Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Drive With Me (Page 1 of 4)

My best theatre of 2014

One of my most favourite pieces of theatre this year was Drive With Me, written and performed by me and directed by Liz Mills. I not only loved doing it, I loved doing it at The Alexander Bar, loved the extraordinary responses I had to it, critically, but especially personally, and I totally loved being on stage in front of tiny full houses, receiving the love and warmth of shared work. I particularly loved being able to share my writing of this piece.

One of the most dangerous and exciting theatrical things I did this year was I Could Go On, three nights of me performing solo improv. Did everything work? No. Did some things exceed expectations? Totally. But I loved it. (I was held by director and gorgeous friend Candice D’Arcy).

One of my proudest moments of the year was the reading of my play Clouds Like Waves by friends and brilliant talents Jaci de Villiers, Tandi Buchan, Nicole Franco, Heather Mac and Charlie Keegan. They made me see how much I love this play. They were awesome and awe inspiring.

One of my absolute delights this year was directing Lynita Crofford in Violet Online. What a sexy little experiment that totally paid off in deliciousness. (opening at the Kalk Bay Theatre on 26 Jan for a 2 week run).

My big and enduring theatrical love affair was my industrial theatre road show for Engen. Honestly, after 10 years they just get better and better, and I love my cast, client and audiences deeply.

One of the last favourites of the year was the total joy of directing Nicholas Spagnoletti’s Drowned Bride. I was as off the wall as I could be, and I was allowed to be. What a gift, I tell ya.

My most outrageous theatrical project was coaching and directing a group of bankers to re-interpret four fairy tales and then perform them competitively. They were inspiring, hilarious and the best teams ever. They taught me so much.

There was more. All of it, in fact. But these were my favourite favourites. Thanks to all who help me do exactly what I love.



There is no final destination

Liz Mills (the director of Drive With Me) said to me last week how happy she was that the piece had done so well, both in terms of audiences and in responses. We were lucky to get two brilliant reviews in both CT daily newspapers, here in the Cape Times and in The Argus. She said that the reviews had helped prepare audiences for what was a particularly tough sell, theatrically. She is right. Drive With Me is personal, didactic, creepy, esoteric, wordy, complicated and bizarre, with only a few jokes and quirks to lighten the mood. It also asks a lot of an audience, who play an active role in the story, and are part of the plot.

To further the challenge we chose a slot to perform it in Cape Town at the exact time that the Grahamstown festival was on. This was absolutely deliberate. I wanted to make it clear that the show, set and written for Grahamstown, could have a life outside of the festival, where last year I died such a miserable death.  Performing it at Alexander Bar is what solidified it. The Alexander Bar is fantastic. Brilliant management, supportive and hands-on staff, great technical solutions and support, hilarious and widely spread news letter.

I feel deeply satisfied and proud that it has gone so well. My faith in Cape Town audiences has been restored. People have taken the risk of attending different, challenging theatre, and they have been moved by it. This gives me great hope as I turn towards the next thing.

PS. There are still a few tickets available for the added extra show of Drive With Me tomorrow, Wednesday night at 7pm, if you’d like to catch it. Book here.


photo 4I woke up with this little bubble of joy in my chest. It is wintery and my arms are cold out of the bedclothes as I type and the dogs aren’t in their usual rush for me to get out and walk them, instead they are happy to lie on the blankets and snuggle. Back to the joy bubble. Last night was the beginning of my second week of performing Drive With Me at The Alexander Bar and I loved it. After that Charlie Keegan and I read bits of Clouds Like Waves for the monthly Playthings as well, so it was a theatre double bill for me. And I loved it. I absolutely loved it. I loved the whole of Drive With Me and the response from the small but completely engaged audience. I loved getting notes from Liz Mills who is the most attentive and clear director. I loved reading with Charlie, to an audience that doesn’t usually see my work. Afterwards I loved hanging out with The Alexander boys, Nicholas and Edward, and my gorgeous friend Candice D’Arcy, and I loved driving home full of the theatrical possibilities running through my brain. It is absolutely true that I am a theatre animal, and doing it makes me the happiest I can be. I am savouring this feeling. I am completely aware that it is fleeting. There is nothing more shocking than the end of a run. It is like waking up and something being forever gone.

