Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: meganshead (Page 1 of 3)

Thoughts on going into this year

I know I want to reinvent this blog. It is a kind of new year’s resolution without the fanatical resolve. I am already in the not fanatical stage. Maybe it’s because meganshead is 11 years old this month. That’s long for a blog I think.


What do we want to share in a blog? It has to be something longer than a Facebum status update, or a new, double length tweet. It has to be something that readers will come here for. Especially. Deliberately. On purpose.

Do people still read blogposts? I do, but very rarely. I usually get directed there by an announcement on social media.

I have decided that today I won’t announce this on social media and then see whether anyone swings by to look at it.

Please leave comments with thoughts. Love ya, mean it, bye.

Waiting to become something

I am sad that I haven’t been more active here on my blog. I have had tons of stuff flying through my brain, and the desire to write is still strong, but I have had a lack of focus or intent ever since I stopped writing about the theatre I was watching. The really strange thing is that I have been less open to theatre since I have stopped writing about it. Maybe I am just looking at it a lot less analytically. I just haven’t been moved, elevated or inspired by anything theatrical lately. That is until this last Saturday night when I was arm-twisted into staying for the second half of a double bill at The Theatre Arts Admin Collective, a dance piece called UnMute.

Now, those who have read me or know me know that dance is my Greek. I don’t get it, read it or speak it. I am frustrated by it mostly, and generally find the art of modern dance painfully pretentious and self absorbed. So this is why I wasn’t in the mood at all.

Well, blow my brain open with a feather. From the very first moment of Laurie Anderson’s O Superman which began Andile Vellem’s piece I started weeping and that was it. Four dancers; Andile Vellem, Themba Mbuli, Nadine McKenzie and Zama Sonjica took me to a place I have seldom been before and transformed me emotionally and theatrically. I don’t know what else to say about the 30 minutes of moving magic. It was a piece that simultaneously took me out of myself and connected me to myself in the most special, organic way. I loved it. And I can’t help writing about it a little bit.

In the meantime I guess meganshead is in process. It is waiting to become something. It is waiting to become something else.

Festival Post Mortem

I always knew I would write this post, but even now I find it difficult. I have been home 3 nights and there is nothing more comforting than fast ADSL, animals, my things and my solid pillar of Big Friendly. Still, for those of you who weren’t there or didn’t hear me say so, the festival was one long, tough, exhausting, often painful, occasionally inspiring, frighteningly empty affair.

I had very few people coming through the door to see Drive With Me, even though those that did seemed to love it, a lot. The combination of a great review on day 1 and then nothing until an Ovation award on day 10 didn’t help (although I am deeply grateful for both). Song And Dance got better and better, without a word or pic in CUE (to be honest I have no idea how people knew about it), and even though Pieter Bosch Botha and Richard Antrobus did a sterling publicity job on Fully Committed and people raved about it I had visions of sold-outs and extra shows because of how perfect it was for the festival. Truth is, it was a very quiet affair, with tons of parking in the streets, food and furniture always available at the Long Table, nobody at the Village Green, and people handing out comps left, right and centre. The only full show I attended was jammed full of school kids. That’s not to say there weren’t full ones. It seems shows that were there for the 2nd and 3rd time did better.

The worst part about all of this is that I am already thinking about how to do it differently next year. Please, theatre gods, if I decide to jump, look after me harder.

And now for some other news. I have decided, after much hearty discussion with friends, family and some colleagues, to stop writing review style posts here on meganshead. I am very sad about it, but I feel like it typecasts me in the industry and people then find it difficult to see me or receive me when I do theatre work of my own. Obviously, that is still more important to me, and so I think I will serve myself better if I am not seen as a theatre critic. I’ll still write, and share my opinions about everything else, including industry related stuff, but I will leave the ‘reviewing’ to those less involved, even though I am confident I did a bladdy good job. So, I will still see almost everything, and I will facebook and tweet about whether I liked it or not, but I’ll reserve this space for writing about other, varied stuff. How do you feel about that? Please send me comments to let me know.


In a shocking turn of events today I discovered the very real possibility that what I was trying to do here on my blog was not only not appreciated, but that there were people (friends and colleagues included) who, although they haven’t said anything, feel that me being directly involved in theatre, knowing many of the people I write theatre stuff about and even being good friends with a lot of them, is a conflict of interest and that I shouldn’t be doing it.

