Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: improvising

Behind the scenes

It’s been very quiet here in and on meganshead, partly because I have been screamingly, excitingly busy. One of the things I am busy with is the direction of a hilarious, warm, delightful and charming one-man show called Fully Committed, performed by my nbf Pieter Bosch Botha. This is a very special journey for both of us as we discover how to work with each other, how to separate; Pieter is a respected director in his own right and here he has to just ‘be’ at least 36 characters, and I have to remember how to direct someone without doing it myself!

I love the title of this play. Fully Committed is one of the most basic concepts of improvising, my first love. Here it means something totally different. The play is set in the dingy basement of a top-class restaurant, where the reservation line operator, an out of work actor, has been told to say, “Sorry, we are fully committed” instead of “we’re full.” He answers the phone and talks to patrons, the chef, the maitre ‘d, his agent, the business manager, his dad, only to mention a few. And this is all done by one actor. It is crazy, mad, fun and absolutely delicious.

I will keep you posted.

Learning my own lessons

Today I got completely undone. I left the house at 07h40 to be at a workshop I thought was near Stellenbosch well in time for its 9am start. I had petrol, I had printed out directions, I had plenty of time and I had a semi clear idea of where I thought I was going. Only, the truth is, I had NO idea. So when the turn off I thought was the R300 was actually the R310 I felt like the road itself had disappeared or was playing a malevolent trick on me. The long and boring story is that I went in ever widening circles, building self-doubt and hysteria and seeing-without-seeing. Many sobbing phone calls to Big Friendy later (my hero googled and searched and gave me remote directions and encouragement) I finally (almost 40 minutes late) turned into the right road. Still, because of my panic I couldn’t see the huge, signed building in front of me. I had gone hysterical-blind.

This group of people, who I had had phone contact with, were so kind and forgiving. I quickly ran to the bathroom, and in my haste I tore the string tying my ninja Kabuki pants up. I now had nothing to keep this huge, shapeless mass of material up with. I was pantless!

Needless to say, I entered the space of the workshop on full tilt. And it was amazing. I was humbled by my mistake, and in an open, vulnerable, slightly altered state. The perfect space to be to learn and teach improvising.

That fleeting moment – some thoughts on theatre

Theatre is such a weird, ephemeral thing. even if you are in a production where you are supposed to do the same thing night after night, it is different every single time. The audience is different, your mood is different, things happen with teeny shifts in different timing; changing everything slightly, or even a lot. That is the magic of live performance.

It is especially obvious when you are improvising. Here you don’t know what you are going to do until it is done, and the idea is that it can never be recreated. It exists purely and powerfully in that moment, and then it survives only in memory. That is what distinguishes all the moments and scenes and evenings of improv. Are they memorable?

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