Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: April 2011 (Page 2 of 3)

The Deep Red Sea

There is something magnificent about ‘birthing’ a collaboration, a co-creation. I started writing The Deep Red Sea almost five years ago. I had been told the story by a friend. It was a true story, that had happened to her friend. I immediately knew that I wanted to do something with it but I had no idea what. And one day, while walking the dogs, I just knew how it needed to be written down. It took ages to finish. I handed the completed writing around and got mixed responses. It was too long. It was too short. It should become a movie. It was too verbose. It was undefinable. I also had my own mixed responses to it because, now that it was written down, I didn’t know how it was going to become the thing that it needed to be, or even what that thing was. Was it a movie? Was it a voice recorded story (I even tried that out)? Was it a puppet show? I kept on having the feeling that it had a “mixed media” feeling to it, but I didn’t know what I was meaning.

Then I went to vaun cornell‘s exhibition of paintings. As I walked in there was a movie playing on the wall, and I felt deeply connected to it. It was vaun in the act of making a painting, as if she was the voice and character of The Deep Red Sea. She was doing the action, the job, the calling of the person in exactly the way I envisaged it.

I took her the story the next day. We are two somebodies who do things in a hurry and so we wanted to do this thing. But that’s not really how it works.

I don’t know how long ago that was, but suddenly it is falling into place and we are going to try it out. On Sunday 8 May we are doing The Deep Red Sea. It will be me, reading the story. It will be vaun’s paintings during the story, and her paintings in the venue. It will be Sigrun Paschke making music and sounds, and Nica Cornell doing everything else we need, like lights and tech and advice. It will be a gathering.

So, the details are Sunday 8 May. R70 a ticket. Doors open at 1830 and the ‘show’ starts at 1930. It’s at The Kalk Bay Theatre and you can call 0732205430 to book. You can even pre-book a platter for two (R65) with the restaurant.

PS. When I drive home, late at night, from the Kalk Bay side, I see the water that is the water of the Deep Red Sea; the moon, shining on the waves and turning the sea, white black red black white black red. Sharks live in that water.


A modern, local, young and fresh vampire play, right around the corner from where I live! I went to see CLAN last night and it was vamp-tastic. Best play I’ve seen this year. It’s on at Theatre in the District, but only for a week, so if you want to be part of the inner circle of cool with style and meaning, and be surrounded by the hot young blood of the cast and crew, hurry and don’t get all Capetonian or you’ll miss it.

CLAN is the brainchild of Francesco Nassimbeni, who wrote and directs. It’s a huge cast of seven (in this day and age) and they are in no particular order, Richard Lothian (who I just completely love) Nicole Bailey (who I haven’t seen before but who was delicious), Gahlia Phillips (the beautiful), Armand Aucamp (the completely most delicious), Roxanne Blaise (doing the best and most fabulous work I’ve seen her do), Johann Vermaak (who is very funny) and Juliet Jenkin (who is totally power, quirky, perfect). That’s all I’m going to say about them individually because CLAN is pure teamwork, on every level.

It’s a great story, well rehearsed and developed. The simple set is brilliant. The cozzies are fabulous (except for the bras; my only niggle). The cast look and sound fantastic in the space. The huge high ceilings of the ex-chapel (I know!) and the massive chandelier are perfect. The lighting works. The choreography works. The characters are successful. The show captivates from the first word (and lighter) to the last. The music (did I hear Klaus Nomi; the immortal from my past?) is perfect. The combination of sexy, earnest, funny, loveable, is exactly what will make people (especially young disaffected non-theatre goers) want to see the show (more than once even) and be part of CLAN. Even I had a yearning to go clubbing and drinking (my friend’s blood).

You can book by email on (how can you resist it?) It costs R40. I kid you not. Really, you can’t get anything for R40.

Heather Mac magic

Picture this. It is 1983. I have jumped down the stairs into the cavern basement smoke of The Mix. I am in first year at ‘varsity and my Cape Town is a triangle between main campus, Drama school in Gardens, and Shortmarket Street, where The Mix is. It is a Friday or Saturday night and Ella Mental are playing live. I can barely contain myself. The band starts up and a new wave/spidergirl/chameleon/warpainted/cousin of Adam Ant/jerky dancing magician arrives on stage. And then there is the voice. That voice.

Ella Mental sang out my youth, my South Africa, my creative passions. Ella Mental was the band version of what I wanted to do on stage. Heather Mac was exactly who I wanted to be. 

Today I have just come back from a rehearsal with Heather Mac and her new band as they put final touches to the show that launches her new album, Within, tomorrow night at The Baxter. And, I was standing in a doorway, listening to them, and I got that feeling again. I can only describe it as sheer inspiration connection.  Obviously, the songs are much more grown up, the mood has shifted, some stuff is mellower, more layered, more loaded. But, there was a moment, with even her back to me, I was transported. I went straight to that magic, Heather Mac of my youngness, and I fell in love all over again.

Join me when I celebrate tomorrow night at The Baxter!

Coffee and political inspiration

I had one of those most delicious coffees today with a somebody who I think is fantastic, Charl Johan Lingenfelder, and he filled me with a sense of true, crazy, bubbling inspiration; something I haven’t felt in a while. It was a proper exchange of ideas that left me wishing I could dash into our world and do them all! It was also exciting because we shared thoughts without payoff or payback, we got hysterical about ‘things in common’, and passionate about ‘stuff that counts’.

