Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Category: inspiration (Page 1 of 43)

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

Manifesting

I manifested something today. Not a big thing, but a niggling, back of my mind, need to get to it thing, that I may or may not have written down somewhere. Anyway, I manifested it. And I know that I do this all the time, without too much effort. It is more about recognising it when it happens.

Next week it is my 56th birthday. Last year my birthday fell on the day before our first, radical lockdown. I was a gibbering, zombie of a wreck. My entire life had been upended, I had no idea who I was, where I was or how to proceed. A year later I am a survivor. I am broken, bent, but learning my new shape. And I am mostly, miraculously, because of friends and family, and therapy, and resilience and a touch of true insanity, and animal love, ok. I am ok.

I have managed to do some stuff, and survive some stuff, and even make some stuff. One of the things I have been doing more of, and doing more powerfully, is my ‘tarot’ readings.  I use the word tarot loosely because of my original, untraditional deck – The Secret Dakini Oracle. And I am getting ready to welcome a new tarot deck into my life, and the lives of those having readings with me. Now, it is not very good to go off and buy your own decks (even though I am sure that is old magic, and not even necessarily true). I received the Secret Dakini Oracle in the most profound and special way (Peter Susman, I will never forget) and I am putting it out there that I am ready to receive another deck. I am manifesting it.

If you have a deck (not the Rider Waite traditional one) that you don’t connect to, or have outgrown, or if you have a suggestion about a deck I should be calling my attention to, just hold me in the space of receiving, and let’s see what happens. I will totally keep you posted.

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.

 

Back in Action

My sleep patterns are completely out again. The dogs have no idea what I am up to. For three days this week we went for our morning walk at 6am. I have spent the week on set for the sequel to a lovely local series, soon to be on a streaming service near you.

And I feel like I have been brought back to life. Yes, we absolutely have been doing things differently. Yes, we wear masks and sanitise and use mouth spray. Yes the spectre of this dreaded disease hangs over us all. Our food packs are prepared for minimum contamination. Door handles are cleaned. Temperatures are taken. And then we go in front of camera and magic happens.

Not going to lie. Like everyone else, only more (my personal circumstances have been dealt a hideous and painful blow this year), we have all been held in a state of suffering suspended animation.

A couple of small and almost miraculous things have saved me from totally bleak darkness – the making of a fiercely independent movie in the deepest winter, the bits of improv we have managed to do on line, the revival of improv teaching in a course that was suddenly halted in lockdown, the release of The Big Bird Battle, and shooting this series have kept me alive.

Now I will be turning to the beautiful and original work of live performance. From the 2-5 December Louise Westerhout and I will be presenting/facilitating/holding our new ‘show’ Murmurations at Theatre Arts in Observatory. I think we will still only present to 15 people a night. Still, what a time to be allowed to create new ways of theatrical communion.

And then, the following week, I go into rehearsal with the gorgeous and talented Chantal Stanfield, for another sequel – this time From Koe’siestes to Kneidlach with Kids, which opens at The Baxter Studio on 22 December and runs through to January. Of course, COVID restrictions apply, but we are slowly creeping towards some kind of liveness in our theatres again, and I feel like I am coming back to life.

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.

 

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