Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Good Will Acting (Page 1 of 3)

First glimpse of 2011

I can’t help myself. I am barely awake, lying in bed, with Bayla the dog who hates both fireworks and thunder, and it’s raining, hard and thunderously. I could think of no better way to start a new year’s day. Ok, it would be great if Bayla loved the rain, after her ten minutes of hell last night, on the stroke of midnight. But seriously, all our neighbourhood could manage were a few weak vuvuzela toots and a couple of whizz bangs. Really not too bad at all.

I am in a relatively good mood for a few reasons. Last night’s final show of Good Will Acting was delicious and hilarious and well received and almost full! I got home safely, before midnight and said Happy Happy to a sleepy Big Friendly. New Years Day is on a Saturday which feels like we don’t lose a day to the silliness, I do not have a hangover (although a few more hours of shut-eye  would have been nice) and the week long howling South Easter is gone (to be replaced by rain, I know, but I like rain).

So, bring it on, gently, without fireworks, without excuses and terms and conditions. Just, bring it on. Also, how cool is this? This January is the fourth anniversary of meganshead. I am a little bit proud. Thanks Big Friendly.

What now?

We made a huge effort to rally the crowds last night to get them in to what could have been the final performance of Good Will Acting. And it was loverly. More than 40 people came to celebrate the oddest version of the Nativity and they really seemed to love it. And then, today another fabulous review came out. We are supposed to have another week of shows, with a performance tonight and then next week on Monday 27, Tuesday 28, Wed 29, Thurs 30 and a special celebratory evening on New Year’s Eve. But we have no bookings to speak of. And I have no idea what to do. Do we call it a day, not take it personally and walk away, knowing that we put on a most fabulous show, with lessons totally learnt for how we will do it next year? Do we continue to rubber arm the rest of the folk left in Cape Town or possibly still arriving to come and see it? Do we play it by ear every single day and wait until twelve or one pm before deciding whether to do a show or not? And what about New Year’s Eve? What should our cut-off numbers be? How many constitute a fun party?

One of the hardest things about putting on a show is all the non-creative, business (if you can call it that) decisions that need to be made! I am in limbo. Help me decide!!


I have never seen myself as someone with unrealistic expectations. I know how hard it is to put on theatre and then get an audience to come and see it. Putting on one’s own work, without a budget, is always high risk, especially with a cast of four (who are all in it together). But this run of Good Will Acting has been mysterious in the extreme.

I have never felt this strongly about my work before. I know it is good. And funny. I know that my cast is properly amazing. The small houses that come and see it sit after the show, in the theatre or bar or foyer, buzzing. They can’t wait for the actors to come out. They clap and smile and celebrate. And commiserate. Last night’s audience numbered about twenty. And they could not believe that there weren’t more of them there. They couldn’t believe we weren’t sold out. They couldn’t believe that they hadn’t struggled to get tickets. They had advice for me. Take the show to Sydney; it would be full every single night! They all want to see it again!

So what do we do? As I write this we have 6 people booked for tonight’s show. 6. Unless it grows by at least double this morning we will have to cancel. It looks pretty much the same for Wednesday and Thursday. And I am sure we won’t have performances next week. We can’t justify it.

Of course I am struggling not to take it personally. Rumours of other holiday fare being sold out are doing my head in. But many visitors and locals tell me how quiet Cape Town is. Who knows? All I know is that if you wanted to see Good Will Acting and haven’t yet, please come tonight or tomorrow night and book on 0732205430. I have a feeling that those are going to be our last shows.

The illusive, mysterious Theatre Audience

I’ve had a great weekend of publicity. There was a really positive review of Good Will Acting in the Sunday Times, and it’s fabulous when the reviewer really ‘gets’ it. Then, there was a delightful interview with me in the Weekend Argus. Aside from making me feel like the bee’s knees, I am so, so keen for the possibility that this will help bring people to the show.

We are in that situation (a common one, I know) where our audiences are really, really small. On Saturday night our audience of twenty found it difficult to contain themselves, they were loving it so much, and when they left they were baffled by how few of them were there. Each of them promised to tell their friends, etc, etc, but the truth is I’m facing another hard week of phoning, facebooking and nagging all the people I know who haven’t made it yet to come.

All the excuses are there. Apparently it’s a bad time of year with so much else on and people watching their pockets. Really? I actually thought it was the best time of year to put on a silly, seasonal inspired piece of delight that people would want to come to. Silly me! Apparently Kalk Bay is really far. Come on! People travel from Cape Town to Stellenbosch for wine! Then there’s the argument about ticket prices. What are people prepared to pay to see a show? I guess what is making me completely ‘gek’ is that it is so hard getting people in, but once they’re there they can’t believe how fantastic it is.

Which brings me to the thing that has been bugging me since we started this run. Where are all the actors and theatre people, and why don’t they ever go to the theatre? Good Will Acting is made with the Cape Town actor in mind; it is about Cape Town actors. In fact, most of the criticism leveled at the show has been that a lot of the jokes are very in-house. We wanted it to appeal to actors and theatre people. We wanted to poke fun at them (and ourselves obviously) and it is a homage to actors in Cape Town and what the ‘season’ can be like. Needless to say, the response from fellow actors, actor friends and industry related people has been completely underwhelming. And I’ve heard every excuse in the book from some of my friends. They have ranged from being short of money, to not having the time, to promising they’ll be there, to not having baby sitters. I have heard every one. And I have had to face up to the fact that they don’t actually want to come. That is the really hard part. And it’s the part I don’t get at all.

Featured Actor 4

Ntombi Makhutshi. Yo, I love that lady! Ntombi chose to do my industrial theatre project even though it clashed with something else she was booked to do, partly because I begged her so hard. When I saw Ntombi in London Road I couldn’t wait for the chance to work with her one day and then, boom, she was Energina, with huge energy, enthusiasm and enjoyment; carrying a whole 40 minute production on her shoulders. She was fantastic.

In Good Will Acting Ntombi blows me away. Her character is so huge and funny and no holds barred that I think she freaks people out! And I don’t just mean the fellow characters in the play. She makes me laugh so much with just a look, or in this case a click of her tongue.

She is a dream actress to work with; attentive, dedicated, warm, passionate and so, so talented. I don’t have to say watch this lady. You won’t be able to help yourself.

Featured Actor 3

Sharing the stage with Daneel van der Walt (if you aren’t the strong cast of Good Will Acting) must be tough because you would have to match her energy, timing, comedy, characterisation skills and abundance of the most ‘thespian electricity’.

(An actor friend facebooked me yesterday about the time he was performing a two-hander in Bloemfontein and the reviewer called the piece a “great one woman show”. I thought this was almost as funny as not putting in the name of the director, the dates of the run or the time of the show in a review yesterday.)

Back to Daneel! The first time I saw her was in Dalliances at Artscape and she blew my mind; and in fact blew everyone else off that beautifully designed stage! When she came to audition for me for the industrial theatre job I was a bit intimidated. I could hardly believe that an actor of her calibre would want to do an industrial theatre roadshow! I had absolutely nothing to worry about. Daneel, aside from being so magnetic and dynamic on stage, is also the most generous, uncomplicated, inspiring, kind, un-diva like performer. I cannot believe that she hasn’t taken the South African stage by absolute storm. She is a far huger talent than all of the usual suspects put together (you know, the usual ones who get the parts over and over again.)

Daneel van der Walt is a hilarious, sexy, brilliant theatre chameleon. Her character Tabatha in Good Will Acting is so weird, funny, poignant and out there. I completely, totally love her.

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