Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Baxter Studio

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.

 

Very Sad Sadako

Jaqueline Dommisse snuck me in to the first performance of her show Sadako, since I could not get a media ticket and it was sold out! Sadako was written by Peter Hayes, directed by Jaqueline with a cast of amazing puppeteer/actors and designed by Ilke Louw.

I saw the original Sadako many moons ago at The Baxter Studio, and I was surprized at how much of it I remembered. It is the heart wrenching tale of Sadako, who eight or so years after the atom bombing of Hiroshima, gets ‘bomb sickness’, leukemia. Eina.

This production is newer, bigger, better and sadder. All the puppeteers are amazing; but special mention must be made of Roshina Ratnam (Sadako) and Mark Hoeben (who plays her dad and the doctor). They are transportingly wonderful, believable and Mark in particular is effortlessly sincere.

So, here’s what happened to me during Sadako. I could not manage the story of the sick little girl at all. I segued into imagining Natalie, in Boston, who is still undergoing treatment for her cancer, and I was a wreck, a total, wet, sniveling mess. I could hardly breathe. Which makes it hard to separate. But it is amazing when a piece of puppet theatre can take you there.

I do have some thoughts on the production though. It is very, very beautiful and special, but it is long, and because of the slightly old fashioned style, it is slow. This makes it hard for children (there were two wrigglies next to me and they were going nuts). The story has its own inevitable relentlessness and I think there need to be one or two fewer of the intensely poignant moments; there are one too many to be in tears about!

Some of my favourite things were the relationship between Sadako and her delightful best friend, their most cute school uniforms, the sick little boy in his teeny wheel chair, the thousand paper cranes, Sadako’s mom, and the teeny, teeny baby puppet version of the kid in the family.

Sad Sadako is precious, beautiful, and an emotional weep fest. Be prepared.

 

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