Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: March 2012 (Page 1 of 3)

Most Magical Mhla Salamana (When our Eyes Met)

This will be the first time I ever write about a play that moved me to tears even though I hardly understood a word. Mhla Salamana is one of this year’s offerings at the Baxter Theatre’s Zabalaza Theatre Festival, directed by Thando Doni with Aphiwe Menziwa, Mkhuseli Tafane, Asanda Rilityana and with awesome acapela soundscape by  Muzik Sensation.

It tells the all too familiar story of how a beautiful relationship can go wrong, with misunderstanding leading to abuse and violence, and how children are so badly damaged by the friction of their parents. In this case it is how this story is told by the brilliant cast and musicians that makes it in turns hilarious, delightful, warm, clever, touching, chilling and shattering. I could not believe how deeply, profoundly affected I was as we all rose as one to give the cast a standing ovation. Storytelling, physical theatre and stylized movement heighten the content, but it is the characterisation and connection between the three characters that is absolutely superb.

Mhla Salamana was the only Zabalaza show I saw this festival, but if this doesn’t get a full run I don’t know what will. Brilliant, original, moving, totally exciting local theatre. Bravo Thando, Richard, Asanda, Aphiwe and Muzik Sensation.

Saving the Rhino

I am about to propose the most hard-core, radical idea I have ever had. I am sure it is going to be considered truly outrageous and many will say it is cruel and heartless, but honestly, I can’t take the rhino poaching any more.

I can’t look at the pictures of these massive animals with their bloody and hacked faces. I can’t stomach the sight of them. I want to gag every time one of them is left alive after such a brutal attack. I am horrified and sickened every time another one  gets killed, and this news comes to us on a daily basis.

I have given up hope that there is an organisation or government or group that can combat this unbearable, ruthless, despicable scourge and I can’t imagine how we can turn the tide. I am deeply afraid that the killing of rhino will only come to an end when the last one has been killed. We are not saving these animals whose lives are in danger from the moment they grow a horn. We are not protecting them, however good our intentions are, and the odds are they will be slaughtered in the cruelest way until they are all dead.

So I propose we kill them all tomorrow. We have failed them and cannot guarantee their safety or a quality of life. Let’s kill them as swiftly and painlessly as possible and bury or burn their bodies. Let’s not leave one of them open to more pain, suffering, abuse and certain cruelty. Yes, there will be no more rhino on this planet and it will be our fault. All of us. But at least they will have been spared the hideous cruelty of humans forever more. I am not joking. I am deadly, horribly serious. I am desperate to change my mind, but nobody has given me a hint of hope that there is anything else that can be done. Humans don’t deserve them.

The Lala Man

When I was a tiny child, growing up in Yeoville and then Observatory Johannesburg, there was the thing that I was the most afraid of and it was the Lala man. He wore a dress (kaftan) and a hard red fez with a tassle on it. He had a maraca style shaker and he carried an old, brown cardboard suitcase. And he sang, which is why I called him the Lala man, and that is what he became known as in my family. He would walk the streets of Yeoville and neighbouring Observatory singing, and I was absolutely terrified of him. I don’t know why. If I was at home and I heard him coming I would run inside and hide. I can’t remember if he ever actually came to the door, but I think I did understand that he didn’t want money, he wanted to talk. If I was with a parent in Rockey or Raleigh Street and we heard him coming, I would freeze and remain in the OK Bazaars, or Squires, or Kenmere Pharmacy until he had walked past. I couldn’t even look at him. It was too scary. My parents laughed, and laughed off my irrational fear, and probably dismissed the silly childhood fear fantasy, and yet it has stayed with me my whole life. I even remember having nightmares about the Lala man.

When I think about it now, the Lala man was obviously some kind of lay preacher, spreading the word of Christianity. But for a relatively sheltered Jewish child, growing up in Joburg in the late 60s and early 70s, there was no context for this strange black man and what he did.

There is this amazing, nostalgic group on facebook We Grew Up IN & AROUND YEOVILLE! and every time I visit I can’t help but think of the Lala man. I have no real idea who or what he was, and yet, when I think about those times I always remember him.

A breath of fresh improv

Chicago improv veteran Joe Bill has been with us these last ten days, running workshops, classes and playing with us. What an amazing treat, on every level, but for me in a very particular way. Because I started our group almost 20 years ago I am by far the oldest, and have seen people come and go. This means that even when I am not the boss, I am, and I very seldom get told what to do. Having Joe there to be in the instructor position has meant that I could just play, and be naughty and risky and properly spontaneous (not that I don’t strive for that always) and also, I can be part of the group in a completely different way.

Joe has also taught us two new forms of long form improv; BAT (one of his own wicked inventions), and Harold, a famous format played all over the improv world with the usual success and failure that comes with long form Harold.

Last night we played a short TheatreSports show and then did a baby (short) Harold to the delight of our audience who screamed for an encore when we were done. How cool is that?

I love playing TheatreSports in the school hols because we have full houses, and last night’s was exactly that. So; a great team, hilarious games and stories, delicious Joe Bill, a great full house and that special magic satisfaction that comes from making it up as you go along made for a great night.

Thanks Joe Bill.

Good Hair Day

Surprise! A health and beauty tip from me, on my birthday. Yup. Believe it ‘coz it’s true.


When Gally first came to my house at the end of 2002, as part of a pack of six Taiwanese rescues, I was desperate to find a home for her. I already had Bayla, the first of the Taiwanese refugees, and I didn’t see how I would have two dogs. But nobody came forward to have her, and Gally, the temporary name I gave her (from Girly) stuck around. She had never been a house dog before, and she had no idea what she was doing. She chewed our couch, piece by piece, into bite size pieces.

Those were crazy days. For five or so weeks I looked after three of Nicole and Nick’s dogs, and Gally and Bayla, in our small house in Gardens. I would take the pack out to Camp’s Bay beach for walks. The first time Gally was off the lead she ran and galloped over the red and white marker tape cordoning off a section of the beach as if she were a racehorse. My friend Graham and I, who were walking them,  had never witnessed such joy ever before.

Gally loved entirely uncomplicatedly, and she chose Big Friendly to love the most. He was chosen by her the second time they met, when she reached over and claimed him by putting her paw on his thigh. It was as if I married Big Friendly so he could be Gally’s. And she devoted herself to him, and him to her. Big Friendly let her go into the disgusting black mud in Keerboom park. He chased her when he was the only one she would ever play with; she never understood games. He would scout parks, beaches and fields for dogs she might be scared of even though she was always the aggressor.

A true Pavlov’s dog, just the sound of plastic poo bags being ripped off the roll got her tail wagging, even at the end when she struggled to stand.

She was the most photogenic dog. Between Big Friendly and I we have thousands of pictures of our pretty girl with black make-up eyes.

We console ourselves that she was one of the best loved dogs in all the world. Here is the last photo I took of her; in a position she loved, looking out on the ‘hood. Even though she looks so healthy and conscious she struggled to get to her favourite place, and couldn’t stay there long.

Our house is heartbreakingly and silently empty of dogs now and we can’t sleep. Bye bye Gally. In my childish dog heaven fantasy Bayla was waiting for you and she is behind you now, biting your back legs and urging you to bark at strangers.

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