Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Big Friendly (Page 2 of 9)

Sexy Sydney

Melbourne was definitely the magical extension of Improvention, with classes, a performance, and socialising with all the Impro-Melbourne bunch (culminating in a huge party and Timtam Slam at Mark’s house).

Sydney has been totally different. I slid into Sydney at stayed over (for the first night I was here) at two delightful strangers. Ange was going to be at Improvention but ended up not coming, and still she opened her door to me.

Now I am ensconced at my cousin’s gorgeous house (the whole fandamily has just got back from SA) and I have spent the last two days exploring the city on my own. It is really beautiful, sexy, stylish and very happening. I checked out the Opera house, walked the cerntral city flat, took a ferry to Cockatoo Island for the Biennale, had great coffee, explored Chinatown, did a bit of shopping, and started getting to know my way around. Love it.

The only really hard thing about being away from home for so long is that I am completely pining for my sweetie Big Friendly.



The best kind of marriage

Yesterday Big Friendly and I celebrated our 8th anniversary. It’s not a lot, compared to the many marriages out there that have lasted a lifetime, and we did only find each other later in our lives, but it has been the best working part of each of our lives these last eight years.

Last night (I felt flu-ish and feverish all day) over a quiet meal at one of our favourite restaurants we chatted about how lucky we were, with each other and for each other (I know. If anyone was listening it sounds like a Mills and Boon ending in real life), but we also spoke about why it worked and why we were so lucky. Here are some of those thoughts and reasons.

We support each other. We support each other when things are not going well for each other, but more importantly, we support each other when things are going brilliantly. I am utterly convinced that Big Friendly’s support is a large part of the success I consider I have achieved in the last eight years; professionally, socially and psychologically. I have a husband who delights that I am going to New York and Australia and will be away for a month and a half, and will do anything to help. Yes, we will miss each other, but we want the best things for each other, and will help each other have them.

We champion each others’ causes. In very different ways. Big Friendly is loyal and elephantine in memory. He does not forget a hurt I feel, and feels it long after I have recovered. I am the talk machine of support. I will talk a thing through and through, and listen to it from every angle.

We have our work around the house and Big Friendly does things for me, and me for him, with love.

I hear him when he says he doesn’t really like going out, and I go out without him, often. And then, sometimes he does come with me, to be with me. And sometimes I just stay at home, to be with him.

We have suffered the loss of animals deeply and painfully, and our love of them has brought us closer.

We are proud of each other. Glowingly proud. We show each other off when we talk about each other (but not necessarily in front of each other; Big friendly would die). Big Friendly tells everyone about my work all the time, doing publicity for me with such sincere pride in my achievements. The result is that he validates them for me, and when I have moments of doubt, they can, and are assuaged by the one who believes in me.

We recognise each other’s weaknesses but don’t use them against each other. We don’t store old hurts and bring them up to hurt each other. We generally make a big effort not to cause each other pain or anger. And we try very hard not to blame each other. This last one is not easy, for both of us, but we work on it, and get it mostly right.

We hardly ever fight. We have had maybe four big fights in our relationship of nine years. This is a personal miracle for us because I am queen of confrontation and Big Friendly is emperor of the cold war. We decided not to fight and haven’t.

Of course there are niggles. And moments of irritation. And the one time (out of twenty) that we don’t get each other, or agree. And then, we are more surprised than anything else, because there is so much we do completely see and be eye to eye on. And for those of you who know us in real life, you must know I don’t mean that literally. It’s a size thing.

It also helps that we find each other hilarious. And that we send each other pictures of animals all day.

I am getting up now. I want to make Big Friendly lunch to take to work. He is making my coffee. Life is good.


Doodsnikke – Buried Child

Big Friendly and I went to last night’s preview and taste and tweet of Doodsnikke at The Baxter. Most times I have to drag Big Friendly along, but when he heard that it was with Anna-Mart and Gys, I couldn’t keep up with his big steps. He loves them and for good reason; they can make a production, especially when they are in the same one. They have got that special thing an acting partnership has. They bring out the sticky stuff in each other. This is exactly what is needed for a Sam Shepard; tons of sticky stuff.

So, Buried Child, translated and transmogrified to a farm outside Kimberly, in Afrikaans and smatterings of English, with sur-titles (of the original play) has the potential to be quite demanding on the suspension of disbelief of an audience, especially someone like me, who knows Buried Child very well. (In fact we recently saw the Mechanicals version at The Little Theatre). And yet, from the moment we walked across the sandy set to sit in seats arranged on three sides of the playing space I ‘had that feeling’. Everyone who lives theatre will know it. It is a creepy, magical, otherworld feeling that introduces the possibility. That’s what good (and great) theatre is all about.

I loved this production. I loved Gys de Villiers, who was shocking to me as an old person. He was in turns powerful, weak, moaning, wheedling, hideous, pathetic, cruel, disgusting and hilarious as Dodge. I adored Anna-Mart van der Merwe as Hannie. She was exquisite, layered, complicated and so powerful. I loved Oscar Petersen as Tilden and Albert Pretorius as Bradley and I thoroughly enjoyed Ivan Abrahams as Pastoor Dewis. I thought that Sartjie Botha’s translation was layered and interesting and she managed to pull off quite an awkward relocation. I loved Patrick Curtis’s set and Birrie le Roux’s costumes and Mannie Manim’s lighting. I think that director Janice Honeyman has given the production the wonderful cohesiveness of an internal world spiraling in on itself.

