Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Gys de Villiers (Page 1 of 2)

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.

 

Doodsnikke – Buried Child

Big Friendly and I went to last night’s preview and taste and tweet of Doodsnikke at The Baxter. Most times I have to drag Big Friendly along, but when he heard that it was with Anna-Mart and Gys, I couldn’t keep up with his big steps. He loves them and for good reason; they can make a production, especially when they are in the same one. They have got that special thing an acting partnership has. They bring out the sticky stuff in each other. This is exactly what is needed for a Sam Shepard; tons of sticky stuff.

So, Buried Child, translated and transmogrified to a farm outside Kimberly, in Afrikaans and smatterings of English, with sur-titles (of the original play) has the potential to be quite demanding on the suspension of disbelief of an audience, especially someone like me, who knows Buried Child very well. (In fact we recently saw the Mechanicals version at The Little Theatre). And yet, from the moment we walked across the sandy set to sit in seats arranged on three sides of the playing space I ‘had that feeling’. Everyone who lives theatre will know it. It is a creepy, magical, otherworld feeling that introduces the possibility. That’s what good (and great) theatre is all about.

I loved this production. I loved Gys de Villiers, who was shocking to me as an old person. He was in turns powerful, weak, moaning, wheedling, hideous, pathetic, cruel, disgusting and hilarious as Dodge. I adored Anna-Mart van der Merwe as Hannie. She was exquisite, layered, complicated and so powerful. I loved Oscar Petersen as Tilden and Albert Pretorius as Bradley and I thoroughly enjoyed Ivan Abrahams as Pastoor Dewis. I thought that Sartjie Botha’s translation was layered and interesting and she managed to pull off quite an awkward relocation. I loved Patrick Curtis’s set and Birrie le Roux’s costumes and Mannie Manim’s lighting. I think that director Janice Honeyman has given the production the wonderful cohesiveness of an internal world spiraling in on itself.

The only thing that bothered me slightly was the kind of performances the two young actors Travis Snyders (as Vincent) and Thenjiwe Stemela (as Shelley) gave. As Big Friendly cleverly put it, on stage with these other masters they just didn’t seem to have the technique to match. For me it resulted in relaxed bodies and shouting voices.

The thing I loved the most about this production was how compelling it was to watch. There are still images, feelings and thoughts racing through my brain this morning.I was moved and provoked.  And, as a Sam Shepard loyalist, my feeling is that he would have approved.

When we were driving home last night Big Friendly and I shared some dark secrets of our own. We all have a buried child somewhere in our families.

 

Great Green Ghoen

It is not often that I become full of hope and excitement for the ‘youth of today’, but last night was one of those moments.

Big Friendly and I are in Knysna, visiting our friends Jaci and Gys de Villiers. Gys wrote a play called Groen Ghoen, which Jaci directed, and, here it gets complicated, Gys is performing it as a one man show, and Jaci directed seven of her school learners in a version of it for their school play at Oakhill School.

I went with Jaci and some of her students on their Europe tour in December last year, so I have a connection to some of them. I was delighted when our visit coincided with their short run. So, off Big Friendly and went up the hill to the school to watch the show last night.

I confess, I was definitely thinking I was going to have to be really generous with the production; a bunch of school kids, doing their school play, but from the very moment it started, with the first ‘kaching’ sound effect, to the last ‘love generation’ moment I was delighted and captivated.

This is a complex, highly message driven piece, with many characters, lots and lots of ideas, humour, irony, history, imagination, and challenging questions about how we are treating our precious planet. And the cast of seven were completely up for it. All dressed in green throughout, and with the minimum of props they jump in and gooi. They all played beautifully together as a well knit ensemble and each and every one of them had a moment to shine. I loved Pheliswa Dayimani as Mother Earth, Nicholas Heymans as Triton, Jo-li Kotze’s Kugel hairdresser and Dylan Owen’s camp cook. Stephen Campbell’s very Seff Effrican Atlas, Katherine Clark’s brilliant Camilla and Lara Meter’s disgusting Red Horseman of the Appocolypse were also fabulous. And that is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Speaking of icebergs, how could I not mention Nick and Stephen’s hilarious polar bear scene?

These young people created an exciting, fast paced, moving piece, filled with energy, enthusiasm and commitment. Bravo.

Boring. Just like that.

You would think I have no life at all (which is a pity, with all the amazing sounding things on the boil in Cape Town); the last thing I wrote about was Survivor Santa Carolina, and here it is a week later and I’m writing about it again!

