Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

full disclosure

I have just received this. Seeing that the original letter was posted here on my blog and also emailed to many in the industry, I think it is fair that this too appears here. Again, I have many thoughts and feelings, but (unlike my reviews) I will show the utmost restraint and say nothing. Here is the whole thing.

Dear Megan,

Little did we realize when we sent you our rather angry and harsh email – that it would open such a can of worms and unleash such hate speak from people.

We know that we are all passionate about theatre and we are sorry that the email has caused such division in the community. We have received our fare share of emails and some of them have been unspeakably harsh in support of the stance we took.

As stated in our email, this was not intended to start the vendetta that it is fast becoming and we feel the situation is becoming quite unhealthy, if not disturbing and we don’t want to be a part of it.

We hereby immediately retract any suggestion of your banning from the NewSpace.

Our email was triggered not by your right to publish the blog or the right to criticise shows produced in this town, but by what we perceive to be the personal nature of some of the attacks you have made on your blog.

We all have to put up with devastatingly candid and ruthless reviews from critics [you yourself expressed how hurt you felt about your recent Jhb review]

But, we’d like to understand why [and here we will highlight only 3 examples and please they are from memory]

  1. Why you can’t just state your opinion on Charley Keegan’s performance as Iago and state your reasons for disliking it – why do you have to add the comparison of him to Tourrett’s sufferer.
  2. Why can’t you just deliver your harsh criticism on Rolanda Marais about her Juliet and what you [as a fellow actor and director] felt was wrong with her performance – why go and call her a Gawky, Jo’burg Cherrie with zero sex appeal and dressed like a dead bird.
  3. Why not say you disliked Fred’s direction of Maynardville and for what reasons you felt that way – why resort to accusing Fred of stooping so low as to bribe other brown nosed critics who gave R & J favourable reviews.

Constructive and harsh criticism and comments [bad diction, slow pace, not enough emotion, too much emotion, one dimensional characterisation, lacks ‘this’ or ‘that’] can be taken note of by an actor and their director and, as it is still at the beginning of the run, give them time to pool all the comments and do something about the performance over the run.

But what does one do, as director, with personal statements like yours? They serve no purpose and are destructive and hurtful to the performers and undermines their confidence on a personal level.

But as we have said – apologies for unleashing this monster, you are welcome at the NewSpace and please let’s set up a private dialogue and resolve our differences.

Sincerely Fred and Marcel

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18 Comments

  1. Ray

    Hm. A case of too little, too late?

    WTF?!!? How can you call a private dialogue to resolve differences when (a) there weren’t any – it was all on the part of Abrahamse and Meyer, Megan was fine…yes? (2) Private? Private?!?!? If it were private why not do it private in the first place? Why blog it?

    I still smell a rat, but if it’s true that Megan knew nothing of it, then wow – great marketing A+M! Remind me to come buy a R200 ticket at your theatre.

    Right. Megan, a thousand apologies for doubting the situation. It smelt to high heaven, but on gathering more evidence and reading around blogs, it’s a massive hurtful thing to throw at you. I’m with BF here – sue the bastards. No, really.

    And here, Sceptical, I’m with you – “apologies for unleashing this monster”? It’s not cool. It doesn’t cut the mustard as an apology. Fuck off. I think a full, public, apology in full would start coming closer to the fact…if only it wasn’t such great publicity for them.

    Saint, they were never going to come out on the blog, as it were. They said this from word go. They never wanted to start a communication, which, apart from the awful claims against Megan, is probably the worst thing about it all. It should be talked about. Surely one of the coolest things about Meganshead is that she’s not thumbing her nose at the artists, but thumbing her nose at the critics.

    So. You all should play a stronger, more inclusive role. The point is not that there’s a Meganshead, spouting off about theatre, and honestly what she feels, but that there’s a paucity of concerned critics who give a flying one about what artists do. It’s not that there’s a Meganshead, but there should be a CamillasHead, a BrandonsHead, a LungilesHead etc etc. Yes, I suck. I’m working at a RaysHead. We all should.

    So now, dear commenters…A+M say they’ve received emails…so what’s their address? Post that – then let’s all send more stuff to them. They need to read it, need to take stock of exactly what they’ve done. Let’s bomb Facebroek (go to (a) Dalliances group, or (b) NewSpace/Peoples Space group)…post articles. Cause a stink. Have an opinion. A+M ain’t reading this blog no more.

    PS – anyone seen latest bookings for Dalliances? Assassins?

  2. Tante B

    TOO LITTLE TOO LATE! YOU’VE CAUSED A LOT OF UNDERSERVED GRIEF AND EMBARRASSMENT FOR MEGAN – BY THE WAY, HAVE YOU HAD YOUR READING GLASSES CHECKED OUT RECENTLY ? THEY ARE AWFULLY DISTORTED . AND SUCH SENSITIVITY AND VENOM! UNBELIEVABLE.

