Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Karen Jeynes

Swooping Swoop

I have to confess, the last thing I felt like doing was dragging my adult self to a children’s show at 11am this morning, but I am so chuffed with myself that I did. I missed Swoop the first time it was on, but today I got to see its first performance at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective in Obz, and I am so bladdy excited that there is a clever, fun, original piece of live theatre for kids this holiday.

Swoop, based on a story by Hilda Cronje, worked on by Karen Jeynes and directed by Pieter Bosch Botha is an action packed, multimedia, environmental piece that will delight and entertain even the most jaded of 6 to 12 year olds. And it is local. And it is local.

Swoop tells the story of a young boy, Sam, who moves with his mom from Cape Town to Durban and how he befriends Jabu, who sparks an interest in him for swallows. This leads to all sorts of things happening; at home, at school and even at the airport! It is action packed, modern, age old, hilarious and even moving (I did. I shed a tear) with songs, and dancing, and puppetry and a brilliant table that can do and become everything. Talented young performers Iman Isaacs, Harrison Makubalo, Shaun Acker and Shaun Gabriel Smith make a beautiful meal of it all. I loved them equally and very much.

So here is my challenge. Dear parents of Cape Town, break the mould. Get off the beaten track. Take your kids to something different, in a different space. Swooping great story, brilliantly told and 100% enjoyable.

Song and Dance – A charmed beginning

Last night Ntombi Makhutshi won Best Director for Song and Dance, my play that was a finalist (and runner up) in the PANSA staged play reading competition for new South African plays. Once I had (irrationally, you know what happens when you suddenly find yourself being all competitive and ‘competition brained’) gotten over my disappointment of not winning, I was able to get back to the real stuff, and I want to pay tribute and give thanks here to that; the real stuff.

First of all, thank you PANSA. This competition is an amazing platform for us writers. What a brilliant way for the scripts to get a first outing. It is a long-waited for, very valued part of the theatre calendar. What is also so important here is that the staged readings feel safe, creative and fun as well as competitive. It is a fantastic thing to be part of. Thank you Brian, Angela, Nono and Max (the PANSA people I harassed on an almost daily basis) for your support, problem solving, enthusiasm and encouragement. And Paul, thanks for the butternut soup. Also, thank you Magnet Theatre; I loved being in your space.

The director and cast of Song and Dance were a dream come true. Ntombi Makhutshi understood what I wanted to say with this play right from the start, and then she set about making it happen with confidence and a deliberate intention. I thought that it was extraordinary that she was able to get so much of the physical comedy and timing into the piece with only a few days’ rehearsal. This was helped by our brilliant casting of Deon Nebulane, Anele Situlweni and Zondwa Njokweni, who rose to the challenge and made my script look brilliant. To be honest, my biggest sadness that Song and Dance didn’t win Best Play is that the cast is not going to go to Durban for the final. I would have loved them to have gone.

I was so happy that so many of my friends made the effort to come and see it. And I was delighted to receive such positive, constructive and helpful feedback from the judges Lara Bye, Tess Fairweather and Mzi Vavi, as well as from the audience. This steers me in the direction of how to make the script better for when it happens for real in a full-scale production.

I was delighted and humbled by the standard of the company I kept, with winning writer Peter Hayes (for his play Suburbanalia), Karen Jeynes (previous winner for Everybody Else Is F***ing Perfect) and Fred Benbow-Hebbert (whose plays have been in every PANSA finals). I was beyond excited that Ntombi not only held her own but took the honours in  company with the brilliant and experienced Tara Louise Notcutt, Pieter Bosch Botha and Jaqueline Domisse.

There will be very little resting. We may not be off to Durban, but the plans will start soon. Thank you team. This is just the beginning of Song and Dance.

Godfrey Johnson’s Charity Exhibition

My darling Godfrey Johnson put together an art exhibition, See The Point Darling – An Exhibition and Auction and it is on right now at The Framery, 67g Regent Road, Sea Point. The idea was to get non-painters to paint and then to auction the paintings off for charity, with funds going to The Darling Trust. I painted this picture called Elephant Dreaming Dreaming Elephant (and so far someone has bid R500 for it). I love this painting by Leon Kowarski and have opened the bidding on it. There are paintings by Pieter-Dirk Uys, Tandi Buchan, Charles Tertiens, Didi Moses, Karen Jeynes; to name a few. Go and take a look, bid, and support this fab, fun idea.

Proud, Positive and PANSA’ed Up

Because I’m going official here, I am saying it at the beginning. The City of Cape Town contracted PANSA to be a serivce provider in the search for emerging talent to perform in Cape Town during the FIFA 2010 World Cup. I hope I got that all absolutely right.

Now to my post. I spent the last two days at The Arena at Grand West Casino, checking out the hopeful talent in the final round of auditions. And I was humbled, awed, excited, moved and delighted. Firstly, by the talent. There were some real eye-opening, heart-pumping, jaul-creating acts. Some of the children and traditional and community performances had me in tears. I whooped and cheered lots of the others. And I am excited and confident to know that Cape Town has some amazingly talented people doing really cool things.

But this post is about singing the praises of PANSA. All I am is a member. But I was so proud to be a member of this organisation this weekend. I cannot believe how well they handled this absolutely mammoth task of moving over two hundred acts through that venue and in front of an audience and panel of judges with ease, grace, the minimum of fuss and no major hiccups. I was blown away by the organisation, the technical side, the volunteers, the support, the efficiency, the enthusiasm and the passion of all PANSA reps. I imagine that the City of Cape Town is absolutely delighted. Bravo Brian Heydenrych, Karen Jeynes, Greg Karvellas, all interns and volunteers. And bravo to the judges, one and all who sat there from 9am to 10pm for two whole days, choosing the best that Cape Town has to offer. Ayoba.

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