Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Jon Keevy (Page 1 of 2)

Single Minded Hilariousness

1441_dsc_0721-2Last night I laughed. I laughed loud, and long, and kept on going. I barked, and guffawed and chuckled and giggled and squealed. And this was all in the same hour, at the Alexander Bar, at Jon Keevy’s new creation, Single Minded; the sort of sequel to his Dirty Words. I liked Dirty Words, but I love Single Minded. It is right up my, oh god, alley.

Single Minded is very, very clever sketch comedy, written by Jon Keevy, and directed by him, and performed by the adorable Kiroshan Naidoo and delicious Kathleen Stephens.

I usually hate sketch comedy actually. I usually hate it because it feels slapped together; underwritten, under rehearsed and kind of ‘let’s see if we can get away with it’ in style and tone. Single Minded is not that. It is very well written (especially if you delight in puns and wordplay), beautifully rehearsed, and it has costume changes AND choreography. It also has a great soundtrack and (as Jon himself pointed out) many, many sound and light cues. This is a slick show, levitating it above the genre, and making it very damn funny.

Kiroshan and Kathleen are entirely at home with the style, which is bold and cheeky, and they indulge in the material, and scene changes. I loved them. I loved Johan (but will not give more info as a spoiler), and I loved drunk bride-to-be, and I loved self-help guru and assistant the most. Actually, Johan the most, no, no, drunk bride-to-be.

Last night was particularly special because somebody in the audience got used; a really old guy, and he had absolutely no idea. I thought I was going to get a hernia.

I cannot imagine why you would not go and see this show, on at 7pm for the next two weeks. And my fave Dani and the Lion is at 9pm, so make a meal of it. Best ever.

Niqabi Ninja and every woman

NN by Nicky Newman - WEB-16Only 4 people have seen rehearsals of Niqabi Ninja so far. A 12 year old girl, a grade 12 female student, Nicky Newman the photographer, and a man (Jon Keevy, Alexander Bar theatre boss and lighting designer). The 12 year old told us afterwards that she knew all about things like (sexual harassment) that from school. The grade 12 student shared with me a private story about her own bad and harassing experience, Nicky shared some of her ‘harassment in Facebook comments’ ┬ástories, and Jon retold a story about the sexual inappropriateness of a man who lives in the same building as a friend of his. Something like this has either happened to you or to a woman you are close to. Those are the facts.

At every rehearsal one of us (and there are only three of us there usually) will have a story to tell, either about what happened to us on the day, or in the past. I have begun to realise that every single woman has string of sexually implicit incidents that embroider her life. Not every incident will make us feel like a victim, but that doesn’t change the nature of the incident. Women, and girls, are targets of this mostly under reported, under responded to sexual behaviour. And most men don’t really understand the range and breadth of it until they are told about it.

Niqabi Ninja reflects something of every single woman and girl’s experience at some point. It’s hard to swallow but it is undeniably true. Have you ever met a woman who has not been sexually harassed? Can you believe that?

Loren Loubser and Bianca Flanders, two unbelievable actors and amazing storytellers, remind me of different parts of myself. We are totally different in style, attitude, personality, background, age and experience. And yet, we have so much in common, mostly in the stories we tell about being women. And men, most of you need to hear these stories, just to know, to have the invisible made visible. We are ready to tell you.

Niqabi Ninja is on at the Alexander Bar on 18, 19, 20 July and 1, 2, 3 August. (The pic is another of Nicky Newman’s amazing photos)

Get cracking Kraken

For just under an hour this evening I badly wanted to be a 10 year old boy. I just knew how much better, realer and more amazing Get Kraken would have been. It is Jon Keevy’s new script for young audiences, directed by Kim Kerfoot and performed by the energetic and dynamic Jason Potgieter, Shawn Acker, Stefan Erasmus and Dylan Esbach, on for a short run at The Intimate.

It is the fast-paced adventure of a young boy and his fisherman grandfather and how they end up in the sea, then on a submarine, then in a spaceship in a whale, and then back on the surface of the water, with tons of craziness in between.

Jon has written a fun and funny script and Kim has directed the cast with vigour and cleverness. I loved it. I loved voices and great team work, the jumping around of scale and location, the great ‘puppet-hands’ that were fish, boats being tossed on huge waves, periscopes, watery depths, drowning bodies. I loved the crazy, clever story and I loved the little inside jokes. I loved the style of ‘making’ the characters and locations by saying the things that were there, or dressing them.

Find a kid and take them to see the show.

OWL

I’m not even sure why I liked it so much. But OWL, written and directed by Jon Keevy, with Briony Horwitz is a strange, slightly addictive and creepily ‘growing on you’ piece of theatre.

A skinny wide eyed girl appears from the back of a small, falling-to-pieces couch. And she starts telling the story of herself, the girl Olivia, from when she was 10 and she moved with her dad to a small town in the Overberg. The story follows the meeting of and friendship with Kay, the strange, blonde girl next door. Did the falling-to-pieces couch just move?

Beautifully observed writing makes this piece totally delicious. I usually hate grown-up actors pretending to be children, but here, Briony is strong, and unusual, and has an innocent integrity that manages to pull it off.

The simple, swiveling couch is the only set and prop. The lights and sound are effective and unobtrusive. Same goes for Fiona du Plooy’s choreography. Thing is, none of that even matters, because OWL is a great story. And I love a good story.

On nightly at The Intimate. GO.

 

Putting the fest to bed

I wanted to write a general post with little bits and pieces, stories and skinner, before I forgot them and got straight back into real life.

I loved being at the fest this year. It was my first time ever that I went as an observer/writer/blogger, as opposed to performer or director, and the shift in stress levels was remarkable! My only wistfulness was that I had to drink all the wine at Bushman’s where I was staying, instead of in G’town, because I couldn’t drive drunk! I am also fired up about bringing work to the fest next year, which is a good sign.