  3. Sceptical

    I’m sorry…what?!?!?!?! You have got to be shitting me?! I am bowled over; blown away; gone fishing. I still cannot believe that this is really the stance of the NewSpace. It is so ridiculous that I would never have believed it. If it wasn’t quite simply the worst publicity that the NewSpace could ask for, I think I would applaud the genius of a mad marketing person. But alas. Please get out of my way as I rush out to pay R200 for a ticket to the NewsSpace…

    So now there has been an apology. But has there really? Let’s take it from the top, shall we, and have a look at this “apology”:

    Little did we realize when we sent you our rather angry and harsh email – that it would open such a can of worms and unleash such hate speak from people. “OH. WHOOPS! HE HE HE…”

    We know that we are all passionate about theatre and we are sorry that the email has caused such division in the community. THIS IS NOT AN APOLOGY FOR THE EMAIL BUT AN APOLOGY FOR THE EFFECT OF THE EMAIL OVER WHICH THEY HAD NO CONTROL. We have received our fare share of emails and some of them have been unspeakably harsh in support of the stance we took. AND THIS SUGGESTS RATHER PETULANTLY THAT THERE WERE OTHER PEOPLE WHO FELT THE SAME AS THE NEWSPACE DID, SO THEY COULDN’T BE THAT WRONG. RIGHT? RIGHT??

    …STILL HUNTING THAT APOLOGY…

    As stated in our email, this was not intended to start the vendetta that it is fast becoming and we feel the situation is becoming quite unhealthy, if not disturbing and we don’t want to be a part of it. OH, HOW VERY GOOD OF YOU. HEAVEN FORBID YOU SHOULD BE A PART OF THIS RETCHED AFFAIR! LORD NO! YOU ONLY STARTED THE DAMN THING!!!!!

    We hereby immediately retract any suggestion UM…DIDN’T YOU OUTRIGHT SAY THAT SHE WAS BANNED??? SUGGESTION??? C’MON, GUYS. YOU’RE KILLING ME!! of your banning from the NewSpace.

    Our email was triggered not by your right to publish the blog or the right to criticise shows produced in this town, but by what we perceive to be the personal nature of some of the attacks you have made on your blog. SO THEN, HOW’S ABOUT YOU CALL HER ASIDE AND SAY, “OI, LET’S CHAT” INSTEAD OF BANNING HER? JUST A THOUGHT…

    We all have to put up with devastatingly candid and ruthless reviews from critics [you yourself expressed how hurt you felt about your recent Jhb review]

    But, we’d like to understand why [and here we will highlight only 3 examples and please they are from memory] THE FOLLOWING THREE COMMENTS JUST FLOOR ME. I CAN’T ACTUALLY BELIEVE THEM. AND THEY STILL WANT TO CLAIM THAT THEIR ATTACK WAS NOT PERSONAL??

    1. Why you can’t just state your opinion on Charley Keegan’s performance as Iago and state your reasons for disliking it – why do you have to add the comparison of him to Tourrett’s sufferer.
    2. Why can’t you just deliver your harsh criticism on Rolanda Marais about her Juliet and what you [as a fellow actor and director] felt was wrong with her performance – why go and call her a Gawky, Jo’burg Cherrie with zero sex appeal and dressed like a dead bird.
    3. Why not say you disliked Fred’s direction of Maynardville and for what reasons you felt that way – why resort to accusing Fred of stooping so low as to bribe other brown nosed critics who gave R & J favourable reviews.

    Constructive and harsh criticism and comments [bad diction, slow pace, not enough emotion, too much emotion, one dimensional characterisation, lacks ‘this’ or ‘that’] can be taken note of by an actor and their director and, as it is still at the beginning of the run, give them time to pool all the comments and do something about the performance over the run. BECAUSE THE NATURE OF A CRITIC IS TO ASSIST IN THE DIRECTION AND PERFORMANCE OF A PIECE BY OFFERING NOTES?? I THOUGHT REVIEWS WERE SIMPLY TO OFFER ONE PERSON’S OPINION OF ONE PERFORMANCE ON A ONE NIGHT. GO FIGURE…

    But what does one do, as director, with personal statements like yours? I COULD MAKE SOME SUGGESTIONS… They serve no purpose OH? and are destructive and hurtful to the performers DIDUMS and undermines their confidence on a personal level. UNLIKE WILHELM’S STATEMENTS??

