Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Daneel van der Walt (Page 1 of 2)

Dani and The Lion, Last Night at the Den

1199_IMG_4340I get bored during most live shows, even the first time around. There are very few shows I will watch more than once, and seeing a show for the third time is as rare as  hen’s teeth, or even as rare as Whale 502.

Last night I saw a 3rd incarnation of Dani and The Lion, performed by my best Daneel van der Walt, and new Leo piano man David Lubbe. It isn’t fair to say it is the same show I saw last year though, it has grown and developed and is even more mad, mesmerising, moving and completely hilarious. There are a few new songs, a magnificent new costume, a gorgeous new sign, and the show has an all round attention to detail that is utterly charming, strange and other worldly.

Daneel is extraordinary. Her voice. Her arms, her funny bone, her emotion, her mal kop. David Leo Lubbe is the perfect piano man. He is so complimentary he is virtually for free. Nicholas Spagnoletti, the director, has brought focus, fabulousness and attention to detail that make the show more direct and magnificent. And Nicholas is responsible for that sign. I love that sign.

To be honest, there isn’t a thing I don’t love in this show. I call this my best show. There have been others, but I can’t think of them right now. This is it. Dani and The Lion, Last Night in the Den.

So, after tonight it heads to Gtown. I am nervous that it isn’t going to be as well received as a Neil Diamond tribute goes down in that place, but that is my own bullshit and I want so badly to be proved wrong. If you have believed anything I have ever said about anything, believe me here. Best show.

2013 Fleur du Cap Awards

I am a leetle worse for wear this morning. That Distell bubbly has quite a kick to it if you have more than three or seven. I was definitely in a celebratory mood after the lovely ceremony, even though my faves didn’t win. I had my money on Daneel van der Walt and Charl-Johan Lingenfelder. That is how it goes I guess. The judges and I seldom agree.

There were three stand out moments at the ceremony this year. The lifetime achievement award to Richard Kearns from The Baxter was brilliant, moving and so satisfying. Great choice FdC. Then Mbulelo Grootboom’s thank you speech, incoherent as it was, was an emotional delight. Lastly, Quanita Adams’s speech (delivered by her brother) with a moment’s silence to all the Lenas was a sobering and powerful touch.

Then it was Partay time. Big Friendly left after sampling the meat and I stayed on. I forget the rest.

Big Girl Huge Heart Giant Talent

I don’t know how to write this to make you go. I don’t know which words to use to explain why I started crying last night during the opening of Big Girl at The Intimate Theatre, written and directed by Juliet Jenkin and performed by Daneel van der Walt, and why I couldn’t stop. And even now, thinking about it, I am feeling that familiar prickling. Is it because I haven’t slept properly (the puppies are a force of anti-sleep) and I am anxious about certain work stuff?

Or is it because this one-woman-show about Sylvia Smorkel is an extraordinary feat? This beautifully written piece is whimsical, harrowing, hilarious, cute and totally powerful, and it needs someone exactly like Daneel van der Walt to pull it off. She is unbelievable. She reaffirms her position in my list of top three actresses in Cape Town.

To be honest, I am not often comfortable with the portrayal of this subject matter on stage (I won’t spell it out here and be a spoiler) but it comes upon you so creepily, sideways-ish that by the time you are in it you are taken and Sylvia has moved inside you and is squeezing you from the inside and forcing rivers of tears out of your eyes. There is something so extraordinary, unusual and original about a girl getting bigger and stronger after doing some bad stuff. Usually women are victims and they get smaller after every moment that makes them prey.

So, for all the reasons this story is a little hard to believe, it is the easiest to believe, because of the tree, because of the atlas, because of this person who, even though she says it about lots of other things, is the saddest thing.

I am begging you to go and see this beautiful work. It will change you.

Revisiting my fab Industrial Theatre job

Aside from the fact that I am deeply thankful for the return work of my long-term client (I have been making industrial theatre plays for them for seven years now) I also love it. We are into our second week of rehearsals, and this time around it’s a full-on musical. I know. I know. Completely silly, crazy and foolhardy. A thirty five minute, five-hander musical with a message. But I have an amazing cast; repeat offenders Ntombi Makhutshi, Larissa Hughes and Daneel van der Walt, and newbies Richard Tafane and Aphiwe Menziwa. They are a magical, creative and delicious team.

We had our first client viewing today; scripts in hand and gaps in places, and still, the cast were power, and blew the client away.

I know that a lot of actors see industrial theatre as a necessary evil; a chance to pay the bills, but for me it is a chance to take the target audience into consideration right at the outset, and then to go about making them something that they will love. The details are taken care of, and all we have to do is make a beautiful, entertaining, clearly messaged show. Isn’t that what every writer, director and performer wants? When it’s made my cast go around the country, performing to huge audiences who go completely crazy for them.

This time around I have to thank Trevor du Buisson for making the most amazing backing tracks, and Fiona du Plooy for awesome, hilarious and wonderful choreography. I can feel it. This one is a winner.

Featured Actor 3

Sharing the stage with Daneel van der Walt (if you aren’t the strong cast of Good Will Acting) must be tough because you would have to match her energy, timing, comedy, characterisation skills and abundance of the most ‘thespian electricity’.

(An actor friend facebooked me yesterday about the time he was performing a two-hander in Bloemfontein and the reviewer called the piece a “great one woman show”. I thought this was almost as funny as not putting in the name of the director, the dates of the run or the time of the show in a review yesterday.)

Back to Daneel! The first time I saw her was in Dalliances at Artscape and she blew my mind; and in fact blew everyone else off that beautifully designed stage! When she came to audition for me for the industrial theatre job I was a bit intimidated. I could hardly believe that an actor of her calibre would want to do an industrial theatre roadshow! I had absolutely nothing to worry about. Daneel, aside from being so magnetic and dynamic on stage, is also the most generous, uncomplicated, inspiring, kind, un-diva like performer. I cannot believe that she hasn’t taken the South African stage by absolute storm. She is a far huger talent than all of the usual suspects put together (you know, the usual ones who get the parts over and over again.)

Daneel van der Walt is a hilarious, sexy, brilliant theatre chameleon. Her character Tabatha in Good Will Acting is so weird, funny, poignant and out there. I completely, totally love her.

Tough day at the office, then happiness

I cannot lie; making theatre, especially when you have no budget, is really, really hard. When you are the director you feel responsible for each person involved since people are working on spec and others are doing you huge, huge favours.

The truth is that we had to cancel our first preview of Good Will Acting on Thursday night because we had no audience. Last night, our second preview had a robust but tiny audience. Because I am doing the sound and lights for the show (I always end up doing sound and lights even though I am terrible at it!) I am the moegoe who hangs about, waiting for an audience to come! It is not a good thing to do. In Kalk Bay you can see so many people doing stuff. Holiday makers are coming off the beach, young girls walk along the street window shopping, people are at restaurants and cafes. I wanted to drag everyone I saw up the stairs of the theatre and force them to watch the show. Very frustrating.

But by the time the show ended last night and the twelve people in the audience were in raptures, I knew that it was going to be worth it. They loved it. Big time. And I loved them. Tonight is the official opening night. I so hope that word starts spreading.

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