Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Megan Furniss (Page 1 of 2)

From Koe’siestes to Kneidlach and beyond

Let’s hear it for learning from each other, building bridges, understanding tolerance, respecting differences, trying out funny food, celebrating culture, singing each others’ songs, enjoying a turn of phrase.

Auto & General Theatre on the Square. Chantal Stanfield. Megan Furniss. Jew-ish. Coloured.

In a little side note observation navel gaze: I am often quite hostile about my own Jewishness. This play allows me to access it in the warmest and most non-judgemental way. It gives me the space to be kind and critical. I am able to see the funny side and enjoy my Jew-ishness without getting caught up in the fraught and political. I have watched this play evolve, and honestly, it only gets better. I am still moved and delighted by it.

Shamed on Social Media

I wasn’t sure I was ever going to be able to come back here, but I guess it is like riding a bike: Fall off, climb back on again. I am not sure that if your legs are broken it is even possible, but, given time, even with broken but mending legs, it is said to be the best medicine. Right now I probably need this medicine. I am doing this with my heart in my mouth.

When is the right time to respond? Is it too soon? Is it too late? Will I be accused of starting it up again?

Just over a week ago I made a hideous mistake based on a completely knee-jerk reaction about a goat that I perceived was in distress. Coupled with my reaction was an idiotic post I made on a Facebook group that I am part of, asking for help. After I saw what had happened, and how the thing had spiralled down into hideous, racist, Islamophobic assumptions by idiots commenting on my post, I rushed to make a very public apology, so fast I even messed that up, and then apologised again, and then again. The family who I hurt accepted, and then later questioned and rejected my apology.

I will be very surprised if you, my readers, have not seen the resulting fallout from #goatgate, on social media, in the newspapers and on the radio. I was made fun of, threatened, trolled, called names. I was sent private messages of the most filthy abuse. My blog was targeted, my apology rejected, my personal details distributed, screen grabs (not including my apology) shared, my work threatened, my name ridiculed, my past discredited, my politics rejected. I was made fun of by South Africa’s comedians, I was given lessons in what I should have done, I was threatened and silenced and warned that my actions were indefensible. I was vilified by actresses in the industry; some who know me and some who don’t.

Three articles featured prominently on IOL, M&G and Cape Times. These were shared like holiday sweets on Facebook and Twitter. One of the articles was written by a Facebook friend. Not once was I asked for my side of the story, or even to comment. With all my contact information totally accessible to anyone (for abuse), I was not contacted by the ‘journalists’ even though I was quoted by them, when they lifted what I had written on Facebook. The only media outlet that made contact with me was Radio Islam who asked if I would come onto their morning show to give my side of the story. Of course I said yes. They were the only ones ever who asked.

Alongside the deep shame and humiliation I felt about this horrible thing was the powerless sense of my silence. I understood the temperature of the room and realised that anything I said was fuel to the fire and I had to keep quiet, get off social media and only invest in one-on-one interactions. It was clear that my apology didn’t support the narrative and was mostly left out of any further portrayals of me, the racist, hater, whitesplainer. Two people asked to meet with me, to hear what I had to say, of the hundreds who sent messages of abuse and name calling. Two people who were very offended by what I had done; one publicly and one privately schooling me and putting me in my place. These meetings have not happened yet.

The fallout has extended further into my world of work. I have always understood that I have a public profile that lends itself to controversy. I don’t do myself any favours by writing about theatre, here on meganshead and for Weekend Special. I saw two plays last week and couldn’t write about them. I knew that people would be looking at the ‘who’ of the review instead of the ‘what’, and that everybody would suffer.

When I think about it with a bit of distance the one thing that is funny is that I am always desperate for publicity for my work. I struggle to get media attention for my plays; always begging friends and colleagues for airtime and press. I haven’t been on the radio talking about my plays in years. I have to rely on my own small publicity machine on social media for any exposure. But all over all media, Megan Furniss – well known theatre maker, actress, director, famous in South African theatre circles, made headlines.

I still feel sick about this. I still feel silenced and ashamed. I still wish I could turn back the clock and take it all back. And yet, I know, in a world more gentle, and kind, my real concern for an animal in distress (regardless of it being part of a petting zoo at a children’s birthday party) would have been just that. Me. Super sensitive about an animal tied to a pole.

Niqabi Ninja – we need your help

NN font sample 2This post is a letter/press release/call for help.

Dear theatre lovers, fighters for causes, feminists, allies, survivors, and community members,

I am currently involved with a beautiful and important work, Niqabi Ninja, that I want to bring to your attention.

Niqabi Ninja is an avenging Superhero, born on the streets of Cairo, who is ready to seek out and avenge every single act of harassment she has experienced at the hands of men. She has a list, a record of injuries and a variety of punishments to mete out. Watch out men of Cairo. Niqabi Ninja has a score to settle, and she is coming after you.

