Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: August 2012 (Page 1 of 2)

Inspiring Imbewu

Last night I went to the announcement of the winning playwright (Gabriella Pinto) in Imbewu Trust’s Scribe competition. (I had also entered a play, which made me both interested and involved). It took the form of a party, feedback on Tin Bucket Drum, Neil Coppen’s play that Imbewu took to New York, and a couple of beautiful speeches by Sam De Romijn and Paul Griffiths.

Sam is the heart/head behind Imbewu. She calls herself a theatre activist. She wants to grow the creative economy of theatre. She is funny, quirky, clever and amazing. I am going to follow her and all her stuff. You can too. Go and see the shows Imbewu is involved in. Visit their website. Help her in “celebrating the beginning of a new life force in the South African theatre landscape”.

Post GIPCA thinking

I will steal Juliet’s numbering system (stealing was a theme too) and put down some random post GIPCA Directors and Directing Playwrights thoughts here. You are welcome to add your own in the comments section. One of the best parts of the GIPCA forum is that it engages such lively debate; both on and off the floor.

1. It is totally different being a participant. Different, exiting, good, complicated.

2. I love the talking, but still, ultimately, I love watching performance more.

3. I love the range of work on offer and the many voices that make them.

4. I am amazed that there  is a genuine market for this sort of symposium. Who would have thought?

5. Jay Pather is amazing.

6. Malcolm Purkey, Mark Fleishman, Penny Youngelson, Mandla Mbothwe, Myer Taub, Brett Bailey, to name a few off the top of my head, are very clever.

7. I love that Tracey Saunders and Marina Griebenouw attend the whole thing.

8. I am surprised how frustrated I get when people’s questions are inarticulate or rambling, and then mine end up being that too.

9. I am shocked at how uncomfortable arrogance makes me.

10. I am shocked at how badly I need feedback.

12. I am intrigued about how different the male and female voices in theatre are.

13. I am amazed that the struggle, war, debate is the same.

14. I like GIPCA’s catering.

15. The event has an amazing organisational team, and Adrienne and Themba in particular rock.

16. The theatre world is not generous enough.

17. Actors, directors, writers and academics are very complicated.

18. I have a group of magnificent and supportive friends.

19. It is easier to perform if you know the words.

20. Improv is a huge love.

21. I admire Amy Jephta. She is always so clear.

22. Sunday mornings are not an easy time to perform.

23. Brett Bailey is king of design.

24. You can watch good theatre in any language and understand or be moved. Thando Doni’s Eutopia was fabulous.

25. Our world is different now that there is a GIPCA symposium accepted as a yearly reality.

26. Nicholas Spagnoletti is hilarious.

27. We all know each other, mostly.

28. I am torn between continuing writing this blog, and not writing it. Is it helpful, damaging, bullshit, useful? Let me know.

29. I made new friends and I am a fan of more.

30. I conclude that theatre is not for sissies. (I have no idea who it is actually for)


The true story after the fury has abated

I have reread my last post 50 times. I wanted to double check that I had made myself clear. I expressed my anger and hurt and disappointment at having my home turned down as unsuitable for a dog. I explained that I was coming from that place. I said that I understood that PETS had every right to turn down my application but that I believed they had made a mistake.

I do not deny that PETS volunteers do amazing work and take the animals into account first and foremost. That is why I approached them in the first place. I know that they do everything because they love and care for animals.

What happened is that they made mistakes and then went hysterical defending them. Here are some of the mistakes they made. They took forever to make contact with me. They did not share information. If Louis the home inspector had passed on only half of what we had discussed we would be in a completely different situation. I made it perfectly clear, more than once that I would never restrict an animal to my courtyard. I explained how my animals always had the complete run of the house, in winter and summer. I explained how I mostly work from home, and was able to be an almost constant companion. I explained how my past beloved dogs had been walked, come rain or shine, every day of their rescued lives. Louis and I discussed how Drake was not the dog for the space, nor for the cat. We discussed what type of dog would be better suited to the space. To be honest, I never dreamed it would be possible that I would have to defend myself on this level. I am so up front, forward, totally honest and with nothing to hide.

So how did it all go so hideously wrong? Firstly, there was a total breakdown of communication. Louis passed on a photo of my courtyard and did a screen shot of google maps to show where I lived. None of anything else we spoke about was communicated, and based on those images I was turned down. Instead of a discussion, we went to war. It was a war that started with ‘so sorry but…’, had a middle where an apology was demanded of me, and an end in shouting, vitriolic capital letters, with threats about how they would NEVER let me have an animal.

All of this could have been handled so differently, by an organisation who claims to have the animals’ best interests at heart. They needed to talk to me. I am not an idiot. I know about the conditions that most of these animals are rescued from. I make a conscious, deliberate choice to adopt rescued animals, give to all the charities that sterilise township animals. I drag feral cats from my neighbourhood to my own vet, to be sterilised at my expense. Big Friendly is the hero of animals in our neighbourhood and the saviour of many cats, and dogs. I have a personal relationship with the SPCA, who I call on a regular basis to check whether animals in my working class neighbourhood are being properly cared for. And I can speak, write (and spell) and explain. I should be the one they want to home a dog with. They should be presenting me with the many and varied (there are thousands of rescued dogs in the Western Cape alone) options, instead of narrow mindedly going on a rampage of such ugliness.

