I don’t understand what people want to see, I can’t get my head around what works and doesn’t work and I don’t get how repeat productions do better and better a second and third time around at a festival that should be launching brand new fringe work. I don’t get the tons of community theatre groups that have no audiences. I don’t get the hype around certain shows that are totally ordinary and how other gems are completely overlooked. I don’t get it. I realised that it wasn’t my festival when on my last day I decided to stay away and spent the day chatting to my friend rather than go into town and look for stuff to see.

The festival continues for the rest of the week. Shows will be sold out and shows will struggle. But as I drove home I tried to imagine what I would need to do to put on a successful show at Grahamstown. And the answer is that I have absolutely no idea.

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Sunday in G’town

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Last word tonight

2 Comments

  1. Trevor du Buisson

    Interesting!

  2. Ugli Bob

    Ja…I think things have changed, but I guess they’ve been changing for some time now. I remember Matthew Ribnick talking about taking 3 years to grow a show, and this was some time ago, and Greig Coetzee’s career went supernova only after he’d brought White Men with weapons back again and again and again, tweaking it and fiddling with it, and using different directors. I think that’s valid. I think taking 3 years to do that is cool. Rather that than slap something together just for festival with no thought of it other than festival itself. Make a few bucks. And kinda steal audiences away from other shows that are committing to a process. That’s doing themselves, others, and the whole industry a disservice methinks.

    Festival needs to be a testing ground, a breaking in of work, an experiement…as much as it needs to welcome back work that was broken in and experimented with the year, or years, previously. We’ve seen this work very well over 3 years at Cape Town Edge, and the trick for something like Edge, a company, or dare I say anyone, is to get thebalance right. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t.

    What does an audience want? That’s helluva tricky. Though what we see again and again is the craving for the experience, the unforgettable, the event, a unique period of time, and in that way the magic of theatre lives on as it should. The rest is up to us to keep delivering magic.

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