Set in Cairo during the chaotic time of the Egyptian uprising, Niqabi Ninja is an extraordinarily beautiful play giving two actresses a chance to explore the range and complexity of harassment against women, and one woman’s ability to develop a response.

Niqabi Ninja is written by emerging young Egyptian playwright Sara Shaarawi, and directed by me, Megan Furniss, and performed by Cape Town’s rising talents Bianca Flanders and Loren Loubser. We have put this show together on zero budget and 100% commitment and passion.

The play premiers at The Alexander Bar on 18, 19, 20 July, for a showcase of three performances, and we have just heard news that we have an additional 3 dates on the 1, 2, 3 August.

I am convinced that this work, these outstanding performances, the subject matter and how it is presented, will speak to a wide audience in South Africa, but more particularly to a young, student audience. I am looking for advice, production skills, a producer and project management to get Niqabi Ninja to its biggest audience. I am open to all suggestions, possibilities and options. Please let me know if you are able to attend one of our premier performances. Let me know if you have ideas, contacts, suggestions, skills to share. The truth is, this is gorgeous work and I am terrible at anything besides the creative stuff. And share, share, share this post.

 

The Official New Courses Press Release


We Improguisers, best known as the company who performs Cape Town’s best loved and longest running live improv show TheatreSports, will be running two fabulous and comprehensive improvisation workshops, starting on Thursday 6 September 2012, and running once a week for eight weeks.

One course will be Improv for Actors; aimed at taking trained actors through the aspects of improv that develop the skills of spontaneity, team work, characterisation, status, being present and truth, to name a few. The aim will be to get trained actors ready to perform both long and short form improv.

The second course, which will run concurrently, is for everybody. Do your friends and family tell you that you are funny? Was the last time you were on stage your school play, and do you miss it? Did you watch every episode of Whose Line is It Anyway? And think, “I can do that!” Have you seen TheatreSports and thought, “That’s what I want to do!” Are you a web designer, dog walker, gym instructor, radio announcer, or any other kind of somebody with a desire to improvise? Then this course is for you. It is a high impact, fast paced intro to improv that will make you feel fabulous. And, if you show promise, you could be invited to join the current team.

Course facilitators Megan Furniss, Tandi Buchan and Candice D’Arcy have returned from Improvention, a massive and inspiring Australian Improv festival, with the improv fire burning strong in their hearts and the vision of turning Cape Town into South Africa’s improv capital.

“We need a huge team of talented, committed improvisers to perform in all the formats, styles and shows we want to get going,” says improv veteran Megan Furniss. “We were so inspired, and saw so much, and back home we have an audience ready for new and exciting forms of improv”.

So, we want you! Contact Megan immediately to secure your place in either course, and to find out the finer details, like costs, times and venues.

megan@improvision.co.za  cell:083 4403961 follow @meganshead and @theatresportsSA on Twitter

TheatreSports FUNdraiser 3

TheatreSports Course

You know you wanna.

THEATRESPORTS COURSE MAY 2012
DATES: Sat 5 May and Sun 6 May- Part 0ne
Sat 12 May and Sun 13 May- Part Two
TIME: 10AM-4PM
VENUE: T.B.C
COST: R800
TheatresportsTM is a trademarked form of improvisational theatre devised by Canadian director Keith Johnstone. Local writer, director and performer Megan Furniss established the first TheatreSportsTM troupe in Cape Town in 1993. It worked under the banner of Improvision until it was rebranded in 2010 as ImproGuise.

This group has been playing continuously in Cape Town over the last 18 years, with many new improvisers coming through our training programme and joining the team over the years. Many of the city’s top actors, dancers and singers have been part of the team.

It is Short- form Improvisation and is performance based. Through a series of exercises and games, this course will cover the basics of Improvisation and will include How to be spontaneous, saying Yes And, Narrative skills, Character work and status, gibberish, Improvised singing and Genres. TheatreSportsTM workshops encourage listening, concentration and teamwork, to harness the power of “thinking out the box” in order to solve problems and work together and the skills learnt can be used as a powerful tools in both performance and in everyday life!

This course is for anyone who is willing and wants to learn how. No previous experience is necessary; all you will need is comfy clothing, a bottle of water and a sense of humour. Your teachers have 45 years experience between them, so you will either be in very good or very old hands. You must attend both weekends (part 1 and 2) to benefit from the whole experience because the course is divided up into sections, but if for any reason you cannot, the price will stay the same. We will not allow anyone to attend if you cannot attend the first weekend.

Please let us know if you are bursting to be part of this amazing experiences by booking a place ASAP,as places are limited. Contact tandi@improguise.co.za

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