Compared with my deep misery last year, while I was at the festival that shall not be named, I am a different person. Instead of being the invisible ghost of my character Marion Taylor, I feel entirely seen. People are coming to Drive With Me because they want to. I am not desperate, bitter or lost. Don’t get me wrong. I am passionate, driven and hard working (none of that grateful and blessed stuff). I am proud and clear and satisfied that what I am trying to do is almost what I am actually doing, and with writing and acting that is a pretty good result. Bubble of Joy.

Drive With Me again

DrivewithMeWebJKK-002I am picking up the script for Drive With Me again. I have a proper two week run at Alexander Bar from 30 June to 12 July, the exact time of the Grahamstown festival. It is intentional irony. The show is set in Grahamstown, at the festival. Anyone who knows me knows the metaphorical death I suffered at the festival with this piece last year. In spite of great reviews, standing ovations from audiences of 3, and a very late awarding of an Ovation award, I came away from the experience in more than just a few pieces.

Luckily I was able to put those terrors and ghosts to bed during a 3 show sold out slot at Alexander Bar in November last year. (It was so strange wearing that winter costume and describing the July conditions in the heat of summer.) This time I am really excited. I feel as if the blossom and bloom time for the piece is now. I am proud of the writing even though I am still challenged by the performance of it, and I surprise myself, even when just learning lines, with new thoughts and ideas. Writing and then performing a piece has different stages of gestation I guess. I remember the late Peter Hayes saying that a show needs to be performed at least 70 times before it becomes what it should be. As an improviser that seems terribly long, but I am starting to understand what it means. The more you do it the smaller the gap between intention and execution.

I am excited by the possibility of reaching a (slightly) bigger and wider audience. The Alexander Bar is tiny and intimate enough, but more than just friends will get to see it this time with 9 performances. So, if you’re even just a little curious, please take the chance and book here.

PS. It is the weirdest thing being 17kgs lighter than when I last performed this. I wonder how the character of Marion Taylor will be affected?

The most lovely Alexander Bar

Lots of you will already know that The Alexander Bar and Cafe (and Upstairs Theatre) is the most fantastic place to have on the list of where to go in CT. It is central, only ever closed on Sundays, quirky and retro comfortable, the staff are awesome, the music eclectic, the furniture excellent and the drinks fabulous. It is also a terrific place to watch theatre. Small enough to be intimate but not compromised by that.

I have directed and performed there before, but doing Drive With Me there now has reminded me how brilliant it is to be a performer there. Nicholas and Edward are the most attentive, caring, active hosts. It also helps that they love theatre. Jono is the best venue manager and a master technician. The tiny space is well kitted out technically, and the stage is a performer’s dream.

It is the kind of place where magical theatre can, and does happen.

10 Reasons why you need a good director

Tomorrow is the first night of a micro run of Drive With Me (3 shows) and Liz Mills and I have been working hard to reshape the piece to squeeze it into the tiny Alexander Bar theatre. I keep saying how lucky I am to have such a brilliant director, and it’s made me realise how important it is. Here are the reasons.

1. A director interprets the writing. This is especially important for me, because I wrote the piece and I am performing it. Often, writers will direct their own work. In general this isn’t a good idea because most theatre needs that layer of interpretation to bring it alive for an audience.

2. Actor/writers are even more insecure than just actors. There are double the things to make you insecure about, and a strong director, with a clear vision, is the best comfort.

3. A good director is in charge of what the audience see and hear, and they remember that all the time. They are the person who guides you into doing what the story means.

4. A good director holds the moment, the section, the arc, and the whole piece. They are the master balancer of meaning and intention. A good performer will be able to do what they ask.

5. A good director will win some battles and then let others go. They will know which ones are winnable.

6. A good director takes production worries away from the performer, (in my case reluctantly, I am so used to being production focussed.)

7. A good director always makes you feel like you are doing a good job, and always makes you feel like you can do better.

8. A good director makes you laugh, and laughing is the magic glue of all work, especially with a serious piece, where jokes are few.

9. A good director makes even the smallest circle of contributors feel like part of a team.

10. A good director shares the triumphs, tribulations, successes and feedback.

Thank you Liz Mills. I have said it before and I say it again. You are an inspiration.

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