Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Apollo Ntshoko

MedEia MedEia

A show I saw twice. A show I loved. Seeing it again was like listening to that album that you heard only once but loved, again. It was like watching a story you know well, and the inevitable ending, and seeing it play out, and remembering while watching.

Brett Bailey’s MedEia is beautiful, spectacle, style, sound and word. That’s the part I love the most. It is word music, word story, word image. I will write this how I saw the show. You know the story. I will tell you why I loved it.

I loved it because it was like watching/listening to Laurie Anderson tell/speak and I love Laurie Anderson. I loved it because it starts with flames and a cover of David Bowie’s Wild Is The Wind. My best David Bowie song. It has a sad sad song later on, when things go pear-shaped and people start hurting and dying, a song I know and don’t know the name of that I recognise from my own sadness even though I don’t understand the words, but it is the right song for me, and I love that song and its sadness. I loved those three black goddesses Indalo Stofile, Mbali Kgosidintsi and Namhla Chuka, in white who speak, and move, and send out woman emotion as the chorus, bound by beat, bound by word, bound because they are the helpless chorus, but powerful, powerful. I loved Faniswa Yisa as Medea, her voice, her crazy, simple, emotional everything. I loved Jason by James MacGregor who is the snake in the garden of Eden. I loved Apollo Ntshoko because his dancing made me ache. I loved Frank Paco who drums the soundtrack and heartbeat and brain freeze of the story and keeps it from going anywhere except the end. Mostly I loved this text, this  Oscar van Woensel collection of words in this way to tell this story, like this.

For sure this production is not for everybody. It is for the opposite of everybody. It is bold choices. It is style instead of outpouring. It is song lyric. It is mpepu and baby powder dust and black and white and inevitable. It will be lost on many. It will find some hearts. It is the most dangerous kind of theatre for this country because it isn’t made for us, or about us, but it tells a story of one of us, as woman, as stranger, as the one who stays in love.

Memory of How It Feels

I took my friend V with me to last evening’s opening of Neo Muyanga’s Memory of How It Feels at The Baxter because she loves music a lot. This live performance is directed by Ina Wichterich, with Apollo Ntshoko, Chuma Sopotela, Andile Vellem, and musicans Galina Juritz, Thandi Ntuli, Candice Martin, Benjamin Jephta, Anna Telford, Natalie Mason, Nicola du Toit. Obviously Neo wrote the script, composed the music and was there with the musicians, playing, singing and conducting.

My writing about this piece is definitely going to be all over the place and will probably make little complete sense. This is probably because it’s exactly how I received the piece. There were things I absolutely loved, and thought I ‘got’, things I loved without having a clue, things I ‘got’ which I found a bit boring, things that I totally didn’t understand and didn’t enjoy.

The piece is sort of in three stories, but it’s hard to tell how they are that. They have weird, non-verbal, dance-move links. I love the language of the stories, and the words. They are strange and the language is manipulated in a totally different, clever and sexy way. It is delicious and surprising. The three performers are quite fantastic. Apollo does most of the speaking, and it’s a tough job with the kind of words he is given to use. He is successful for the most part. And he is an amazing performer. Chuma is so wonderful to watch. She manages to be totally invested in what she does, and it feels so right, and natural, and real. And she has the most beautiful back. Andile is gorgeous too. He is deaf, and his sign language gives the whole thing a different dimension.

It was a treat to have the musicians live, on stage and to watch and listen to how they linked up with the action to become part of a whole. And I enjoyed the music itself, which was original and exciting. And the dancing/moving was beautiful too, if not quite repetitive. You see, I don’t actually get a lot of the dancing/moving stuff, especially if it has a lot of unexplained emotion with it.

And that is the thing, I think. A lot of unexplained emotional stuff. When that happens we, the audience, watch and enjoy but don’t feel. We are watching others feel. And I wanted to feel, but didn’t.

I think Ina, as director, did a wonderful job with the areas that she is an expert in; all the physical, dance, movement stuff was fantastic. The phrasing of the magic words though, needed better sculpting.

Memory of How It Feels is an interesting, sometimes magical, very strange performance. It is not for theatre sissies though. You need to have confident theatre opinion to get your head around it. It might make non theatre people scared.

My friend V didn’t say much, but on the way home she said the experience was a bit like watching cricket when you don’t know how the game works, and you don’t really understand the why of it.

The funny thing is, I’m still thinking about it. And remembering how it feels.

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