Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Heather Mac

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.

 

 

Heather Mac I love you.

Today is my birthday. There is a cup cake surrounded by silver hearts outside my door. I am lying in bed, in my boet and sister-in-law’s place in Jozi, surrounded by double the stuff I brought with, to pack and take home. Big Friendly is the coffee maker. And I am generally delighted.

Last night though, last night was a celebration. One of those accidentally serendipitous, magical bests. Heather Mac, Mark Harris and Amber Parr (Heather’s glorious daughter) just happened to be in Jozi, performing a gig at Old Mutual Theatre on The Square as a fundraiser for Assitej. I invited a small posse of Jozi friends and family to join us to watch and listen, and it was truly, totally amazing.

Heather is an exquisite and deeply moving performer, with a heart voice connection and a presence on stage that literally brings me to sudden tears, and that is how I stay, from first note to last. Mark Harris is delicious on stage as guitar man and Amber Parr is the most generous and gorgeous back up singer to her mom. It also helped that the best sound guy in SA, Heather’s brother John Mac was there to do the best ever sound. It was an awesome gig and a total treat to have been in Jozi to witness it. I thank my closest, who I dragged there, but who loved it as much as I did. My only wish was that more people had known about it. Assitej deserve the money, and I know for sure Heather has many, many old fans (just like me and my friends) from and in Jozi, who will hear about this gig today and literally kick themselves for not knowing about it sooner.

I am lucky. I have access to Heather and get to see her a lot more in Slaap Stad. And I will always be there. Crying along. Thank you, my great friend and inspiration, Leather Sac.

The great divide

How do I write about the fabulous Fleur du Cap Awards that happened last night when my beloved dog Gally is sick? How do I talk about the fact that my favourites to win, Nicola Hanekom (Best Performer in a Solo Performance) and Carel Nel (Best Actor) who I hoped would win without believing they would, did, while Gally is at the vet? How do I explain how fabulous Heather Mac, Mark Harris, Amber Parr and Alfred Hinkel’s new dance company Garage were when my heart is aching with the drag of my old friend who is planning to leave us? This is my morning.

Last night’s glamorous affair was one of the loveliest Fleur du Cap Awards I have been to. I loved the show. It was simple, well conceived and heartfelt. Heather Mac and the rest were perfect, giving the whole evening great continuity and flow. Alan Committee is flippen, outrageously, rudely hilarious. I loved him and he is my favourite awards emcee. I was delighted that the Lifetime Achievement Award went to Chris Weare. How absolutely, truly deserving. I loved how emotional he was and I loved his speech about partnerships. I loved that FTH:K were honoured with the Innovation in Theatre award. I loved the additional categories that honour designers more.

I was dismayed by the same old same old ‘this award thing is so white’. We know. If somebody knows how to change this tell me. I will be the first in line to make it different. I was happy to drink gorgeous Distell shampoo. A bit too happy, I think. I loved hanging with friends, air kissing acquaintances and looking at the prettiness.

But, when I got home last night Gally was sick. Here she is, sitting on the stoep with Chassie yesterday morning.

 

Blown away by Amber

Heather Mac organised a fund raising evening of performance for her daughter Amber who is going to Indonesia to study performance art. Last night friends, family and other people gathered at The Kalk Bay Theatre for this konseert that started with a beautiful Kung Fu demo-dance by Amber’s gorgeous brother Luke, then a great set by Chris Tokalon, then a couple of solos by Amber’s step-dad Mark, then a couple of solos by Amber’s dad Tim Parr, then a few songs with almost everybody and Heather, and Amber doing back-up vocals. I have seen her do back up and harmonies for Heather’s songs before and she is amazing.

Now it’s sometimes hard for me to picture Amber as a fully grown human because I met her when she was two and still in nappies. Over the years I have witnessed her grow; and have loved her as a most special and precious somebody. But last night, as I sat in the dark back row of the theatre with tears pouring down my face and onto my shirt, I discovered what an awesome talent this young person is. Last night was the unveiling of Amber Parr to me. She sang three of her own, original songs, and accompanied herself on piano and guitar. I was literally blown away. I had no idea what a brilliant songwriter she is. I had no idea what an exquisite, powerful and moving vocalist she is. I had no idea how completely mesmerising, natural and emotional she is as a performer.

Amber is beginning her own exciting journey in the world, and she is going into it with buckets full of unique talent. And love. Because everyone who saw her last night fell in love with her. She is amazing Amber. Go well little, little sister.

Heather Mac magic

Picture this. It is 1983. I have jumped down the stairs into the cavern basement smoke of The Mix. I am in first year at ‘varsity and my Cape Town is a triangle between main campus, Drama school in Gardens, and Shortmarket Street, where The Mix is. It is a Friday or Saturday night and Ella Mental are playing live. I can barely contain myself. The band starts up and a new wave/spidergirl/chameleon/warpainted/cousin of Adam Ant/jerky dancing magician arrives on stage. And then there is the voice. That voice.

Ella Mental sang out my youth, my South Africa, my creative passions. Ella Mental was the band version of what I wanted to do on stage. Heather Mac was exactly who I wanted to be. 

Today I have just come back from a rehearsal with Heather Mac and her new band as they put final touches to the show that launches her new album, Within, tomorrow night at The Baxter. And, I was standing in a doorway, listening to them, and I got that feeling again. I can only describe it as sheer inspiration connection.  Obviously, the songs are much more grown up, the mood has shifted, some stuff is mellower, more layered, more loaded. But, there was a moment, with even her back to me, I was transported. I went straight to that magic, Heather Mac of my youngness, and I fell in love all over again.

Join me when I celebrate tomorrow night at The Baxter!

Creative inspiration

It’s no secret that I have been in theatre denial the last three months. It’s been bad. So bad that I have actively avoided going to see anything, and I have even avoided doing anything theatre related. My work has taken me elsewhere (which has been interesting, stressful and eye-opening) and I have been totally out of the loop.

I was nervous when I agreed to play TheatreSports last night, in the final performance of a week’s run at The Kalk Bay Theatre; I haven’t played or been involved for months. The anxious excitement had me listening to hard-core kwaito in the car on the way. Really, I had nothing to be afraid of. It was a tiny, intimate audience and we were on top form!

I haven’t played with Heather Mac, who has rejoined the group, in 12 or so years, and we were in a team together. What a delight! We started off by singing the National Anthem of Gobleenya. We discussed an Irish poem called The Slimy Green Goblins under the Rock, and Heather and Leon put it to music. We made friends for life after a navel staring incident in the bathroom of the Woodstock library. We were camels in a Western. I was her English daughter-with-a-beard in an English period drama set in India. I can’t remember when last I had such total and complete fun!

It was also a special night for Anne Hirsch; it was her first performance in front of an audience, and she was fantastic. She spent the evening with fabulous TS veteran, Candice D’Arcy, who looked after her in the best, creative and supportive way.

I have to admit that I am already thinking about when I’ll play again. TheatreSports, you are the other beautiful game, and I love you!

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