Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Category: Cape Town (Page 1 of 90)

Hooray May Improv and Live Performance

This May will be a huge milestone for me. I return to the stage in a tiny improv festival after over a year of no live improv, and I perform a strange and wonderful creation called Murmurations in front of a live audience. I am nervous, excited and a little bit overwhelmed. What I have taken for granted for most of my life is now a gift that is special and precious.

Our ImproGuise mini improv festival takes place from 6-8 May at The Galloway Theatre at the Waterfront Theatre School. Here is what you can expect on each night.

6 May – Game on! – Based on ou hugely popular short form, Theatresports, this is a super charged and fun improv show with an emcee, judges from the audience and 2 teams, competing in a series of short and outrageous improv games based on suggestions from the audience. Yes, this is the one you always ask for.
7 May – Superscene – This fast paced, highly competitive format is also a firm favourite with ImproGuise fans. Here 6 improvising directors compete against each other with scenes and pitches to the audience for the huge honour of last one standing to perform the final Superscene.
8 May – Fake Place – This delightful longform format sees us highly skilled improvisers exploring a fictional place and playing all the loveable and eccentric characters in it. Heart-warming and gut- wrenchingly funny.

What’s not to love? What we are going to need though, is you. Our faithful, the promisers, the followers from a distance, the wannabes, the improv lovers, the we-haven’t-been-in-a-while-ers, the students, the moms, dads and kids, the whose-line-is-it-anyway fans. We need an audience. A socially distanced, fully masked, totally protocolled audience. Please book. Book here. https://tickets.tixsa.co.za/event/improv-festival and come celebrate with us.

Then, later on in the month we have one night of improv at one of our favourite venues, The Drama Factory in Somerset West. Same deal. Best improv in a totally fabulous venue. So many options to see us. Come. Laugh. Enjoy the crazy, in the moment creativity.

I will write a separate and fabulous post about Murmurations with Louise Westerhout at Theatre Arts later.

Open Letter to City of Cape Town regarding Cissie Gool House

This is an open letter to the City of Cape Town, mayor Dan Plato, the DA run municipal government of Cape Town, the ward councillors and developers with any agency around who gets to live where, when and how.

I live two blocks away from Cissie Gool House. I walk past every day when I walk the dogs. I know people who live there. What an amazing and almost miraculous thing has happened there over the last four years. A community of sidelined, separated, unseen, and needy people have done the unthinkable, in a building abandoned and left to decay. Children play. Washing hangs from makeshift lines. A veggie garden has sprung up.

I am not naive. I live in Woodstock. Petty crime, drugs, theft and even gangsterism are part of this neighbourhood. It always has been like that. Neighbours two houses up were bust for having a dagga farm behind closed doors. The police are ‘invited’ to my street on many weekend nights when the students’ parties get out of hand. We look out for each other. We know each other. We wave. Mostly. Those behind new high walls, not so much.

I know that people in streets close to Cissie Gool House have complained about noise, parties, fighting, drugs. Like me. It’s normal.

Law enforcement have been gathering for daily meetings at the park across the road from the main entrance to Cissie Gool. They are a ‘show of force’ and it is unsettling and nasty. I know that they are getting ready to evict the occupants. It is coming, I just don’t know when.

And every day my fantasy is exactly the same. Imagine if, instead of the bullying, violent evictions that will leave the building abandoned again, while those who represent the city pretend to be ham strung in the area of providing social and low cost housing in the city and close surrounds, the city sat down with the occupants and said, how can we make this a viable reality? How can we help you? Imagine. Imagine how much less the city would have to spend. Imagine how much less policed this would have to be. Imagine. Imagine people in the area bringing their children to Cissie Gool aftercare. Imagine people going to pick veg, or plant veg. Imagine going to the party instead of complaining about it. Imagine. Imagine spending the littlest amount possible to make Cissie Gool House an official low cost housing option, with those who already occupy it being part of the decision making process. Imagine. Imagine people living legally, close to where they work. Imagine people not having to leave their neighbourhood, after many were forced out of previous accommodation because of rampant gentrification and price hikes. Imagine solid community engagement. Imagine a solution instead of a fight. Imagine metro law enforcement sitting inside the fence. Protecting not harassing. Imagine something like District 6, but not being torn down. Imagine. This is our chance to do it differently.

I implore you ‘stakeholders’ to embrace, engage, discuss, be solutions driven. That is what I want from elected officials. Work for me. Work for us.

Woodstock resident

Megan Choritz

The Proper Death of SA Theatre

Last February, before we knew what was going to happen with COVID, I had a conversation with a theatre owner and friend about how I felt like my heart had twice been broken; one by my personal circumstances and one by theatre. I felt like I had suffered a theatre breakup and it had been devastating, messy, and deeply painful. I struggled to articulate it at the time, but what the breakup was about was me losing faith in my ability to carry on regardless. You need a seriously thick skin to do theatre. And my skin had ruptured.

