Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Cue

Festival Post Mortem

I always knew I would write this post, but even now I find it difficult. I have been home 3 nights and there is nothing more comforting than fast ADSL, animals, my things and my solid pillar of Big Friendly. Still, for those of you who weren’t there or didn’t hear me say so, the festival was one long, tough, exhausting, often painful, occasionally inspiring, frighteningly empty affair.

I had very few people coming through the door to see Drive With Me, even though those that did seemed to love it, a lot. The combination of a great review on day 1 and then nothing until an Ovation award on day 10 didn’t help (although I am deeply grateful for both). Song And Dance got better and better, without a word or pic in CUE (to be honest I have no idea how people knew about it), and even though Pieter Bosch Botha and Richard Antrobus did a sterling publicity job on Fully Committed and people raved about it I had visions of sold-outs and extra shows because of how perfect it was for the festival. Truth is, it was a very quiet affair, with tons of parking in the streets, food and furniture always available at the Long Table, nobody at the Village Green, and people handing out comps left, right and centre. The only full show I attended was jammed full of school kids. That’s not to say there weren’t full ones. It seems shows that were there for the 2nd and 3rd time did better.

The worst part about all of this is that I am already thinking about how to do it differently next year. Please, theatre gods, if I decide to jump, look after me harder.

And now for some other news. I have decided, after much hearty discussion with friends, family and some colleagues, to stop writing review style posts here on meganshead. I am very sad about it, but I feel like it typecasts me in the industry and people then find it difficult to see me or receive me when I do theatre work of my own. Obviously, that is still more important to me, and so I think I will serve myself better if I am not seen as a theatre critic. I’ll still write, and share my opinions about everything else, including industry related stuff, but I will leave the ‘reviewing’ to those less involved, even though I am confident I did a bladdy good job. So, I will still see almost everything, and I will facebook and tweet about whether I liked it or not, but I’ll reserve this space for writing about other, varied stuff. How do you feel about that? Please send me comments to let me know.

Putting the fest to bed

I wanted to write a general post with little bits and pieces, stories and skinner, before I forgot them and got straight back into real life.

I loved being at the fest this year. It was my first time ever that I went as an observer/writer/blogger, as opposed to performer or director, and the shift in stress levels was remarkable! My only wistfulness was that I had to drink all the wine at Bushman’s where I was staying, instead of in G’town, because I couldn’t drive drunk! I am also fired up about bringing work to the fest next year, which is a good sign.

Reasons (other than good shows) I loved the festival this year: I loved Garvey’s coffee at The Monument. I drove the 60 odd k’s in the morning for a macchiato in a real cup. More expensive than most of the meals I ate, but completely spectacular. I brought a bag of his coffee back for Big Friendly. I loved The Art Lounge and the cutey Argentinian boys who made great masala chai, gluwein, veg pies. It was bladdy cold hanging out there, but it was delicious. I loved Fusion (I think) at Cape Town Edge. Mark remembers everyone, and he makes us feel special. It’s also the best food, and jauling, at the fest. I loved being invited to perform at improv comedy at Cape Town Edge, as a fundraiser. I loved hanging with my little sisters and shooting the breeze, slagging off bad shows. Fiona (Shorty’s daughter) du Plooy and Candice (oh my word) D’Arcy are fantastic fest friends. I loved disagreeing with Simon Cooper about virtually every show we saw. I loved evening replays of some of the funny moments with Helen, Mike R, Anthony and Simon. I loved getting hopelessly lost and having Simon and Mike give up the best parking place to find me. I loved weeing with laughter at The Spur with Ntombi, Thembani and Connie. I loved banging into Strato, a Gtown local and friend, and catching up. I loved my chats to Toby and her sister about everything they had seen, and getting feedback on stuff I recommended. I loved Jon Keevy but didn’t see him enough. I loved free wi-fi at The Monument and at The Spur. I loved writing and posting reviews. I loved my media badge and bag, and all the comps I got, and the fantastic Cilnette in the media office. I loved being media (thanks Steve) and having more than my own blog to share my loud and opinionated voice with.

I hated the cold. I hated missing shows completely because of no electricity. I hated those moments where I realised I wasn’t going to see everything I was asked to see, and I saw the look I obviously gave every year to everyone, right back at me. I promise I’ll never do it again. I hated being so far away and leaving the passing of precious Bayla in the hands of Big Friendly. I hated that I was traveling home on my godson’s birthday! I hated that one or two rubbish shows got ‘ovations’ and accolades. I hated some CUE reviews. I hated what happened to the posters in the rain. I hated being manipulated into giving parking money by everyone who saw me leaving a parking spot even though I had found it all by myself.