    But as we have said – apologies for unleashing this monster AGAIN – AN APOLOGY FOR THE RESPONSE TO THE EMAIL NOT FOR WRITING/MAKING PUBLIC THE EMAIL you are welcome at the NewSpace SUPER and please let’s set up a private dialogue and resolve our differences. HERE, RAY WAS SPOT ON. PERHAPS THE TWO OF YOU SHOULD HAVE A MEETING WITH YOURSELVES AND ADDRESS THE ISSUES YOU HAVE WITH MEGAN.

    Sincerely OF COURSE
    Fred and Marcel

    SCEPTICAL I REMAIN, HOPING AGAINST HOPE THAT THE DIRECTORS OF THE NEWSPACE ARE STILL SIMPLY HAVING US ALL ON. IT WOULD BE THE LEAST FUNNY JOKE I’VE EVER HEARD BUT A DAMN SIDE BETTER THAN THEIR ACTUALLY BEING SERIOUS.

    WHILE THE JURY’S OUT, SORRY MEGAN. THE LETTER WAS JUST TOO INSANE TO BELIEVE.

  4. jo

    In our abuse counsel sessions we always stress that while an apology is required it doesn’t simply make things right. Now boys, having shown us who you really are, I am wondering what (or who) prompted this grovelling retraction? Wasn’t wise advise from The Principals by any chance? “More of this and we’ll pull your plugs out, boys” . Commercial considerations, perhaps?

  5. The Saint

    So now we know what this is really all about – nothing to do with “DALLIANCES” and the review but hoped for retribution for long held grudges for past perceived injuries in the form of crits by Megan which our boys thought unfair to them and those they love. Bad news Guys – it backfired and now you put out a banning retraction with no hint of a proper apology – Sceptical’s analysis above is spot on regarding the so-called apology. Sorry not good enough. Try this for size – “Dear Megan, we apologise unconditionally for writing to you as we did in our email dated ???; we withdraw the allegations against you and criticisms of you contained therein and revoke your banning from the NewSpace Complex”.
    After that you can remove your feet from your mouths.

  6. Short story writer/genius Harlan Ellison said that the two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity. One finds very little of the first element in both of Abrahamse & Meyer’s letters – and oodles of the second. The first letter was a petulant rant – based on some past peeves – and the second letter is an illuminating analysis of the reasons for sending the first letter… no hydrogen there, for sure.

    Other comments on this blog covered the salient points of this outrage: the grudge banning, homophobia accusations, the call for a ‘private dialog’ after having spammed all and sundry with vitriolic shit, practically ‘flaming’ Megan online and – last but not least – the post mortem sincere apologies. Bloggers can back-read to witness the horrified reactions to Abrahamse & Meyer’s letters – no need for me to repeat them here.

    I want to say the following:

    I can understand that people may feel outraged and aggrieved by what they perceive as an unfair (malicious even) review of their show, I have no problem with Abrahamse & Meyer being ticked-off with Megan’s review big time and wishing to let her have it right there and then. I felt the same sense of outrage reading the inane review someone gave Megan and Nicole’s lovely show in Joburg. But this is where the pen must drop, the keyboard silenced and the sock shoved deeply in the mouth, lest we all become baseball holding digital roadragers.

    Other wise people had this to say this about stupidity:

    “Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.” Oscar Wilde

    “It’s too bad that stupidity isn’t painful.” Anton LaVey

    “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” Albert Einstein

    “The only way to comprehend what mathematicians mean by Infinity is to contemplate the extent of human stupidity.” Voltaire

    “Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!” George Carlin

  7. Ooops – a quicky: digital roadragers hold digital baseball bats, usually.

  8. Zoe

    Rudy and Sceptical have said everything I could possibly think of. Just commenting for support, and to concur that this so-called apology is tantamount to a five year old’s “Sorry I threw paint in your hair, but I don’t like you.” I’m am shocked, angry and amazed that adults act in this fashion. And just to answer Ray’s question: I’m not sure about Assassins, but Matthew told me yesterday that tickets for Dalliances are selling like cakes that are very hot.

  9. Charlie Keegan

    Megan oh Megan

    Without the intention of sounding too vainglorious, I seem to be a part of this debacle and while I have refrained from adding my 2 cents in the past (who am I to throw my weight around) I feel I need to tell you how I personally feel about this. I have thoroughly enjoyed this blog, I have the utmost respect for you and what you do. So you had a pretty harsh opinion about my performance, hells bells lady, you damn well compared me to someone with Tourettes Syndrome. I felt sorry for myself for a minute or two, got over it and had a bath. I still maintain that you have a highly adept eye for theatre and I still value your words. Criticism, in whatever form it comes, comes with the territory. You win some, you lose some, you love ’em, you hate ’em.

    So maintain your seemingly jarring, tempestuous style of reviewing. I like it.

    Tourette boy

  10. megan

    My kind of guy!