The only thing that bothered me slightly was the kind of performances the two young actors Travis Snyders (as Vincent) and Thenjiwe Stemela (as Shelley) gave. As Big Friendly cleverly put it, on stage with these other masters they just didn’t seem to have the technique to match. For me it resulted in relaxed bodies and shouting voices.

The thing I loved the most about this production was how compelling it was to watch. There are still images, feelings and thoughts racing through my brain this morning.I was moved and provoked.  And, as a Sam Shepard loyalist, my feeling is that he would have approved.

When we were driving home last night Big Friendly and I shared some dark secrets of our own. We all have a buried child somewhere in our families.



I wrote a review of Shirley Kirchmann’s Catch when I saw it in Grahamstown. It was the superhero performance in the hell hole venue during a blackout where Shirley sang her own sound, performed her own voice overs and even spoke her lighting cues. And I loved it. This chick was hard core theatre through and through.

Last night it opened at The Kalk Bay Theatre so I took Big Friendly along. Unless it is my own work I hardly ever see a show twice. It’s not my thing. So, I confess, I did have mixed feelings about seeing it again, but I shouldn’t have. I was caught.

Catch is a one woman stand up/sketch show all about being single, and the trials, nightmares and agonies of breakups, dating and having to put yourself out there. And Shirley is totally on top of her game. I know she is not going to be everybody’s cup of tea, and those that are offended by filthy mouthed, aggressive women who talk a lot about sex; maybe think twice. For me though, that’s Shirley’s success; talking through all the chick stuff in a brilliantly observed way (my friend Candice was cackling in the row behind me as she identified), but with the style and charge of any testosterone filled stand up. There is something rop and hectic and totally hilarious about her.

With the bells and whistles of sound and light and voice overs, the show was slick and fast. I personally find the character stuff of the matchmaker a bit long and repetitive, but the rest flashes by at the speed of an oncoming orgasm. Shirley is a power performer with great comic timing and she killed it.

Cauliflower, potato and fish soup

Big Friendly has been nagging me to write down my soup recipes when I make them up, because many a brilliant inspiration is never repeated or remembered, but I never do. Today’s creation though deserves a write up, and I guess, since this is my blog, I can do it right here. So here goes. It was delicious, hearty and so moreish.


1 bunch leeks
2 shallots
2 cloves garlic
tablespoon unsalted butter
olive oil
4 to 5 smallish, yellowish potatoes
1 cauliflower
1 smoked kipper
1 sachet Ina Paarman’s veg stock
chilli flakes, salt, pepper, smoked paprika
creamy blue cheese

Clean and slice the leeks, chop the shallots and garlic. Peel and dice the potatoes and chop up the cauliflower. Heat butter and a splash of olive oil in a pot and throw in the leeks, shallots and garlic. Add salt, pepper, smoked paprika and chilli flakes. Cook for a few minutes before throwing in the potatoes. Give it a few good stirs and then cover potatoes with water. Add the sachet of stock, bring to the boil and cook for a bit before adding the cauliflower. Then let it cook away for about twenty minutes. When the potatoes are very soft liquidise until the soup is quite smooth. Put the pot back onto the heat and cut the kipper into small chunks and toss them into the soup. Let it cook on a low heat for another ten minutes. Season again if you need to, pour in cream, and crumble some creamy blue cheese in. Stir, serve, eat. Yum.


In a shocking turn of events today I discovered the very real possibility that what I was trying to do here on my blog was not only not appreciated, but that there were people (friends and colleagues included) who, although they haven’t said anything, feel that me being directly involved in theatre, knowing many of the people I write theatre stuff about and even being good friends with a lot of them, is a conflict of interest and that I shouldn’t be doing it.

I am the first one to acknowledge that meganshead has had its moments of being controversial, out there, outspoken and even a trend bucker. There has been stuff that I have loved that others have hated and visa versa, although I have always felt that I said why. I have taken my share of flack from those who disagree. I have even been threatened, hurt and accused of horrible things, all of which I have handled, sometimes with more grace than others.

I feel like I need to remind people that this blog is independent and unsponsored, and I do not make any money from it at all. In fact, if it weren’t for the hours and cash put in by Big Friendly there wouldn’t be this blog. I go and see stuff on my own time and write about things on my own time, although I do get offered comps and, more and more I get invited to opening nights. I also want to remind people why I started meganshead and why I have persevered with it for almost four years. I felt that there was a serious lack in both the number and quality of reviews for theatre in Cape Town, and also that they came out so long after a show had opened. It seemed that I became part of the publicity of productions, and that on the whole this was seen as a good thing, regardless of how I felt about the show. That’s the risk of having anyone write anything about theatre.

But up until today I thought that this was a tacit agreement. I now see that there are people who really think I shouldn’t be doing what I do. And I’d love to throw open the debate. Are you a friend? Do you just read my blog? Do you have an opinion about this? Do you think I can write honestly about stuff even if it includes my friends’ work? Is it a problem that I too am involved in the industry? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions, and be honest. I need to decide how to move forward.


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