Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: October 2020

Lost Property – a virtual, live, global connection

I could feel it in my body the whole week and finally, when Jaci de Villiers (friend and director), Zane Gillion (co-actor) and Gys de Villiers (hero and stage directions reader) met on Zoom for a rehearsal of my play Lost Property I freaked out. My technology was horrible (internet woes), I struggled with my glasses and the screen, I couldn’t work out how to sit, or what angle, and I was a proper mess. Our rehearsal dissolved and I was scared and horrified. What would happen on the day, Saturday, when we would do a live reading?

I really had to think hard about what was wrong. Of course, it was more than one thing, but one of the biggest things was that my body and heart were remembering and wanting to be in the physical world of Jersey City, performing live, at a live festival. That’s what was going to happen pre-COVID. The other thing, a big thing, is that the play is one of the most prophetic pieces of writing I have made and it does make me all strange and weird, but that is a story for another day.

Our rehearsal on Friday went really well – I had (temporarily it turned out) sorted out my internet connectivity, had given myself a big fat pep talk and I reminded myself why I wanted to do this work in the first place.

And so on Saturday at 6pm we went live. Yes I froze a couple of times. No, it wasn’t serious. Yes I had all the usual performer fears and nerves. No, they didn’t get in the way of delivering our connection, characters and intentions. And we performed our hearts out, on Zoom, at a virtual, international festival of political work. We had an audience. We had positive feedback. And it was amazing.

Obviously I still want to get to Jersey City to do a proper run. Obviously I would love to do a run in South Africa. But being part of this festival is amazing. A global, network of theatre and art people from all over has been built and brought together by artistic director of the Jersey City Theatre Centre, Olga Livina, and it is amazing. Check out the website. See what’s on offer. Free talks, amazing shows from around the world. Connect, engage, celebrate VOICES from those who struggle to speak, in politically ravaged countries from around the world.


Louise Westerhout perfect Partner in Rebellion

I am writing to introduce my dear readers to my new best thing; a friendship and collaboration that had its seeds planted in a mutual admiration circle BL (Before Lockdown), grew and sprouted DL (During Lockdown) and must/will endure beyond into AL (you guessed it). Louise Westerhout is an extraordinary being and we are similar and different in all the right places.

Louise is a yoga instructor, magic maker, divinator and tarot reader, Reiki master, curator, art manifestation maker, mother, rebel, path finder and chameleon comedian. She is also a vegan, human, model, mover, creature.

And we are cooking up a thing. From the 2 -5 December we will be presenting/facilitating/playing an hour long something called Murmurations and the rehearsal/play time/conversations we are having are some of the best things that have ever happened to me. Louise has hauled me out of a heartbreak space, personally and to do with theatre. I swore I would never get back onto a stage performing my own work, and she has delighted a path for me to really want to.

We meet and talk with wide eyes and lots of hands and jumping up and down. We plant ideas, blow them up, forget, reinvent, explore, and mostly take and make joy. A bit like those kooky scientists in Mythbusters who did whack job experiments on things.

Right now we have decided on a different theme for each night. This may change. But if it doesn’t it is going to be pretty wild. There will be stories. And garden furniture. And maybe a pool. And tea. And hula hoops. There might be make up and dress up. There will definitely be dancing. There may be tears. There will be an invitation to get to know the world a bit better in under an hour. Or not.

Right now we are inventors, inverters, exhibitors and deliberators. Our motto is everything is everything. In small and big letters. We challenge, console, ridicool and rejoice. We always ask, “Is this a wank?” but we don’t really know the answer, or even care. We do care about each other though. And ourselves. And those who will come. We are already in love with them.

You can book already for Murmurations here and you should probably. It is going to be another kind of a something.


White Tears Black Pain

I was part of a panel discussion on Facebum last night, on the Im4theArts platform. the title of the discussion was Racism – the culprit that makes the visible invisible. It was a heated and charged conversation. You can watch the whole thing here.

I was surrounded by some of the most extraordinary and powerful women, Firdoze Bulbulia, Veronica King, Sibongile Mngoma, and one man, Thandile Petshwa, and I think we raised some sparks.

The profoundest moments for me were when the panelists were able to burst out with things that sat heavily on their chests. I realise how seldom that happens; that cordiality and politeness are usually adhered to in these ‘conversations’ and this often disguises the raw emotions of anger and pain.

I was not in the mood to let things go today. So not the best day to get into a Facebum comments war.

I have just finished a frustrating and immature ‘conversation’ on a Facebum thread where my friend Ashley Brownlee raised a few uncomfortable points about the Senekal farm murder and the response to it. I was taken on by a white male ‘I don’t see colour’ ist, and ‘murder is murder’ and ‘you don’t know how I grew up’ ist when I suggested that white pain is individualised and black pain is generalised and minimised. This man went from telling me I didn’t know what I was talking about, in his opinion, to whitesplaining, then mansplaining, then telling me to fuck off and have a nice life.

There is nothing more violent and painful than a white man whitesplaining the equality of pain. This is racism waving its supremacist banner from the volks monument. It is rainbowism, get over it, all lives matter and it is brutally triggering and painful.

Apartheid, colonialism, slavery and the genocides and oppression they brought has meant that pain sits differently for victim and perpetrator. White pain is individualised and black pain is generalised. This must be understood, acknowledged and taken into consideration by white people, because skin is advantage and oppressor. Until that happens there can be no demand that black people be empathetic. It’s ridiculous and preposterous. The oppressor needs to move, acknowledge, shift first. And on rural farms there is no movement and there hasn’t been in 27 years.

And a last footnote for the Facebum white peanut gallery. Just because a white person was not personally responsible for Apartheid doesn’t mean they don’t still benefit from being white. All black people are historically disadvantaged and are expected to follow white rules of individualisation to ‘get ahead’. This may not shift in our lifetime, but I hope it does. And the noise of its success will drown out your whining.

Going Live

So, while I have been meeting with the fierce and magnificent Louise Westerhout as we dream up our new piece of what so far is anti-theatre, I have not been in a rehearsal space with more than one person at a time until last night. Last night I went to my church of improv and co-facilitated my first live session with Tandi Buchan since COVID and lockdown. ImproGuise’s Improv 4 Life is literally that. Improv for life.

Yes we all wore masks. Yes there were 11 of us in a huge, huge room. Yes we spoke about our fears and discomforts. And then we entered into the magical play space of improv and we were blessed with cooperation, creativity and inspiration, in spades, buckets and loads.

I left the room energised and I woke up this morning bouncing. And now I am entering the space of how to have an audience. Slowly sending tentacles out. Slowly emerging into theatre.

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