Reasons (other than good shows) I loved the festival this year: I loved Garvey’s coffee at The Monument. I drove the 60 odd k’s in the morning for a macchiato in a real cup. More expensive than most of the meals I ate, but completely spectacular. I brought a bag of his coffee back for Big Friendly. I loved The Art Lounge and the cutey Argentinian boys who made great masala chai, gluwein, veg pies. It was bladdy cold hanging out there, but it was delicious. I loved Fusion (I think) at Cape Town Edge. Mark remembers everyone, and he makes us feel special. It’s also the best food, and jauling, at the fest. I loved being invited to perform at improv comedy at Cape Town Edge, as a fundraiser. I loved hanging with my little sisters and shooting the breeze, slagging off bad shows. Fiona (Shorty’s daughter) du Plooy and Candice (oh my word) D’Arcy are fantastic fest friends. I loved disagreeing with Simon Cooper about virtually every show we saw. I loved evening replays of some of the funny moments with Helen, Mike R, Anthony and Simon. I loved getting hopelessly lost and having Simon and Mike give up the best parking place to find me. I loved weeing with laughter at The Spur with Ntombi, Thembani and Connie. I loved banging into Strato, a Gtown local and friend, and catching up. I loved my chats to Toby and her sister about everything they had seen, and getting feedback on stuff I recommended. I loved Jon Keevy but didn’t see him enough. I loved free wi-fi at The Monument and at The Spur. I loved writing and posting reviews. I loved my media badge and bag, and all the comps I got, and the fantastic Cilnette in the media office. I loved being media (thanks Steve) and having more than my own blog to share my loud and opinionated voice with.

I hated the cold. I hated missing shows completely because of no electricity. I hated those moments where I realised I wasn’t going to see everything I was asked to see, and I saw the look I obviously gave every year to everyone, right back at me. I promise I’ll never do it again. I hated being so far away and leaving the passing of precious Bayla in the hands of Big Friendly. I hated that I was traveling home on my godson’s birthday! I hated that one or two rubbish shows got ‘ovations’ and accolades. I hated some CUE reviews. I hated what happened to the posters in the rain. I hated being manipulated into giving parking money by everyone who saw me leaving a parking spot even though I had found it all by myself.

I loved facebook and twitter and BBM for hooking me up, keeping me in touch and allowing me the occasional vent. It was a good one.

Theatre (in the District)

I went to see an amazing ‘seed of something’ last night at Theatre In the Disctrict, called Crowsong. It’s the mad manic brainchildseed of Jason Potgieter, Jon Keevy and James MacGregor. They say the piece is in its “first draft” stage, usually not a place for an audience to see work, but knowing this and then watching the piece was like having a magical door open into a crazy place/mind/stage/canvas/screen. In terms of production values and techno stuff I thought it was pretty tight actually! I can’t wait to see where it goes. It’s inspiring, and I had that best feeling of almost jealously wanting to work on some crazy shit like that.

Because it is quite openly a ‘work in progress’ I don’t want to say more about it, other than that it was a delight to be there. If you read this today you still have a chance to see it tonight.

One of the things that these guys did was totally transform the stage space. And all they used was brown paper! I love that. I love it.

I’m going to use the rest of this space to talk about the Theatre in the District.Whenever I go there I am struck by possibility. It fills me with the ‘imagine if I won the Lotto’ fantasy of what I would do there to turn the whole building into a performing arts centre.

There are so many reasons why I completely love that place. I first worked there teaching improv to CAP students, when the building housed CAP (Community Arts Project), and I didn’t have a car. I would walk from Vredehoek down to CAP through town and then through what was District 6. This theatre really is in what used to be District 6. Well, totally on the border of what used to be District 6 and Woodstock. The really gommie end of Woodstock (where the chunky parking cherie tells you that your car does and will get broken into unless she is right there to stop it from happening). Now I live in Woodstock, and I have a car. It takes me less than a minute to get there. It really is the theatre in my back yard.

I always rehearse work in on of the old ‘classrooms’ in the building. I love making work there. It has a sense of history. It has a sense of possibility. It has a sense of independence. Mostly, it gives me a sense of nostalgia. It reminds me of my old days in theatre, where you put together a string of dreams with sticky tape and conviction. You decorated it with second hand christmas tinsel, and took down the moth eaten velvet curtain to wear. Then you hung it up again to go behind. Those are the feelings I get when I go to Theatre In the District.

At night, walking through the bushes, next to the stone wall of the old chapel/now theatre, the magic creeps up on you. By the time you walk through the big door that is only opened when a show is on you are already in that other world.

The bar is my favourite “imagine if” space. Every time I’m there I fantasise about performers coming to the bar after every show in Cape Town, to hang out, moan about the critics, skinner about management, bemoan the lack of audiences. I remember Backstage, in town in the 80s. I remember Bob’s Bar in Kloof st in the early 90s, and Don Pedros. I think about staying there, at the bar, and stumbling up the road, full of theatre dreams.

Actors are really bad business people, and probably always will be. And the truth is, I’m still an actor in my soul, making me one of those extremely useless business people. So, my fantasy for Theatre in the District; a performance centre; with rehearsal and masterclass spaces full and active every day, offices humming with the admin of all things theatrical downstairs, a theatre that never has a dark night, and a home from-home-bar close enough for me to spit at from my stoep, will be a fantasy. But, I love thinking about it, and I do, every time I go to the Theatre in The District.

To contact the theatre for rehearsal space/stage space or info email Brian on notty@worldonline.co.za

This is a picture of a bit of the set from last night’s show. It is exactly that thing of tying two bits of string and a paper bag and building endless possibility.

Imagine

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