One of his ideas was a strongly political one, which totally suited my mood, since I have been preoccupied with politics approaching this election. The truth is that I’d love to get involved, but can’t visualise my place, skills, and most importantly political party affiliation. But, it got me thinking about a campaign that I think would be so brilliant, and I want to put it here, and see what kind of response it gets.

I want to choose a date, towards the end of 2012, say, the 25 November. It will be known as “The Cut Off Date”. The day before November 25 2012 will be the last day for blame. It will be the last day for excuses, scapegoating, passing the buck. It will be the last day for racists. It will be the last day for corruption to go unnoticed or unpunished. The day before “The Cut Off Date” will be the last day for taking chances with other people’s lives, the last day for government to blame the past for its lack of delivery, the last day for people to use their colour (whatever it is), gender, age, language, education, sexual orientation, and situation in general as a reason for entitlement of any kind. It will be the last day that anyone elected in any government or civil servant position will not be audited by those who put them in those positions. It will be the last day where treating someone without dignity will be tolerated.

The Cut Off Date will be the first day where people are rewarded for good service. Actions will be replaced by promises, work will happen instead of meetings. No more white or pink or blue papers on how things should be, only how things should be. It will be the first day where not one cent of South African tax money will ever be spent on another commission to prove the guilt of or find the blame for, because we won’t need to. The Cut Off Date will signify a change from telling to listening, handouts to sharing, lectures to conversations. Ok, I know I’m getting soppy, unrealistic and romantic here. But that’s what I want. I want a Cut Off Date.

On that date people will stop waiting and start living.

A day without shoes

Yesterday was the official “day without shoes” to create awareness for people who have no shoes. All good and well(ish), I guess, but in retrospect it was a moment of proper “slacktivism”.

I walked around barefoot yesterday. I saw the initiative on Facebook and it sounded like a good idea; one that was not difficult to follow and, if loads of people did it, a nice way to create awareness and get people to donate shoes. But, the reality was that it was a complete waste of time and here are some of the reasons why. Firstly, lots of people choose to go shoeless in Cape Town. It’s a hippy thing. Secondly, there was no collection point in Cape Town where you could drop off a pair of shoes. (I have a donated pair of real Crocs in the boot of my car, waiting for shoeless feet). Thirdly, unless you told people why you had no shoes on they just thought you were being dof, or Capetonian, or both. And then we had a sold out TheatreSports show last night and Brett and I played barefoot, but of course the audience had no idea why. Big flop, if you ask me.

So what is interesting to take away from the experience is that good intentions need proper support, good direction, good execution and real action to have an impact. Big Friendly warned me this morning that if it was No Underwear Day today he wasn’t going to play with. He has a nose for Slacktivism; where clicking a link to support a cause only has the effect of making the clicker feel better for two seconds.

So much for not walking around in someone else’s shoes for a day.

KKNK by Simon

Herewith Simon’s final pronouncements on his last day of shows at the KKNK. Next year I’ll have to go myself!

Last day at the KKNK as I head back to Cape Town tomorrow to, amongst other things, participate in the TheatreSports promotional evening at KBT.   Two things under the “General Impressions” banner – this question of reserved vs unreserved seats; one thing reserved seating does do is cut out the mad rush to get in first and get prime seats.    The show I went to last night [of which more later] was due to  start at 20h30 but by that time the previous show was only coming out – something had gone wrong – don’t know what.   The venue staff did the right thing and told us what was happening and everybody obediently got in two queues to get in.   But there was absolutely no angst and attempts to jump the queue as everyone had booked a particular seat and was cool about it.

Then there is the size of the venues – and here I am talking about drama venues not music venues.   Man are they big compared to Grahamstown and they get filled it seems.   Maybe 50 plays and 130 music shows is the right mix.   I remember Deon Opperman telling me very emotionally that he doesn’t like Grahamstown because he gets audiences of 50 to 100 while at the KKNK he gets 500.   I now see what he meant.

Oh and one other thing – if you are a light sleeper and won’t take drugs to cure the problem, don’t book accommodation near the epicentre of the festival as the music bangs on until late, late.

OK so today I went to the markets – here you pay R40 to get into the market area for a day – a sort of a cover charge.   The market here is as bland as the Village Green at Grahamstown has become – stacks of clothing, lots of religious or emotional kitsch and very little of interest.  I bought a magic paint box for each of my grandchildren and a pair of veldskoens for me and that was about it.

Last evening went to see Shaleen Surtee-Richards’ latest show.  A long time ago comedians such as Pip Friedmann made a living out of imitating coloured people and looking back, it was all a bit condescending and not nice.   More recently a number of people, notably the Joe Barber guys and Shaleen herself and others have turned Cape Flats humour into a genuine sub-genre of comedy.   Her latest show “AS EK MAAR GEWEET HET” is well within that sub-genre.   It takes the form of someone in heaven looking back at aspects of her life.  While it has some funny lines, overall it fails.   Some of the subject matter, such as teenage pregnancy and domestic violence, while very much of serious concern, are not done dealt with convincingly.   It all  fell a bit flat and while the audience as a whole tried very hard to enjoy, they too failed.   So a curate’s egg finish.

Final conclusion – I will be back.


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