Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Larissa Hughes

Revisiting my fab Industrial Theatre job

Aside from the fact that I am deeply thankful for the return work of my long-term client (I have been making industrial theatre plays for them for seven years now) I also love it. We are into our second week of rehearsals, and this time around it’s a full-on musical. I know. I know. Completely silly, crazy and foolhardy. A thirty five minute, five-hander musical with a message. But I have an amazing cast; repeat offenders Ntombi Makhutshi, Larissa Hughes and Daneel van der Walt, and newbies Richard Tafane and Aphiwe Menziwa. They are a magical, creative and delicious team.

We had our first client viewing today; scripts in hand and gaps in places, and still, the cast were power, and blew the client away.

I know that a lot of actors see industrial theatre as a necessary evil; a chance to pay the bills, but for me it is a chance to take the target audience into consideration right at the outset, and then to go about making them something that they will love. The details are taken care of, and all we have to do is make a beautiful, entertaining, clearly messaged show. Isn’t that what every writer, director and performer wants? When it’s made my cast go around the country, performing to huge audiences who go completely crazy for them.

This time around I have to thank Trevor du Buisson for making the most amazing backing tracks, and Fiona du Plooy for awesome, hilarious and wonderful choreography. I can feel it. This one is a winner.

I Like It Vrot

Jinne ek was bly gewies that I managed to wikkel me and Big Friendly tickets to last night’s “media night” of David Kramer’s new musical comedy @The Baxter. That either almost makes me media, or just very forward; just saying. There is such a lekker vibe when The Baxter foyer is full and pumping, and it’s a David Kramer, Mark Lottering, Christo Davids combo that pulls the crowd.

David’s musical is centred around one of Mark Lottering’s characters, Shmiley the ghaatjie, who has now found himself a full cast of players to play with, a Cape Town crime story of massive proportions to be caught up in, delicious opportunities to be in drag, and special new Kramer songs to sing.

The result is fresh, funny, cute and delicious. The cast are amazing. Larissa Hughes, who plays detective Mercia Meintjies is by far my favourite. Ok, ok I’m biased, but honestly, that girl is a brilliant actress, a powerful presence, hilarious at comedy, and yo, can she sing. But, to be fair, I loved almost everybody just as much. I loved Mark Lottering. And Christo Davids. Oh, and Abduragman Adams. And the rest.

The story is very local, set in Cape Town, the Cape Flats and Wynberg (by the magistrate’s court ne), and perlemoen poaching, gangster action, night clubs and a hotel at The Waterfront are the background for a farcical romp while Mercia does her detective work to catch the bad guy. There is hilarious drag, the best Al Jay Zee gangsta hip hop, a touching solo or two, and kick ass performances from everybody.

Nothing about Some Like It Vrot is earth shatteringly original; but it has the perfect formula for hilarious local entertainment, brilliantly done. Even if full on traditional musicals are not your cup of whatever, you will love this laid back jaul, that delivers entertainment on every level.

Oh ja, and the set (Saul Radomsky) and costumes (Craig Leo) are amazing! Lekka. I did not find it baaring, ever.

(This awesome photo is by Jesse Kramer)

Featured Actor 2

Larissa Hughes plays Marlene in Good Will Acting. I first saw her in Antony and Cleopatra as one of the handmaidens, and her hair was completely shaved off! The next time I saw her was when she auditioned for my industrial theatre project and I was so impressed with her audition and her choice of piece that I knew I was going to use her that moment. Ironically, months later she told me that she had left the audition with the feeling that she had nailed it.

Larissa is a most natural, versatile and talented actor. She is dynamic, energetic and totally old-school when it comes to performance. She thinks about things. She tries stuff out. She is constantly growing and working and asking questions. As if that weren’t enough, she is an unbelievable singer, harmoniser and can do the moves too.

Without Larissa and her writing contributions, her input, her ideas, her challenges and most importantly her spiritual dancing moves, we would not have had a Good Will Acting. I love this powerhouse performer.

Tough day at the office, then happiness

I cannot lie; making theatre, especially when you have no budget, is really, really hard. When you are the director you feel responsible for each person involved since people are working on spec and others are doing you huge, huge favours.