I generally find it very easy to say sorry if I have been in the wrong, or when I have made a mistake. This time I cannot see my wrong doing at all. PETS, I think it would be an amazing thing if you apologised for what has gone down, owned where you got it wrong, and we moved on. I am not asking you to change your mind about my application. I accept your decision. It would be great if you admitted that I had been overlooked in my capacity to provide a loving, amazing home for a deserving rescue and that you hadn’t done your homework. That is all.

Also, I am turning off all comments on this post. I have read the comments in the last one, both against me and for me, and I reserve the right, on my blog, to have this, the last word. If this doesn’t suit, please contact me via email. If I think your response is important I will post it here immediately, as I did with the other comments.

(Above is a pic of Gally, a couple of months before she died, and Chassie, checking out the world from our stoep.)


Small Fury

You all know how hysterical I got when my animals died, one in a tragic accident and two from old age. I am an animal person. Big Friendly has managed to stave off my countless attempts at getting ‘this dog’ or ‘that cat’ until I was back from my travels and we could offer a more stable environment, where I could invest time and energy into making a new adoption part of our home. Both Big Friendly and I are befok when it comes to animals and will do anything for them.

I have real concerns. Chassie our crazy boy cat went from being one of four to only child, and I have to make sure that any dog that comes into this environment understands that he is our little king. I believe this reflects the seriousness with which I am approaching the whole thing.

So, after a home inspection, I was turned down this morning as being unsuitable by PETS to adopt a dog because my property is too small and my courtyard unsuitable. I am in a complete froth of rage. PETS, An organisation that rescues dogs from dire situations, places them in foster homes (up to 42 of them at one property) has decided I can’t adopt a dog and should go for an adult cat instead.  Now, it’s not like I don’t share their concerns for placing animals appropriately. I do. But surely, part of the job is reading the people. Surely. PETS, I don’t understand what you are doing. I really don’t.

I will change my plan of action. I am determined to offer a rescued dog or puppy a better life. It is a no brainer. I just think that sometimes those big, animal egos get in the way of seeing real good.

Dear PETS, I do not ever want to read about how this or that poor animal was homed and then returned to you. I do not want to hear your plea for homes if you have no idea which ones are good ones. I wasn’t heard by you. You didn’t see me. You told me more about how you think animals should live than seeing how loved, pampered and well treated any animal would be in our care. You really suck. And you totally hurt my feelings.

I just want to be clear. There are many organisations out there. I am completely happy to go through a home inspection. I am happy to pay a big adoption fee. I know I can’t have the biggest dog. I know I need a dog that’s ok with cats. I’m not pissing around.

Here is a picture of the offending courtyard although why this is relevant I have no idea. I would never dream of confining a dog in it ever.

Creepy, darkly funny Murderer

It’s true I often heard the sound of just me laughing last night at The Mechanicals’ opening of Murderer at The Intimate. I do find weird things funny. Like a huge chainsaw being fetched from the back wall. And the sight of really skinny Norman (the amazing Carel Nel) having to move double his own body weight. But those things are just me.

Murderer by British playwright Anthony Shaffer, directed by Chris Weare, with Carel Nel, Nandi Horak, Dorian Burstein and Emily Child is a seriously odd and off-the-wall piece of ‘straight theatre’ that takes you to a dark place pretty quickly and leaves you there as things get worse.

I think it’s difficult to get a live theatre audience to have the kind of creeps they get in movies. It’s even harder when the characters are such a miserable bunch of unlikeables, but that is the success of Murderer. We might not like any of them but they can freak us out big time. Carel Nel as Norman, and Emily Child as his wife Elizabeth, are my favourites, taking the freaking to a whole new level.

I also loved the use of The Intimate (people are coming up with genius ways to interpret the space), the brilliant mix-n-match real and drawn set and very effective sound and lighting needed to create the atmosphere.

I think this play is going to get better and creepier as it goes along. If you love CSI this is better. If you’re a horror and thriller junkie with murder mystery in your blood, this live theatre version will do it for you. Otherwise you might just find it deeply, darkly funny in a revolting kind of way, which is also good.

The Official New Courses Press Release

We Improguisers, best known as the company who performs Cape Town’s best loved and longest running live improv show TheatreSports, will be running two fabulous and comprehensive improvisation workshops, starting on Thursday 6 September 2012, and running once a week for eight weeks.

One course will be Improv for Actors; aimed at taking trained actors through the aspects of improv that develop the skills of spontaneity, team work, characterisation, status, being present and truth, to name a few. The aim will be to get trained actors ready to perform both long and short form improv.

The second course, which will run concurrently, is for everybody. Do your friends and family tell you that you are funny? Was the last time you were on stage your school play, and do you miss it? Did you watch every episode of Whose Line is It Anyway? And think, “I can do that!” Have you seen TheatreSports and thought, “That’s what I want to do!” Are you a web designer, dog walker, gym instructor, radio announcer, or any other kind of somebody with a desire to improvise? Then this course is for you. It is a high impact, fast paced intro to improv that will make you feel fabulous. And, if you show promise, you could be invited to join the current team.

Course facilitators Megan Furniss, Tandi Buchan and Candice D’Arcy have returned from Improvention, a massive and inspiring Australian Improv festival, with the improv fire burning strong in their hearts and the vision of turning Cape Town into South Africa’s improv capital.

“We need a huge team of talented, committed improvisers to perform in all the formats, styles and shows we want to get going,” says improv veteran Megan Furniss. “We were so inspired, and saw so much, and back home we have an audience ready for new and exciting forms of improv”.

So, we want you! Contact Megan immediately to secure your place in either course, and to find out the finer details, like costs, times and venues.  cell:083 4403961 follow @meganshead and @theatresportsSA on Twitter

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