Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Nicole Franco

My best theatre of 2014

One of my most favourite pieces of theatre this year was Drive With Me, written and performed by me and directed by Liz Mills. I not only loved doing it, I loved doing it at The Alexander Bar, loved the extraordinary responses I had to it, critically, but especially personally, and I totally loved being on stage in front of tiny full houses, receiving the love and warmth of shared work. I particularly loved being able to share my writing of this piece.

One of the most dangerous and exciting theatrical things I did this year was I Could Go On, three nights of me performing solo improv. Did everything work? No. Did some things exceed expectations? Totally. But I loved it. (I was held by director and gorgeous friend Candice D’Arcy).

One of my proudest moments of the year was the reading of my play Clouds Like Waves by friends and brilliant talents Jaci de Villiers, Tandi Buchan, Nicole Franco, Heather Mac and Charlie Keegan. They made me see how much I love this play. They were awesome and awe inspiring.

One of my absolute delights this year was directing Lynita Crofford in Violet Online. What a sexy little experiment that totally paid off in deliciousness. (opening at the Kalk Bay Theatre on 26 Jan for a 2 week run).

My big and enduring theatrical love affair was my industrial theatre road show for Engen. Honestly, after 10 years they just get better and better, and I love my cast, client and audiences deeply.

One of the last favourites of the year was the total joy of directing Nicholas Spagnoletti’s Drowned Bride. I was as off the wall as I could be, and I was allowed to be. What a gift, I tell ya.

My most outrageous theatrical project was coaching and directing a group of bankers to re-interpret four fairy tales and then perform them competitively. They were inspiring, hilarious and the best teams ever. They taught me so much.

There was more. All of it, in fact. But these were my favourite favourites. Thanks to all who help me do exactly what I love.

 

 

Trying…and Failing

My Out The Box Festival got off to the worst start this evening when I was trapped in the Intimate Theatre courtyard for the first performance of Trying. This experience was definitely in my top five of worst pieces of theatre ever, and I am so sorry about the fact that my talented friend and colleague Nicole Franco is in it. (I feel like that about Francis Chouler too, from whom I have come to expect such good things).

In fact, the last time I hated a show as much was two Out The Box festivals ago, and I had that same hideous feeling tonight, of being desperate to escape and totally unable to because the show was in the courtyard where the entrance was on stage.

Rachel Wood (the director) pulled twelve performers onto stage, as well as assembling a production team for video, sound and lights. Which is the reason why there was a technical hitch or three that meant that the show started 15 minutes late; not great at a festival where some people were booked for another show that they couldn’t make.

Once it got started though, I was in theatre hell. Endless, meaningless moments, little or no characters or sense entering and exiting. Arbitrary dancing. Horrible improvised (I assume) relationship scenes. Inappropriate jokes. Ages and ages to set up more arbitrary moments. Dreary movement pieces that went on forever. Cringeworthy, under rehearsed, directionless, repetitive, unconvincing and plain bad. This is ‘experimental’ theatre of the most unsatisfying. And I kept on thinking of the absolute waste; of resources, of talent, of time, of energy, of everything really. There was this one moment quite near the beginning where the one Israeli actress is sort of lying on the tarred floor and another actor is kind of running up and down, backwards and forwards alongside her. I overheard her whisper to him, “Ok, ok, it’s enough!” and he stopped. I so wished I could have said that and the show would have gone away.

The second funniest part of the show was when John Caviggia arrived very late, entered the stage, made his excuses and sat down, all the while complaining that he had heard there was a technical hitch and couldn’t believe the show had started without him. The funniest part of the play was when John Cavggia’s cell phone rang. And he answered it, announced to his friend Rita that he was in a show, commiserated with her about her cat’s gout and then explained that it was a new phone and he didn’t know how it worked. The person sitting next to me thought he was part of the show. He wasn’t.

The Satyr of Springbok Heights

 20090604 Wouter  Hilda hi-resWhat an impressive premier of a local movie. The Labia was buzzing last night with friends, media and even the stars of this little movie, who had arrived for the first official screening.

The Satyr of Springbok Heights is produced, directed and written by Robert Silke, who had all sorts of help from everybody involved on lots of levels, and so it’s this collaborative effort that makes the film work.

It’s all about this block of flats across the way from the Company Gardens in the middle of town, its history, design, and the people who lived, and live there, including a Satyr!

The movie is a mocumentary in the style of Confetti and I love the genre. There are two streams to the film; ‘real’ interviews with people who play themselves, talking about the block, Springbok Heights, and actors playing the people who live there. The ‘real’ people are architecture professor Fabio Todeschini, John Caviggia who knows everything about every style and period of everything, being a drama expert, and Sunday Times columnist Lin Sampson, who, slumped and virtually immobile in her chair, is hilarious and totally weird. Oh, and there are two excellent and very real cameos from two delightful street people, one very friendly and one not so very.

Some of the actors are Godfrey Johnson, who plays Wouter Malan, Victoria Caballaire who plays Hilda Steyn, Nicholas Spagnoletti who plays poor Nathan Golding and Nicole Franco who plays one part of a ‘lebanese’ couple. This is where the movie gets a little uneven. While the characters are huge and hilarious, the performance style is a little too big for the fake documentary style. Most successful is Nicholas Spagnoletti who underplays poor Nathan Golding perfectly. The others are terribly funny, but not very ‘real’, and even though I loved huge Hilda Steyn, I would have preferred slightly more ‘naturalistic’ performances.

That, and the funny way Lin Sampson referred to everybody in the past tense, were my two sticking points. Otherwise, I think the whole thing was quite fabulous. I loved Sean Michau’s music. I loved Nigel Murphy’s off screen interviews. I loved John Caviggia because he is so entertaining, and I mostly loved the fact that with no budget at all, Robert and his friends and connections made a full length feature and bladdy well put it on. Bravo to all involved!

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