Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

The great divide

How do I write about the fabulous Fleur du Cap Awards that happened last night when my beloved dog Gally is sick? How do I talk about the fact that my favourites to win, Nicola Hanekom (Best Performer in a Solo Performance) and Carel Nel (Best Actor) who I hoped would win without believing they would, did, while Gally is at the vet? How do I explain how fabulous Heather Mac, Mark Harris, Amber Parr and Alfred Hinkel’s new dance company Garage were when my heart is aching with the drag of my old friend who is planning to leave us? This is my morning.

Last night’s glamorous affair was one of the loveliest Fleur du Cap Awards I have been to. I loved the show. It was simple, well conceived and heartfelt. Heather Mac and the rest were perfect, giving the whole evening great continuity and flow. Alan Committee is flippen, outrageously, rudely hilarious. I loved him and he is my favourite awards emcee. I was delighted that the Lifetime Achievement Award went to Chris Weare. How absolutely, truly deserving. I loved how emotional he was and I loved his speech about partnerships. I loved that FTH:K were honoured with the Innovation in Theatre award. I loved the additional categories that honour designers more.

I was dismayed by the same old same old ‘this award thing is so white’. We know. If somebody knows how to change this tell me. I will be the first in line to make it different. I was happy to drink gorgeous Distell shampoo. A bit too happy, I think. I loved hanging with friends, air kissing acquaintances and looking at the prettiness.

But, when I got home last night Gally was sick. Here she is, sitting on the stoep with Chassie yesterday morning.

 

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16 Comments

  1. Love and Strength, Megan.
    My thoughts are with you, BF, and the little ones.

  2. Peter Terry

    Theatre is a frighteningly fleeting thing, a constant wheeling of the stone to the top of the hill, like poor old Sisyphus. Animals’ lives are equally evanescent. It’s as well that we can capture their lives on film, because they are gone too soon. Your dog will have had a happy life, and, just as the truth of good performances outlives its earthly incarnation, so your love for, and from, your old dog / hond will never completely vanish.

  3. Ah my friend, what a happy sad post.
    Thinking of you
    Shirley
    xxx

  4. Rory Berry

    Megan,

    Emotions make the end of a life a time when celebrating it is difficult as we do not want to say goodbye. the trick is ( and it’s bloody hard having done it too many times myself) knowing that they go to a place where they are able to be at full mobility and pain free.

    Trusting that you will have peace and strength through this time. Your theatre family is here to lift you up when you might feel that you can’t go on.

    Strength and Peace to you my friend.
    Rory

  5. Megs, I’m sorry to read about your Gally’s illness; it’s always difficult to contemplate the termination of a meaningful relationship. Our animal friends have so much to teach us about unconditional love. About the awards? I’m sorry I was not there to show my support but, for the most part it seems to me the worthy contenders took the laurels. As I say, I wasn’t there, so I was spared the “this award is so white” tune, although I’m curious to hear more about the context (is there perhaps a new award for stating the obvious while bleating the PC line in a solo acceptance speech?).

  6. Jack

    I echo what Shirley said.

    Xoxo

  7. Juanita van Wyk

    Thinking of you and your doggie. He knows how much you love him. xx

  8. Marianne thamm

    My problem was the complete lack of inclusivity. Not a word of isiXhosa spoken, not a single translation in the programme – it is, by the way, one of the official languages of this province. While I loved seeing Heather Mac and the band on stage I would have liked to have seen other performers as well. I feel that the symbolism and the offence it could/and did give was not taken into account. It was a very exclusive in the true sense of the word, event. It was also deeply unconscious. Just replay it in your head. I felt uncomfortalbe at the time and I remain so. Black theatre makers, none of them victims or in need of anyone’s acknowledgment, felt this exclusion and they have a very valid point. I think considering that the nominees were all so pale, and all of them desereved by the way, this aspect should have been held in mind. There were too many very hurt people there last night to ignore. Alan was fatastic, a highlight of the night. In the meantime, the more important thing for you do to is be with Gally. Awards come and go but our dog friends are most precious. I feel for you all…xx

  9. Beilla Gans

    Ja, Megan, dis die lewe! I have not read Dante’s Divine Comedy but nothing will convince me that the name Divine Comedy is not meant cynically and sarcastically! Real Life does not usually have a “happy ending” (meaning of comedy) or is “Enjoyable” (meaning of divine).

    Tante B

  10. faniswa yisa

    Don’t be dismayed honey take a look at the pictures from the 1st fleur de cup award till now and spot the difference, not much. Its not about whether the people who won deserve it or not. Its about the pull from where they are getting them from. the awards has always been offensive to me from the time Karoo Moose when they were called indeginous catogory because an all black cast can’t just be a good ensamble to the 1 black winner or 2 at a push. This year was sickening because no we don’t walk around in loin cloth covered in mud and handing out award s to well white people on our knees. If that how fleur de cup sees us maybe its time for us to bounce.

  11. megan

    Ok Faniswa, but who are we blaming here? Distell? The judges? White theatre makers? The media? Alfred Hinkel? The Baxter? Who should have been nominated? Who should have won? Who should have been invited? If you gotta bounce, you gotta bounce.

