Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Let’s be honest

Dear Nikki Froneman, it was so wonderful to have a frank, exciting, challenging, inspiring theatre chat with you last night. It made me feel brave, and it inspired me to continue to be loud and honest about an industry that, quite frankly, isn’t.

I loved what you said about how people live, talk, read, debate, engage with and participate in theatre in Argentina, and I am jealous that we don’t. I am frustrated every day by the smallness, pettiness and bullshit of the South African theatre industry and community in general, and Cape Town in particular. I am always angry at how it’s so easy to wrong and offend people, how ungenerous people are around both giving and receiving criticism, and how the tininess of the industry pool makes us in or out of a nasty little boys’ club.

I hate the fact that people lie to each other about their work and then bitch behind their backs. I hate that even I am often silenced by the certainty that it will be seen as me rather than what I say. I hate the feeling that people are not honest and brave and challenging with me, and that they rather bitch behind my back. I am frustrated that we are not united in the common goal of building beautiful, meaningful, challenging theatre AND audiences. I am angry that we are not allowed to fail, and be held by each other when we do. I am enraged that we continue, in our timidity, to not have the debate, the honest discussion, the ‘here’s what I think’ bold statement.

It terrifies me that people have all pleaded with me to continue writing about theatre and that I should do it anonymously. As if I would be saved from being associated with my opinion. We are playing a horrible, dishonest, full of blame, trumped-up success, desperate and spiteful game here. And it makes me sick and sad.

So Nikki, when I want to say these things I will just have to find you.


Jervis Pennington


Linus the Magnificent and Frieda the Supermodel


  1. Jenni

    While it saddens me that you made the decision you made, I respect you and the result. But I always thought that opinions were personal – and that that was the point. It’s the same as talk radio. I love the diversity of opinions but by no means agree with them all. Yet, after being exposed to them, I am able to formulate or moderate my own feelings.
    Strength to your spirit and your pen. Only good will emerge – and stronger.

  2. megan

    Thank you Jenni. The thing is, you will always go and see for yourself. And you are a champion of the theatre, and who we make it for. You are our audience. We need only remember you when we do anything.

  3. It seems to me that you could comfortably substitute the word ‘theatre’ in your post with ‘music’, ‘TV’, ‘film’ or ‘art’ in South Africa and many of your points would still hold. As a ntion we appear to be frail of ego, anxious for affirmation (no matter how insincere) and addicted to quick fix short cuts. Oh if only we could change these things and right many ills along the way! After all, is not the artist the mirror of society?

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