I loved facebook and twitter and BBM for hooking me up, keeping me in touch and allowing me the occasional vent. It was a good one.

Cueless again

I broke my promise to never read a word of Cue again because I wanted to see if anyone had said anything about The Feather Collector. So I went on line and started reading Theresa Edlmann’s latest review. With every sentence I realised that I had no idea what the production was. The headline is “Emotional production is a festival highlight”, and nowhere in the whole review does she actually say the name of the play! I finally gathered that she was talking about ‘night Mother because in the bowels of the review she mentions Sandra Prinsloo, and I know that this is what Sandra is doing. Yowzer. Just saying.

Not a Cue

I am in a rush this morning, about to drive the 50 minutes into G’town to pick up my tickets and head off to see the first of four shows today. I mentioned to my host Simon Cooper that I would be seeing Life Is Too Good To Be True, a Dutch production, and I wondered whether anyone had said anything about it. He said that there was a review of in in The Cue by Theresa Edlmann. So I read it. And I have no idea whether she liked it or hated it, whether it was good or bad, professional or not, funny, tragic, nothing. I have no flippen idea.

I turn the page and a review jumps out at me for Jazz, by Anton Kreuger. It starts, “Given that all I know about Jazz is that Hitler banned it…”. I kid you not.

So, get your actual reviews elsewhere people. It’s not happening in Cue. No Clue. Sies.

Simon Says

This could turn out to be the beginning of a good relationship! Here’s Simon’s second post. Remember, you read it first on meganshead, when this guy gets his own blog!
And also, bravo and congrats to London Road!

Having read the first report, I can see that the immediate effect of the Fest on a festino is that the spelling goes !!!! But putting that behind me, the BREAKING NEWS is that “LONDON ROAD” has won a Standard Bank Ovation Award – this is something new to the 2010 Festival and plays get nominated by journos at the Festival and then a committee headed by a doyen of critics, Adrienne Sichel selects the winning productions.
To quote the Festival organisers “the new Standard Bank Ovation award recognises and celebrates innovation and excellence on the Fringe programme of the National Arts Festival by putting the spotlight on cutting edge-work that is strong, diverse and original”. Winners are publicly announced in Cue. Stickers bearing the Standard Bank Ovation will be awarded to each of the winners for display on their poster and inclusion on their marketing material. On the last day of the National Arts Festival, the winners of the Standard Bank Golden Ovation awards will be announced for five categories and each production will receive a prize of R 5 000, sponsored by Standard Bank.

So the third day – still not a lot of people around – I mean finding parking at venues is not difficult, queues are short or shortish and the craft markets are quiet. A quiet day for me as well – first up was “WOMB TIDE” – the new offering from FTH:K. Written by Lara Foot and directed by Rob “Ugli Bob” Murray, with Liezl de Kock, Daniel Buckland, Kim Kerfoot and Emilie Starke, it is another example of how FTH:K have made an art form of non-verbal communication. Allied of course with their work in the field of deaf theatre, this has become their trademark over the last few years. The original script was as wordy as one would expect [so I am told] and has been rewritten. This was the piece’s first performance and it is excellent. Following the fortunes of a couple who meet, marry and adopt when they can’t have children, it highlights the plight of people, old and young, who are involved in the informal adoption world. But it is more than that alone and looks closely at the family dynamics as well. It is funny and sad. The set, props and background soundtrack are simply brilliant and are used to great effect by the performers. A standing ovation to set/prop ddesigners Craig Leo, Leila Anderson and Emilie Starke and sound designers James Webb and Brydon Bolton. See this one if you can.

Next up was “KRUISPAD” – no man come on !!! Described thus in the programme – “when a prominent Afrikaans businessman and politician is murdered at Crossroads, his household is left in turmoil. In this thriller – a modern twist on a classic tale – lies, deception and the decay of a society are exposed through graphic sex, violence and rituals. Not for the squeamish “. Ooohh my jina – Brett Kebble en alles. Let me say no more than that when the lights failed half way through and they had to stop to fix them, [and when the play had moved onto to the day after the cremation of the deceased with the actors still wearing their funeral clothes of the day before] it was a heartfelt opportunity to slip away. Wim Vorster as writer and director has not done Afrikaans theatre any good with this offering and has not drawn any notable performances from the actors. I can’t bring myself to name them as I don’t think it was their fault.

Today is a 5 play day so deep breath …………

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