Then COVID came and nailed closed the coffin for all theatre makers. While the restaurant and tourist industries were spoken about and bemoaned, the theatre makers, stage managers, theatres, directors, FOH teams were in their own tiny circle of hell and I couldn’t ever really figure out why theatre got so little attention.

The NAC and the department of Arse and Culture did, and continue to do, what they usually do. Mess up. Theatres that were dark have now closed permanently. The closing of The Fugard was announced earlier this week, with much sadness, and even anger. But who is fighting for theatre, and begging for it, and needing it, and wanting its resurrection?

I think it is only the theatre makers who want it to come back. And here sits the uncomfortable, hideous, miserable truth on a pointy rock that is its own hard place. Unless theatre goers; uninvolved, unconnected, true audiences passionately want, longingly yearn for, and are even prepared to lobby, fight and beg for the return of theatre, it really cannot, and won’t return from the dead.

Alcohol, yes. Cigarettes, yes. Restaurants and bars, yes. Theatre? Naah. Not so much.

Unfortunately, the desperation and totally illogical passion of theatre makers has obscured the most basic and obvious reality. The person in the street couldn’t give two Hamlets and half a farce for theatre.

In a weird way I am pleased my breakup with theatre happened a year ago, and I have been able to lick my wounds in the privacy of my own home. I will make theatre on demand, or not at all, from now on. And only if there is an audience who really wants it.

The Split

Yesterday, on my way back from an indefinitely shut SARS office I witnessed a line of people, going around the block, to the SASSA building. These people expressed in physical sloping, the unlikeliness of success. I saw a line of desperation. A line of hunger. A line of no future, just a bleak and terrifying present.

And while I was looking at this line I was listening to an economist on the radio talking about how the COVID pandemic was highlighting the importance of life insurance, and how we all need to be frightened into making the right investments. This white, educated, articulate man was talking as if the country was made up of people like him. Only people like him. Life insurance? There was no hint of irony in this man’s perspective. There was no vague nod to the fact that he was talking for and to the 1%. He spoke with the authority of pure blindness to the reality of our country and its suffering majority. And it was terrifying. Because in that moment I saw that hunger trumps decency, that crime is a desperate act, and that life can be not worth having. This is wrong. This is fundamentally, hideously wrong. This conversation should not be had on public radio at the same time that desperate people are queuing for R350 that they have already been told is not there for them.

We have to shift. We have to move. We have to transition. It is far too late. There is no more time. Life insurance? No. We need a new plan for the poor, the desperate, the unseen. And we need those who talk about life insurance to keep quiet for 5 minutes and listen.

The Kindness of Friends and Neighbours

I walked through thick fog yesterday. My heart was sore, and I felt vulnerable and exposed. And then my friends reached out with the kindest comments, calls, messages, voice notes, virtual hugs and expressions of love and support. Thank you. All of you.

Because of the fog, a long and emotional rehearsal, a tension headache and insomnia induced tiredness I did not notice anything when I came home late in the afternoon.

My neighbour Anwar waved from his stoep and I thought he was just saying hello. Then he came over. He had FIXED MY GATE. I had mentioned the no longer closing, rotting wooden gate to him on Monday and asked him to keep an eye out on his travels for a replacement gate. Instead, while I was away, he fixed it, glued it, attached two strong and perfect pieces of wood onto it and changed the position of the latch so it swings closed with no effort.

I am so grateful. I am so moved. I feel lucky and seen and I am full up with love for the beautiful things people do.

Double Jewish Pregnancy

December 3 years ago I was standing in the foyer of the Baxter Studio welcoming one of our preview audiences into the theatre for From Koe’siestes to Kneidlach. A definitely Jewish woman and her teenage daughter were giving me ‘the look’. I was trying to think about whether I knew them, or whether they thought they knew me – Jewish geography is a complicated, lifelong story, with memory and family trees tied in with ferribles, cousins by marriage and even cousins of friends of grandparents long gone. As mother and daughter made their way past me the mother whispered, “You are Darren’s mom, aren’t you?” I knew exactly what she was talking about and I immediately said yes. Darren Nudelman is Tali Shapiro’s husband in Tali’s Wedding Diary, the local Showmax hit. I played Janice; Darren’s mother. It was a tiny part, but people responded to the well meaning but totally uncool Jewish mother.

So there I was, the director of a show about a wedding – From Koe’siestes to Kneidlach is the story of a Cape Flats meisie who meets and falls in love with a Joburg Jew-ish boychik, being recognised for a show about an outrageous Jewish princess and her wedding.

Well, beat me over the head with a dreidel if it isn’t happening again. I am lucky to be filming season 2 of Tali at the moment. The much anticipated Tali’s Baby Diary will be on Showmax at the end of March 2021 and I can tell you that it is kak funny; more Tali madness and beyond. Also, Janice has a bigger, and most delicious part in this season.

And then, on 7 December I go into the rehearsal room with Chantal as we prepare to open From Koe’siestes to Kneidlach – with Kids! on the 22 December. Here the impending arrival of a cross cultural kid causes much cross cultural comedy, for the audience who loved the first one, and those who missed it.

I am the most lucky.

 

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