I am the first one to acknowledge that meganshead has had its moments of being controversial, out there, outspoken and even a trend bucker. There has been stuff that I have loved that others have hated and visa versa, although I have always felt that I said why. I have taken my share of flack from those who disagree. I have even been threatened, hurt and accused of horrible things, all of which I have handled, sometimes with more grace than others.

I feel like I need to remind people that this blog is independent and unsponsored, and I do not make any money from it at all. In fact, if it weren’t for the hours and cash put in by Big Friendly there wouldn’t be this blog. I go and see stuff on my own time and write about things on my own time, although I do get offered comps and, more and more I get invited to opening nights. I also want to remind people why I started meganshead and why I have persevered with it for almost four years. I felt that there was a serious lack in both the number and quality of reviews for theatre in Cape Town, and also that they came out so long after a show had opened. It seemed that I became part of the publicity of productions, and that on the whole this was seen as a good thing, regardless of how I felt about the show. That’s the risk of having anyone write anything about theatre.

But up until today I thought that this was a tacit agreement. I now see that there are people who really think I shouldn’t be doing what I do. And I’d love to throw open the debate. Are you a friend? Do you just read my blog? Do you have an opinion about this? Do you think I can write honestly about stuff even if it includes my friends’ work? Is it a problem that I too am involved in the industry? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions, and be honest. I need to decide how to move forward.


G’town is gearing up

I am driving to G’town on Sunday and will start my marathon of live performance ‘watch and crit’ on Monday, but my OF (old friend) Simon Cooper has a head start and a heads up so he’ll be hijacking meganshead for the next few days and giving us a piece of simonshead; his view of the fest. Here is his producer’s POV of the day before it opens.

It used to be so easy – pitch up, settle in, have a few glasses of decent wine, sleep a bit and hit the first show.  Didn’t appreciate the work that performers, techies, producers and a host of others were doing so that when you did pitch at 10h00 on day 1, there is a show to watch.   Have learnt the lesson in the last few years though.   But, man, the adrenalin does course through your veins – OK, OK it’s a lot of detail but there it is, it gets to me.

So what does a producer’s day before the Fest look like, well –

get up quite early and clean incoming emails off your machine;

pack a bag full of props, advertising material [press kits, cable ties, roses for “ROSE” with labels, business cards for “LONDON ROAD”, bookmarks also] and NAF info etc;

make sure the visiting actress [Fiona York from “ROSE”] who is staying with us, is ready to go and move into her Grahamstown accommodation;

drive to Grahamstown [no hangover because Shirley Kirchmann bailed from supper last night];

drop off tickets for “LONDON ROAD” with a friend – paying a debt for earlier house checking services;

take Fiona to the house and to her venue;

contact Jon K and Juanita F, stage managers for “LONDON ROAD” and “ROSE”;

meet up with them and get road signs from Jon K and leave Juanita F and Fiona to get to know each other and sort out “ROSE”;

find Dumisani and give him the road signs and the cable ties to put up but he’s not answering his phone;

go to the Monument – register “LONDON ROAD” and “ROSE”, see the finance people, see the publicists;

zip past Computicket and pick up some tickets and ingratiate myself with the people managing Computicket in case I need a favour later;

go back to publicity office with press kits left in the car;

meet Dunisani [at last] and hand over road signs;

fetch Robyn S from the bus and take her to the house;

attend “LONDON ROAD” cue-to-cue tech;

drop press kits off at Cue and stop to kiss Belinda de L who is the best advertising manager in the game but she’s out;

make sure Fiona and Juanita F are OK and sorted;

drive back home and try and remember what shows I am seeing on day 1;

food, red wine and sleep.

Next time around – comment on the first shows.  Man, I love it.


Crazy Grahamstown Festival Idea

So I am seriously thinking of going to the Grahamstown festival for about three days this year. I was thinking of going smack bang in the middle, to try and catch some stuff from both ends of the fest. I want to see as much as I possibly can, and I want to write about everything here, on meganshead. I really believe that I am a good, if not very opinionated voice, and I am sure I can add an important critical alternative to the more traditional review writing that happens at the festival. So, that’s my plan, but I know I’m not going to be able to afford the five shows a day I’d like to see. I was thinking though, that there are always press tickets (and many of them go under utilised, or unissued) and I was wondering how to get my hands on these. Does anyone know? Are you taking a production to the festival that you would like me to see and write about? Do you have press tickets or comps for me to get my grubby little hands on? Do you have a connection in the press office? PLease let me know.

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