Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Fred Abrahamse

Hol hol hol

I can honestly say I have never seen anything like it ever. Hol is Nicola Hanekom’s one woman tour de force (she wrote it and performs it) directed by Fred Abrahamse, and it opened at Artscape’s Arena Theatre as part of this year’s Artscape’s Season of New Writing.

Now I knew all about this piece; Nicola and I have spoken about it before, but nothing could have prepared me for it, and I was undone by this most brilliant show. Picture this. As you enter the theatre the glaring white perspex box of the set (brilliantly designed by Marcel Meyer) frames a treadmill. The character that Nicola plays, Lisbet, is already on it, walking and running, and drinking water. And that is where she stays, for the next hour. For the next hour she is on that treadmill, running. Running away, running towards thinness, running her thoughts out of her head, running alongside them as they appear to torment her.

I keep saying, I have never seen anything like it, and there is nothing to compare it to. Nicola’s performance is jaw dropping, heart aching, and astounding. She manages to combine fierce technique, unbelievable fitness, perfect timing and an emotional connection for every single moment of this complicated, magnificently written, cerebral, layered, and moving piece. And there are times when it is blisteringly funny. My Afrikaans is ok, and I got mostly everything, but I hate the idea that there were words, phrases or concepts that I missed because the script is so dense. Nonetheless, what I did get moved me out of myself and I sat next to my theatre date with tears literally falling off my face.

Take it from me; in a world where I see good theatre all the time, Hol is special, better, more original, more satisfying, more meaningful, more sad, more horrific, more everything. Nicola is unbelievable. Fred and Marcel have done an extraordinary job with direction and design. I don’t know why there was not an overfull house at the Arena (come on Arena, your bar is so pathetic, there wasn’t even an ice block to be had) but here are the exact dates of performance. 18, 22, 24, 26, 30 November and 2 December. The only excuse you have not to see this is if you do not understand a word of Afrikaans or if you are in a coma. Don’t even try and talk to me about theatre if you don’t go and see this. It defines how I think about things theatrical from now on.

*This amazing photo is by Nellis Rietmann

open letter to Fred Abrahamse and Marcel Meyer

Dear Fred and Marcel

It has been extremely difficult to keep the control it has taken to not sink with you into the deep mud of this tacky and painful story, but think it’s time to put this to bed. Fred and Marcel, I accept your half-hearted attempt at apologising and your retraction of my ‘banning order’. I will hurriedly blog my heart out, moving the offending posts further and further down the pages of meganshead.

I have decided that I will keep doing what I do, even though there are those who see it as a conflict of interests. What started out as a space to rant about badly made theatre in Cape Town, has by virtue of its new found popularity become a serious space where I will treat myself and the work I see ‘as if’ I was an important voice. What started out as a casual commentary (albeit a bit personal and bitchy) read by my friends, has become increasingly widely read because of this scandal and now I have a readership that has doubled if not tripled. I will make myself very clear from now on. I remain independent, unaffiliated, un-objective and uncompromising. I will see and write about the shows I am invited to, and those I choose to pay for and see.

I am bitterly disappointed that the NewSpace has been smeared by this ‘monster’. I was very excited about it and committed to the idea of it. The first shows I ever saw as a student were there and my first lifelong friendships with theatre people were made there. It was a space that made the kind of theatre that sticks with you forever and that you aspire to.

I would like to request one thing from you. Since you emailed your original letter to me to your entire database (which included those who know me and those who don’t, friends, colleagues, managements etc), I think it makes sense that you email them your ‘retraction’ too, since many of the people you included on your list are not meganshead readers and have no idea that you were encouraged to retract.

With regard to your suggestion that we meet, the ball is in your court. I have no interest in pursuing this myself, but if you feel it is necessary then I will sit down with you.

Sincerely

Megan Furniss (nee Choritz)

This is no stunt

I was hoping not to have to respond to the email (and comment) from Fred Abrahamse and Marcel Meyer but I am becoming more and more concerned that, because of its totally ludicrous content, people think I have colluded in a publicity stunt for the NewSpace. I have not. The email is real, unless Fred and Marcel decided on a dangerous, stupid and hysterical publicity stunt that has gone too far and caused great eruptions. I have also become aware that the letter, sent to me via email, was sent to others, including two friends and colleagues, who cc’ed me in their response to Fred and Marcel.

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