Ho hum is all I can say about last night’s episode. Don’t rush out and get the DVD y’all!I think I understood one of the problems last night, and again, it has to do with editing. So much TV time is spent on the team that will lose the immunity challenge that you can predict which team will lose, and then who will go. Craig whines and is the voice of dissent. Craig Jacobs misses the immunity idol. Chibulu lose. Out goes Craig. Unfortunately the editing has stuck too closely to formula and hasn’t given us, the viewer, enough meat, or drama. 14Jan_gys8518_lg

I mean, Darren Maule losing his mind is funny for a bit, and then, we’d like to see some of the others. There are still people on the island that I have no clue about; like Lady Lea and ProVerb. Where are they and what do they do? And also, there are no night shots.

I still say Gys de Villiers for Survivor (although Okkert Brits was cute in moments), because there really isn’t anyone out there giving him a run for his money.

Sick Survivor Stabbers

Oy, oy, oy, if tonight’s episode is anything to go by, Survivor Santa Carolina is going to be more hectic than I could have imagined. In summary; two big SIESes and one Gys de Villiers!!!!! for Survivor!

Who could have believed that one man could drop out of Survivor because of a rash by his penis? Jub Jub, it’s like karma for your name bro’. I was shocked. And disgusted. And embarrassed. Not because of the constant reference to Jub Jub’s penis and balls, but because the medic made such light work of his ‘infectious wounds’ that were nothing more than scratches! I mean, Christina leaving like that was one thing. But to dump your team in the shit when they were already two down! Hau bo! Sies! Nee man!

Gys was the obvious choice to be exiled to the stinky island. He survived, became strong, made jokes, was on his way to finding an immunity idol, came back and was welcomed into his depleted team. Gys for Survivor! And then, his little team went on to win immunity! It was so well deserved and a real morale boost.

But who would have thought that the witches of the other team would tactically vote out the builder of the shelter, tough chick, gorgeous, real Survivor contender Cindy Nel? Sies! Sandi Schultz, Ashley Hayden and ‘Lady’ Lea, sies. What kak style from you chicks. Now I’m not traditionally a fan of beauty queens, but Cindy Nel kicked butt, and it seemed very early to be voting off one of your strongest and not the weakest link. Sies.  It is obvious that Darren Maule doesn’t have a clue what is going on and with who, but I suppose he poses no real threat.

The show has jumped straight in to the bitching, back stabbing, snake-eyed creep stuff and I’m already hot under the collar. But I already know for sure who I don’t want to win. I’ll be following with interest. oh yes I will, slimy Survivor chicks!

Celeb Survivor Santa Carolina

Ok, I am a huge Survivor fan, but this time I have a commitment! There is a celebrity someone who is also a friend and I have been beside myself with excitement. Go Gys de Villiers!!!!!!

I only watched the first SA Survivor, which I loved, and when I found out that there was a celebrity one and they were going it alone without Endemol I was properly keen.

So Wednesday was the first episode; not quite long enough for me to have loves and hates, but certainly enough to whet the appetite. And it looks totally hectic. I have to say, I can’t believe what a woesie Christina Storm was. What a complete banana. I mean, couldn’t she just wait to be voted off at least, instead of perching her teeny, spoilt bum on a boat and not looking back, as the rest of her team looked on in what I assume was disgust. What did she think it was going to be like? Camps Bay? Now I remember seeing her on celebrity The Weakest Link and I almost died when she got her first question wrong. It was a fashion question and it was, what do you call the fashion clothing item piece of cloth that you tie around your neck, beginning with S, and she said sarong! I kid you not. Needless to say, she was voted off that faster than I could recover.

Edit: I started writing this post last week, but I was in Jozi on fandamily business, which was a good thing, because I ended up spending some time with someone who had a bit of inside info on the series; and I got some lowdown. With Christina it’s worse than I thought. From the editing it looked like everything happened on the same day. Not. Christina left on the second day, and Garth, who did some serious damage to himself, lay on the beach until the fourth day. We all know that Survivor is edited into a coma. We know that someone can be the best and coolest person for the longest time, then the camera will catch them rolling their eyes, and that will be it, out lasting impression will be of so-and-so the eye roller. Also, it looked like these guys arrived, separated into teams, did a challenge (in which Gys was left high and dry on a turnstile, dammit) and then popped off to tribal council. We missed them building shelter, fetching water, being starving, trying to make fire. I am sure that already some of the contestants have been made to look like moegoes, and that’s editing for you too.

I think that because the production has decided to go it alone they could have stuck less rigidly to the existing formula; stretching it out, giving us more and making the first episode more interesting and less predictable. Here’s hoping. At least we didn’t have to listen to the old Survivor theme tune and stings!

One thing that bugs me about some of the contestants though, is their claim to celeb status. I’m not much of a celeb follower, but who are some of these people? I find it hard to see an Okkert Brits or a Ashleigh Hayden or a Louw Venter be criticised by someone going as a dj or something.

As you can see, I’m already hooked. Don’t ask me to go anywhere on Wednesday nights. I’ll be busy for the next two months or so.

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