Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: July 2009 (Page 1 of 3)

TheatreSports is beautiful

tsmegcanice There is no doubt I have been feeling weird about stuff the last while. That’s why it is so fabulous to have TheatreSports in my life. We are a small group at the moment. Tandi has just had a baby, Brett got married and went on honeymoon, Candice is leaving on holiday for three weeks and others have been and gone. The urgency to train up a new lot of players has definitely got greater, but it’s a difficult thing to organise; people don’t have the money, and it’s that awkward mid year time.

Which is why last night was extra special. We had a small but sweet audience at The Intimate (half had seen us before and half were newbies) who were treated to a delightful, wacky, hilarious and totally creative show. It had that thing, that spark, that magic. We all played together and created the weirdest, most interesting scenes and stories, and had an absolute blast.

And tonight we do a different one at The Kalk Bay Theatre. I can’t wait.

Skool Plays

Last night we went to a glittering affair at the Jan van Riebeek Hoerskool. It was the presentation of their school plays (three of them) and a three course meal in between. On arrival we were greeted with a civil little sherry and we entered the very posh school hall and sat at tables, beautifully decked out with blomme and everything. It was a bit like being at a bar mitzvah, except everyone was Afrikaans instead of Jewish.

How I got there was I had done a favour for a friend of mine’s son. He was involved with the sound for two of the productions and I had recorded the voice of the puppet for one of their shows; a cross between Nkosasana Dlamini-Zuma and Evita Besuidenhout, who speaks bad Afrikaans with a black accent. When I recorded the stuff I had no clue what I was doing, but seeing it on stage was hilarious. That was the first play, performed by the grade 8 and 9’s and it was brilliant. The next two were less successful (and harder to follow, although it is worth mentioning that I’d had more than a wee dram of red wine), but the plays were secondary to what impressed me about the whole thing.

There I was, surrounded by parents who had paid R150 a ticket for the evening and who were entirely devoted to the support of their children, who were making theatre. I was unbelievably impressed with a school who could put together three well made, well rehearsed and well designed plays. And I was blown away by the commitment and enthusiasm (and a few examples of amazing talent) of the kids themselves.

I left with a great sense of hope that theatre could really be happening in this country. Yay. Bravo and thanks to all involved.

The Femina shoot

I wasn’t hardly at!!

An Encounter with Music

After a couple of months of just theatre; making, producing, watching, performing and commenting, I did what other people do on a beautiful, sunny Cape Town Saturday afternoon. I went to a shopping centre! I had a good excuse. I went to see one of the documentaries at the Encounters doccie festival, called Music from the Inside Out.

I could not believe how many people there were at the V&A Waterfront. Hellzbells. They weren’t all coming to see the doccie though. It was a delightful little movie, a personal look at some of the members of the Philadelphia Symphony orchestra and their thoughts and feelings about music and what it’s like to play in a huge team. It was delicious to hear the music and get to know the personalities. I couldn’t believe how many Israelis there are in the orchestra. Overall a really sweet movie.

Afterwards we went for a drink. My sister-in-law is down in SlaapStad, rehearsing Show Boat, and she wanted to sit somewhere pretty, so we went to this tappas place that has these great windows looking over the sea, Granger Bay and the new Green Point Stadium. We had glasses of wine that cost more than I normally spend per bottle. Oh Waterfront, oh snobby V&A.

The Birthday Party

On my way to The Little Theatre last night, for The Mechanicals opening of Harold Pinter‘s The Birthday Party, I flashed back to a most amazing memory. I remember it being a Saturday night; I was still at high school, and SABC 1, 2 and 3 were called something else (anyone remember what?), when Yvonne Banning, the continuity announcer, introduced one of her favourite plays and playwrights, Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party. I remember being absolutely blown away. It was my first introduction to the play and his work and it was like watching a completely absurd horror movie that I hardly understood but loved.

That set up quite an expectation for me last night, which is a bit unfair since I am twenty five years older and have been through all the Pinter pieces that we did for our end of year auditions at drama school. Still, there was that feeling. And Chris Weare directing! (who probably taught me all I know about Pinter anyway).

The minute I saw the set I got it. That Pinter feeling. And certainly, when it started, with the wordless (and super talented and versatile) Scott Sparrow in the light, I shivered. Unfortunately, that menace, tension and confusion was quickly dissipated and never really came back. Oh the cast were good(ish), but they never really cracked it, and as I left the theatre I was trying to work out why.

So here are some of my thoughts. I think with Pinter you need a very long and focused rehearsal process and I think it’s possible the piece was under rehearsed. This means that the moments, the famous Pinter pauses, the bleakness and most importantly the savage menace were lost. I love the idea of a repertory company, and I’m even very jealous that I’m not part of one. I love the idea of the different seasons of work that a rep company can put on, but I do think that with a Pinter you need to give the piece proper, long rehearsal time. In a rep company actors are forgiven for being a bit too young, or not exactly 100% natural choices for the part, but then they have to work doubly hard to get it right.

Here, accents were dodgy, characters didn’t sit and stay, and the whole piece didn’t behave itself. Except for Nicholas Pauling, who stood out for me as absolutely brilliant. He is Pinter weird, darkly powerful and really, really good.

I think this piece will get better later in the run. But I would like to see it with about a month’s more detailed rehearsal time.

Life after Noah

So Noah of Cape Town opened on Saturday night and so did the heavens, bucketing down and causing flash flooding and chaos in our city. A big, if dangerous, release I think.

I also need to release. Noah has been all consuming for me this year, and while I am totally proud, awestruck, dedicated and still determined that it have a long life, I need to get stuck in to a few other things that need my attention.

The first of these is TheatreSports, one of my first and oldest loves, which has been ticking over nicely in the background and now needs to fly. I want to find a long term sponsor for TheatreSports. TheatreSports needs to be played and learned at every school and every schools festival. We need full houses at our weekly performances and more shows during the school holidays. We need money for a proper marketing campaign if we do next year’s long and ambitious Grahamstown festival. We need to put our plans of hosting a TheatreSports world cup into action.

Then there is The Tent, the play I wrote which showcased at Artscape’s New Writing Programme last year, and has been given a full run this year. I am really blessed that this new work of mine is being supported by this programme and allowed to grow and develop. We go into rehearsals in October and have a two week run in November. I am so excited to get my teeth into that one again.

Up next though is another of my industrial theatre projects. For the last five years I have been working with a client, creating half hour plays that perform as part of a National road show, and this year there are two different plays. We did the first one quite recently in May and June and the next one starts rehearsing at the end of August. Although it’s challenging to come up with new and fresh ideas on a similar theme and concept, I love the characters that we have created and I love the team of actors that have become their own little family.

So there is lots to look forward to and I need to get very busy.

But before that I must remind you to go and check out Noah of Cape Town. Now. You might want to see it more than once.

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