The truth is that we had to cancel our first preview of Good Will Acting on Thursday night because we had no audience. Last night, our second preview had a robust but tiny audience. Because I am doing the sound and lights for the show (I always end up doing sound and lights even though I am terrible at it!) I am the moegoe who hangs about, waiting for an audience to come! It is not a good thing to do. In Kalk Bay you can see so many people doing stuff. Holiday makers are coming off the beach, young girls walk along the street window shopping, people are at restaurants and cafes. I wanted to drag everyone I saw up the stairs of the theatre and force them to watch the show. Very frustrating.

But by the time the show ended last night and the twelve people in the audience were in raptures, I knew that it was going to be worth it. They loved it. Big time. And I loved them. Tonight is the official opening night. I so hope that word starts spreading.

Shameless Product Placement

Here is a copy of a press release I am busy putting out.

Shameless Product Placement opportunity In Good Will Acting

Good Will Acting is a Christmas show being put on at The Kalk Bay Theatre from the 4th to the 31 December, running from Wednesdays to Saturdays (not including Christmas day). It stars Anele Situlweni, Daneel van der Walt, Larissa Hughes and Ntombi Makhutshi and is directed by Megan Choritz, with lots of advice, help and instruction from Helen Cooper.

The story of how Good Will Acting came about is amazing. A group of actors were contracted to perform an industrial theatre road show and they fell in love with each other (and their director). The director (me, Megan Choritz) made the cast an offer they couldn’t refuse; the chance to workshop, create and perform in a Christmas show, with no budget, no script, no venue, no set or costumes, only good ideas and plenty of enthusiasm. Four out of the five cast members agreed! (The fifth had other gigs and paying performances, we were told.)

Suddenly, the universe provided and a previously booked slot at The Kalk Bay Theatre became available. What had been a whimsical fantasy became a bold and terrifying reality.

We are on page 9 of writing the script. It is hilarious. It is going to be an Activity play, because Ras the Rasta says Nativity is too negative. Libertina X doesn’t give a shit what it’s called as long as her honours in theatre making skills are shown off in such a way that it guarantees proper theatre work soon. Tabatha is fully alive to the process of acting; LRA, Listen, Respond, Act, and Marlene just wants to do anything that will help her not go and waitress at the Apache Spur in Strand Street. The choreography, songs and most of the story of the birth of Christ will be borrowed from other productions and stolen from other creative sources.

As much of the industrial theatre set and props as is possible will be re-purposed for Good Will Acting but we do need some money, to maybe make a poster and flyers, or to cover transport costs and things. Which is where you come into the picture. We are offering Shameless Product Placement in the show, regardless of the product, its uses or its target market. Let Good Will Acting advertise for you, whoever you are. Do you want to sell hand-made Christmas gifts? Are you the marketing manager for Red Bull? Does Vodacom need a bit of a plug? We are literally selling four Shameless Product Placement slots in the show. Your product or service will be mentioned every night for the duration of the run for the ridiculous price of R1000. *Special discounts will be given for products that are red, white, and/or blue (blue is the new green this Christmas, because those are the corporate colours from the Industrial theatre job).

We’d love to include you in Good Will Acting. And you can help us make it happen. Call, sms, facebook, email or even twitter me. Or leave a message for me here on megan’s head. *I forgot to mention that small donations for mentions on our (still imaginary) programme will be gratefully received.

Rehearsals

I am loving it. We are into our second week of rehearsals for an industrial theatre project and I am totally in my element. I am in love with each and every member of my cast, Ntombi Makhutshi, Anele Situlweni, Larissa Hughes, Keeno-Lee Hector and Daneel van der Walt. Not are they only amazing performers in and of themselves, they are also brilliant team players and work most wonderfully as a group. They make me feel blessed, and they give me the best kind of creative energy and inspiration.

The super talented Fiona du Plooy came in to rehearsals today to teach the cast some moves for the final song. Yo! She was great, and the cast already look brilliant and hilarious. Then Trevor du Buisson dropped by. He brought the backing track that he made for a very funny rewrite of I Believe I Can Fly; I Believe I Can Drive. It is fantastic! Nothing like pulling in my brilliantly creative connections to do the job.

Tomorrow we do a photo shoot in the morning and rehearse in the afternoon, and then on Thursday we have our first client viewing. I can’t wait for them to see what we’ve been up to. Life is good.

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