Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: May 2013 (Page 1 of 2)

Sweetest Same Time Next Year

One of the things I loved last night (at the opening of Bernard Slade’s play Same Time Next Year at the Kalk Bay Theatre) was what Simon Cooper said about this guy who saw this play (did he say 30 years ago?) and who loved it, and who has spent the last 10 years trying to get it onto stage. Then he said, “I am that guy and this is that play.”

But that wasn’t the only thing I loved about this completely charming, sweet and very funny play. I loved the (when I think about it it is quite ridiculous) idea of a married (to others) couple meeting for a weekend affair once a year for 25 years. I loved Chris Weare’s totally spot-on and immaculate directing. Because I see his work with students I know what an awesome teacher he is, but here, there is a certain freedom with working with Paul du Toit and Julie Hartley who are such professionals, and Chris’s directorial footprint is delicate but all over the piece. That’s probably because he also designed the production; a challenge because the play spans 25 years in the same space.

Mostly I loved Paul du Toit and Julie Hartley as George and Doris. Really, watching Paul is like watching a handsome Bob Newhart. He is quirky, hilarious and so, so funny and his timing is amazing. He makes us want to hang with George all the time, which is good, because that’s what the play is all about. Julie, as Doris, is totally different but as delicious. She is warm, sexy and lovely. I would also have fallen completely in love with her.

What is great about this production is that it embraces the fact that the play was obviously considered very modern when it was first performed in 1975, and as the audience we can’t help watching it with nostalgic, rose tinted glasses. This goes for its absolute Americanness too, which could have been a pain, but really wasn’t. That is helped by mostly very good accents by Paul and Julie.

To be honest, I can’t imagine anyone not loving, laughing through and enjoying Same Time Next Year. Catch it now at KBT, or in Grahamstown, at the festival.

Jam Sandwich next Thursday

Look what I am doing next Thursday… at Alexander Bar, R80, 2030


Impro­vised The­atre | Run­ning Time: 75 mins

“They slipped briskly into an inti­macy from which they never recov­ered.”
– Scott . F .Fitzger­ald

Lit­tle Space Between.

A series of Impro­vised moments that will explore rela­tion­ships through the per­sonal con­nec­tion we each have with love, sex and Inti­macy.  A group of expe­ri­enced Impro­vis­ers will be tak­ing a leap of faith into the deep and com­plex world of Inti­mate rela­tion­ships. Some that may involve phys­i­cal and sex­ual attrac­tion as well as lik­ing, belong­ing, lov­ing, a need to be cared for and good old fash­ioned romance.

Warn­ing: This show is com­pletely impro­vised and there­fore we can­not deter­mine what the out­come will be, but hope­fully we will explore com­edy, tragedy and the sur­real. Any­thing is possible!

Liz Mills Voice Boot Camp

Honestly, I can’t imagine why anyone would NOT do this.

Voice Boot Camp 2013

Play Club’s The Agony And Ecstasy of Steve Jobs

I hadn’t realised that Drew Rienstra had been nagging me to come to listen to the Play Club’s play readings until he came out and said it, at last night’s Play Club reading. I was on ‘the panel’ which just gave me an opportunity to talk a little more about what we had experienced. What that was, was a play reading of The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, a monologue style epic written (to be performed) by Mike Daisey. Here it was read by 7 actors. And there were tons of people squeezed around a table and then in the room at a shop in The Palms centre around the corner from me.

Drew had organised a brilliant Sunday arvie/evening affair, with wine and chocolate and scripts for everybody. It was a real occasion, and it worked. And my opinion of play readings certainly shifted as we sat and listened to these gorgeous young actors read.

The piece itself is another story. I know this kind of theatre well. It is the genre of message-driven monologue that Peter Hayes has been performing for years. (Get Hard, The Tricky Part, The Fence are just titles I can think of.) What I found the most fascinating here was that the audience, pretty much everyone who wasn’t me and other panel members Marina Griebenouw and Matthew Khalil, couldn’t separate the play from the message. I was much more interested in the question of it being a performed piece, while the audience could only experience it as the vehicle for the content. So interesting.

And of course, it got me thinking, about so many things. it got me thinking about my own rehearsals for my own monologue style performance starting today; Drive With Me, and how I have written it for ME to perform, and how my writing is informed by the WHO of the piece. I got thinking about how people NEED their money’s worth when it comes to theatre, and would rather be bored by a long piece than have something short to tickle, inspire and energise them. (The most constant feedback I got for Song And Dance was that it was too short). I got thinking about how people think that if they hear something, written and told by another human being, about something that exists, then it must be true. And that’s why, in this world, people can believe in advertising, and branding, and lifestyle choices, and why writers know that even a news item is just a story, a perspective, a tool, for writing. This piece is deliciously written for an actor, by an actor, to perform. I honour the writing here, more than what it says about Steve Jobs and Apple. But what is interesting is that a South African audience in particular, ate up the message. We did as we were told.

I loved the event. I will go to more Play Club play readings. I am still so full of questions about everything. Why will people go to readings and not to performances? I got to thinking about how shallow and narrow most South Africans’ experience and understanding of theatre is. I got to thinking how desperate I am to change that, or at least be part of the change.

So, rehearsals today, and improv performances at the usual time this week. I’ll go and see more plays, especially local ones, and try and not get depressed when people don’t come and see mine.

Theatre is my Conflict

It is so hard to explain my broken heart, with the one piece torn every time I think about the tiny audiences who decide to witness our amazing work in Song And Dance, where drumming up an audience has been harder than removing each hair off our bodies with nail bitten fingers one at a time. The other piece of heart is healthy and pumping, full of pride and joy, after opening our industrial theatre project to a delighted audience of 350 odd petrol pump attendants and cashiers. Yes, this audience was bussed in, and yes, they didn’t pay, and yes, there was a big, corporate budget for the whole snazzy roadshow, but I swear, it couldn’t be clearer to me that people do not want to PAY for theatre or make the effort to go. Or is it just the theatre that I make? Am I making theatre that people don’t want to see? Please, let me know. This piece of heart needs to be given a chance to die an honest death or to heal and call it a day.

Starting Drive with Me

It’s a week to go before I start proper rehearsals for Drive With Me with my director, the awesome Liz Mills, but I want to have learnt as many of my words as possible before we start. I have been learning them for about a month now, but not very seriously, and I am just under half way. You would think that because I wrote the words myself I would have an easier time of it, but it’s actually worse; I criticise the choices I have made and agonise about changing anything. These conundrums are brilliant time wasters and can tie me in knots and make me lose focus and concentration.

Then there is the dreaded and famous actor insecurity. Now I haven’t done a one-woman show since 1998, fifteen years ago, and I imagine it is like burying the memory of childbirth pain. My brain has forgotten the panic, endless doubt and questioning. I am terrified on so many levels. What will people think? Is it a bad idea? Will they ‘get it’? Will they like it? Will they come? Am I nuts?

I have to manage these fears before they get completely out of hand. I have to feel the love and trust the material. I have to pick up the script and persevere, and not give up when I go blank, again. See you later.

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