  12. faniswa yisa

    My issues are if you are going to hold such a huge and prestigious event in Cape Town it is important to make sure that it is inclusive and everyone is represented in a dignified manner. who do I blame? Anyone who has the power to make change can’t believe that someone sat on that rehearsals and thought its ok so yup organizers should own up . Sometimes people need to stop thinking we are just angry black folk and maybe ask why ..we may just get somewhere. Change is a conscious decision which involve conversation not rolling of eyes,but if people saw nothing wrong with the award ceremony,maybe its bouncing time,but will not have people rolling my eyes at me when I speak my truth, have worked too hard to be reduced to that. Who should have been nominated? I don’t know but not everyone can afford or has funding to showcase their work in the chosen space and not everyone writes or chooses to write and perform in Engish or Afrikaans. So Megan a question or anyone who is interested to answer, do you think that the ceremony was representative? And the loin mudded kneeling thing did not disturb you? What do you think was the theme behind it? With all the Xhosa work that has been produced over the years is meaningless and has no place in the fleur?

  13. megan

    So tell us/them what to do. And which Xhosa work should have been nominated? BTW I also don’t have funding to showcase my work in the chosen space. And are you suggesting that I am rolling my eyes? I am not. I say (again) that it doesn’t help to shout and blame without offering practical ways to change. I am ready and willing (as I said above) to spearhead that change, or even just fall in line, but I don’t know what to do. I just think calling it (which is obvious, to me, and everybody else) isn’t going to help. With regard to the dancers, I naively thought they were beautiful and sexy and talented and amazing. At the time I thought it was gorgeous art and I am surprised that the performers would willingly agree to do something demeaning and offensive. Twenty times more offensive for me is giving people who lack the talent and skill to do something a chance because they are needy.

  14. faniswa yisa

    Which Xhosa plays? Last 3 years I have seen a couple of Xhosa plays from shacks in Khayelitsha, Zolani centre in Nyanga to the Mainstream theatres so not making them up they do exist a pity not many people are aware About spearing change, you can’t spear change if you think there are no problems(that is general). Am sorry you did not get funding. What do you mean when you say tell us\them? Who is us and them?am glad you think the dancers were gorgeous I don’t that can even imagine it must have looked beautiful I don’t doubt it all. what does it mean what is the image represents in that context? And weLl like I said my voice and my work are my only weapon, so if I find something offensive I will speak (have not shouted yet)always had and always will and about blame this did not just fall from the sky someone approved it. I won’t even go into details of offensive work in our stages maybe not to you but to me and it could go easily be flipped. We can go on about this but ultimately I am still offended. how do you find practical way to change…follow your heart and your own truth

  15. I am with Marianne and Faniswa on this one, wholeheartedly, The “loin mudded kneeling thing’ -as Faniswa calls it was for me deeply disturbing. I cringed over and over. Made me feel hollow and sad. It was amplified by the beautiful dancing these very same actors did inbetween kneeling on the ground with head and eyes lowered. hand outstretched. Ag nee sis.

  16. Ukhona Mlandu

    I share with you a letter that I wrote to Irma Albers of Distell the day after the Fleur du Caps (19 March 2012). She has since acknowledged receipt of the email and has committed that the organisation would respond to all concerns raised by others.

    I share to offer those of you who don’t seem to find issue with the way the awards proceedings were conducted problematic an insight into what it felt like as a black person sitting in that audience.

    Secondly to bring accross that the comments that the event and the awards are “white” are legitimate and that there are those of us who are willing to be engaged in a constructive conversation aorund this claim and how to turn it around if ever there is a will to do so.

    “Dear Irma

    I hope you’re well.

    I write to offfer my feedback on the Fleur du Cap Theatre awards this year and in general.

    Invited guests: I really don’t think the decisions around who gets invited is treated with the accuracy and appropriateness that it deserves. The process of inviting guest for me requires whoever draws up the list to have kept their fingure on the pulse of what moves the industry in order to decide who the appropriate people to be invited ought to be. Failure to do this simply means that you open yourselves up for a host of assumptions as the event fails to reflect the industry appropriately.

    The ceremony: I found the ceremony offensive on a number of levels. The fact that in your decision to use more than one language at the awards you automotically alienated one official language of the western cape; isiXhosa. The practicality of using 3 languages may be impossible time wise and so perharps the safest bet was to use English as a middle ground or have host(s) that can move comfortably between the 3 languages.

    I also wish to add that as a black woman I take issue with your choice of hosts (2 white males) from a gender equity point of view as well as representation and reflection of our society.

    If you add to that and the fact that the only role that people of colour went on to have at the ceremony was that of mud covered,loin cloth dressed faceless subject whose role it was to geneflect and kneel handing out awards.That is not a flattering image of the place that people of colour occupy in the industry. Artistically and on any other level I dare say, with all the respect in the world that this was in extreme bad taste. I personally don’t know wat the director was trying to achieve. The representation was hugely offensive.

    The awardees and the awarded: I will not go into that at length because I want to believe that Distell is open to a conversation around how to bettering the awards and making them more inclusive. Please expect a proposal and/or a request for a meeting from a few of us in the industry to offer recommendations rather than to criticize from the sidelines in the next 2 months.

    I also need it to be understood that for me what is at question is not Distell’s commitment to the arts but to highlight the barriers that exist towards making the Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards inclusive and reflective our society and the industry and also acknowledging that the imbalances that can not be overlooked that need to be redressed.

    My premise for the formal communication is summed by the following quote: “How much does one know of the true feelings of those who do not have a voice?”. Its in the spirit of activating that voice which I trust will be recieved in the same spirit that it is intended and that will be accompanied with a firm commtiment to this painful process called change.

    Yours sincerely
    Ukhona Mlandu

    Please note that I write this email in my personal capacity.”

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