Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Category: Corona (Page 1 of 2)

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.

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.

The beginning of the dissection of my 2020

So here’s one of the things I have discovered. I had a great idea for this blog post. I was going to start a series of posts reflecting back on my year, but then I needed to walk the dogs. I was in a fog and didn’t even see a car before crossing the road. We all got a fright. Luckily it was a kind and empathetic female driver. She saw my state of unravel even behind my mask. While I walked I had a million creative ideas about how to start this post, what I would unpack, in order of importance, and how I would construct the series.

Of course, I got home, fed the dogs, took a call, got distracted by some news on social media that made me jealous and frustrated, sat down in front of the screen and could not for the life of me remember what I had intended to say in the first place.

Welcome to my year of good intentioned, totally dysfunctional rambling thoughts and feelings, multiplied by COVID, times by personal loss and mess, with the addition of no real career possibilities, subtracted by fear, refracted by insomnia, sidetracked by the quiet release of my first children’s book, heightened by isolation, punched in the gut by the loss of opportunity, prodded by what I saw this weekend, questioned by my political opinions, and strangled by a malaise that could be my age, but probably really isn’t.

That is not to say there haven’t been some diamonds in the dirt (although I have never understood the attraction of those hard, pretty, useless stones). I have shot a movie, written 15 short stories, published a children’s book, changed habits, cooked creatively (more in the beginning of lockdown than now), kept commitments, enjoyed international Zoom contact, rediscovered favourite walking spots, spent virtually nothing on petrol, and connected with some old friends in a profound way.

It is the middle of September. I don’t even know how to think about that beyond the fact that we are mostly through winter.

I have so much to do, change, remember, refocus on. But this space, for the next little while will be the beginning of reflection, if I can remember.

R350

I was talking to my friend Melinda Ferguson yesterday. Both of us had had a challenging week; a week filled with grief and despair, measured with the absolute knowledge that there were so many worse off than either of us. It is a balancing act that defies the laws of nature. How do you manage the personal, political, global and local when you have no idea what is really going on?

We were talking about the feeling of how charity has a ‘drop in the ocean’ effect when Melinda came up with the most simple, practical and obvious idea. Imagine if anyone who could would eWallet a destitute person R350 a month? The same amount that the government will be paying. Imagine if we kept it personal, took out the NGO, the middleman, the administrator? Each person who can, sends R350 to someone who has nothing, every month for the next while. keeping them alive. With no fanfare or rigmarole or publicity. If you can, you do it.

Right now R350 is a sacrifice for me. But it is simple. I must read one tarot (and R50 more) for it to happen. I know of someone in the Transkei who has nothing. I will send her the money, every month.

Who is in this? Who wants to do it? If you think this can work then let’s spread the word. If you have good ideas about how to spread the word, then do it, go for it. If you can afford more, give more. You decide.

If you want to talk about this more, leave comments. If you want to add to the idea, the conversation, let’s do it. I have a feeling that now is the time, and the place. If you don’t personally know of anyone, ask me, ask someone who works for you (who I assume you are still paying). Caryn Gootkin from Souper Troupers knows of many homeless people that could use R350 a month and who may not be able to access government funding. If you want recognition for contributing, I will publicise your effort.  My fantasy is that everyone who usually gives randomly and generously will be able to harness their donation into a specific, realisable, simple thing.

Edit. Please let me know, privately or publicly, if you do this, so we can get a sense of our reach. I have just done mine.

Conspiracy

As a storyteller, an improvisor who revels in the world of make believe, an avid reader of fiction, a lover of sci-fi and speculative genres, I find myself drawn in to the ‘possibility’ of things in a ‘what if’ way. I have been caught off guard more than once by fake news, but on the whole I have been able to sniff it out with a hearty dose of cynicism and the basic tools of google fact checking. But the interwebz is a proper breeding ground for all sorts of tech viruses and people are either susceptible or desperate or a mixture of both. Not that I blame us. In our search for meaning beyond the random and terrifying, there is the dreadful paranoia that we are totally helpless and things are truly beyond our control.

Enter the conspiracy theories. Sometimes they may start off small; a theory may gather a few facts and half facts before picking up the front or back end of a wacky idea and before you know it it is a known truth that Chinese villagers have been mind controlled and have been swallowing bleach. Sometimes they just go huge;  there is no actual virus and governments have aligned and are killing off a percentage of the population (I wrote this before I watched the video below).

Sometimes these conspiracy theories leave the lips of politicians like Trump and his Republican potato heads and are dismissed by anyone with half a brain, because they know that Trump and his Trumpets literally cannot tell the difference between truth, data and facts and lies that they actually make up themselves! 

Sometimes a friend will say something as a Facebook status update and it will travel the pathways of gossip, find its way into a meme, get itself an official logo from the University of Blahblahblishblah, and then it is suddenly a ‘real and verified’ warning that needs to be shared by all WhatsApp groups forever.

Many of the conspiracy theories around COVID19, particularly the origin of it, carry dire warnings about the who, what where and how. And then there is this.

I was sent this today and I laughed out loud, read up about the guy, scoffed, went back and started watching. And got totally sucked in. Sucked in.

Now it is an hour later and my brain hurts. What do you think guys? I need help of the highest order.

 

Why I can’t watch theatre online

This is just me here. This is not a philosophy, or an instruction, or criticism. It is me. I don’t want to watch theatre online. I make exceptions for National Theatre Live productions because they are filmed brilliantly, even during live performances in front of an audience, and also, I will never get to see these productions live.

But if I can choose to watch stuff I am going to choose things that are made for screen. And there is so much to choose from. Series, films, doccies, music, animation, to name a few. And there is so much out there, by so many brilliant and even famous people.

I don’t enjoy watching recordings of live theatrical performances. They make me sad, and frustrated, and empty. They don’t do the performers and writers and directors and lighting designers any justice.

So I am going to wait until I can go back into a live theatre space. And then I am going to go back with a vengeance.

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