  11. MaryA

    This is absolutely hilarious. What a shame that such a fantastic idea as a new and wonderful theatre could have destroyed their reputation before they’ve even opened. I think I may remove myself from the CT theatre industry, I’m completely embarrassed about all of this and have lost respect for people that I once considered icons and role models. Oh how pathetic this all is and the level to which it has escalated. I’d be $(*&$#^ embarrassed if I was Fred. His letter has far worsened his good reputation than a bad review ever could. EIsh.

  12. Sixface

    Megan

    This latest news I was directed to all the way here in New York, City of Theatres, and I must say that the compelling reading, knowing all the characters, has given me a healthy, hearty and spleen-stretching guffaw that only the best humour, wrapped in pain, with a side order of I-told-you-so can dish out. By ‘I told you so’ I refer to a strong recommendation to the developers of the People’s Space Theatre (NewSpace sounds like another chain to rival PrimiPiatti) – Indigo Properties. The recommendation was that they were in danger of choosing the wrong person for the job which could lead their praiseworthy intentions to embarrassment – fancy that! Moreover the original concept of the People’s Space had so much to do with creating access rather than denying it, that my earlier point is consolidated by the NewSpace’s inclination to ban and disavow.

    I did so much enjoy the ‘can of worms’ that has been liberated from our somewhat repressed theatre society. I say the answer lies in better work and nobler hopes for the industry, rather than clever comebacks, or piggybacks, brokebacks of any sort, and the lack of foresight that has us producing, in the main, that which is seen to bring in the bacon (for the short term!!)

    Laughing with tears

  13. five finger death punch

    It is indeed quite a scream to witness the cottage industry village stoning from New York. As a soundtrack, nothing short of Charlie Keegan with an organ on his back would suffice for this little nail-biter. A sampled and looped Adrian Galley doing the opening “two households” lines of Romeo and Julio, could be layed down over the organ. While for openers in the physical action department, we could have the NEWSPACE sidekick enter rapidly, dressed like a stuntman, as usual, on a 70’s motorcycle, crashing into a pane of glass, on which is written in bold Roy Seargant “Acceptable theatre Jargon” and exiting, unexplained. Un-reviewed. And Un-remembered.

    Perhaps the NEWSPACE should, before it is too late, be converted into a felafel joint and gambling den. The cynical grandstanding behind the maestro’s intentions for this
    financially viable theme-playground are already showing through the sequined underwear. Arrogance and short term accounting myopia are going to sink this baby fast. Theatre in Cape town has too much dead wood.

    There we’re many other alternatives to this shabby opening gambit…

    slap harder megan

    faster pussycat, kill , kill

  14. Oh, boy, I simply love five finger death punch’s falafel joint idea – how about calling it The New Spice?!

  15. five finger death punch

    The NewSpace was created by accountants with property development testosterone and a huge bond to service. The kind that are turning the city into Orange County. Or the Waterfront. It is another eye glazed tongue wagging kill before the world cup reflex every good villager dreams of capitalizing on. Someone doing the development numbers realized there used to be a theatre there, hey quite a famous theatre, and the theatre nostalgia dollar kicked in. They know nothing about theatre and couldn’t care
    who or what graced the stage, as long as “someone who knew what they where doing”put bums on the newly designed seating arrangements optimized for numbers. Look at the torpid utterly corrupt history of Maynardville’s pitching process. We are heading for more of the same. The present artistic-financial arrangement is perfectly suited. Snug and safe in our own inferiority. Otherwise Rob Van Vuuren’s energy would have opened the doors for starters.

  16. Tara Louise

    I’ve been following the issue at hand for the last few days, and I’m very happy to see the near end of it.

    Of course not everything will be resolved immediately and different people have had their opinions changed about other people and things, depending on their stance, but I’m happy to see the end of it. There are too many politics, too much in-fighting, too much bitchiness, too many bad things being said about everyone in this industry behind everyone else’s back all of the time! It’s a pity that things like this happen, because the industry would be a far happier place if people would appreciate other peoples’ comments – you don’t even have to agree – and move on with making work that inspires, entertains, educates, and moves people. Is that surely not what it is all about?

    Being good friends of the likes of Charlie, Stephen, and Albert – who have all received reviews of varying contention here – I have of course been mad, not agreed, and wanted to boycott this blog, but as my good friend has said, I took a moment and had a bath and got over it.

    As someone who is about to graduate into this wonderful theatre world, I hope that things like this become few and far between.

    Possibly this is the naive ramblings of a soon-to-be professional, but a little optimism never hurt anyone.

    As for your blog Megan, I’m with Tourette boy.

  17. megan

    Welcome sister. I too am with Tourette boy. My NBF.

  18. Tara Louise

    Wondrous! We’ll make a club. There are T-shirts.

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