Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: PANSA (Page 1 of 2)

Song and Dance – A charmed beginning

Last night Ntombi Makhutshi won Best Director for Song and Dance, my play that was a finalist (and runner up) in the PANSA staged play reading competition for new South African plays. Once I had (irrationally, you know what happens when you suddenly find yourself being all competitive and ‘competition brained’) gotten over my disappointment of not winning, I was able to get back to the real stuff, and I want to pay tribute and give thanks here to that; the real stuff.

First of all, thank you PANSA. This competition is an amazing platform for us writers. What a brilliant way for the scripts to get a first outing. It is a long-waited for, very valued part of the theatre calendar. What is also so important here is that the staged readings feel safe, creative and fun as well as competitive. It is a fantastic thing to be part of. Thank you Brian, Angela, Nono and Max (the PANSA people I harassed on an almost daily basis) for your support, problem solving, enthusiasm and encouragement. And Paul, thanks for the butternut soup. Also, thank you Magnet Theatre; I loved being in your space.

The director and cast of Song and Dance were a dream come true. Ntombi Makhutshi understood what I wanted to say with this play right from the start, and then she set about making it happen with confidence and a deliberate intention. I thought that it was extraordinary that she was able to get so much of the physical comedy and timing into the piece with only a few days’ rehearsal. This was helped by our brilliant casting of Deon Nebulane, Anele Situlweni and Zondwa Njokweni, who rose to the challenge and made my script look brilliant. To be honest, my biggest sadness that Song and Dance didn’t win Best Play is that the cast is not going to go to Durban for the final. I would have loved them to have gone.

I was so happy that so many of my friends made the effort to come and see it. And I was delighted to receive such positive, constructive and helpful feedback from the judges Lara Bye, Tess Fairweather and Mzi Vavi, as well as from the audience. This steers me in the direction of how to make the script better for when it happens for real in a full-scale production.

I was delighted and humbled by the standard of the company I kept, with winning writer Peter Hayes (for his play Suburbanalia), Karen Jeynes (previous winner for Everybody Else Is F***ing Perfect) and Fred Benbow-Hebbert (whose plays have been in every PANSA finals). I was beyond excited that Ntombi not only held her own but took the honours in  company with the brilliant and experienced Tara Louise Notcutt, Pieter Bosch Botha and Jaqueline Domisse.

There will be very little resting. We may not be off to Durban, but the plans will start soon. Thank you team. This is just the beginning of Song and Dance.

With Song and Dance

Song and Dance is the title of my new play. It was chosen as one of four in the comedy section of the PANSA competition of  staged play readings taking place next weekend at the Magnet Theatre in Obz. The director Ntombi Makhutshi and her fab cast were rehearsing yesterday and I stopped by to drop off some set and props for them. I have realised that this is the first time I have properly handed over something that I have written myself to another director. It is totally liberating. It helps that I trust them completely, but weirdly, that isn’t the main issue. The big deal for me is not that we win the competition (although that would be nice) but rather that my play gets worked on and played with by a cast and director and we get to see whether, if and how it works. It’s one thing for me to direct my own words off a page but quite another for someone else to interpret it. And it is at that point that I become a playwright as opposed to theatre maker.

Song and Dance is a 5pm on Saturday 19 May. Come. Let me know what you think.

love it when a plan comes together

I am on such a high. I have just come back from the first read through of Song and Dance, my brand new play that is one of four that was chosen for the PANSA staged readings here, in the comedy category, in Cape Town. I was quite nervous to hear it for the first time.

I have taken quite a few risks; with the characters, the set-up, the language and even the style of the piece. My biggest fear was that I was the only one who found it funny. Writing comedy is a whole ‘nother ball game. But, I literally had tears streaming down my face all the way through the first reading. It was totally hilarious.

The amazing director, Ntombi Makhutshi gets my humour completely, and she cast the piece with her first choices, who were all, magically, available. They are in no particular order, the gorgeous Zondwa Njokweni, the hilarious Deon Nebulane and the hugely talented and funny Anele Situlweni.

I am a control freak. I like to do everything myself, and to know about every last thing. But this feels totally different. I left that rehearsal space delighted, excited and trusting that this unbelievable team are going to have the best time, and come up with something wonderful.

The four play readings will take place on the 18th and 19th of  May at The Magnet Theatre in Obz. Tickets to the plays are R30 and I am pretty sure there are going to be some fun things. Come check it out.

Proud, Positive and PANSA’ed Up

Because I’m going official here, I am saying it at the beginning. The City of Cape Town contracted PANSA to be a serivce provider in the search for emerging talent to perform in Cape Town during the FIFA 2010 World Cup. I hope I got that all absolutely right.

Now to my post. I spent the last two days at The Arena at Grand West Casino, checking out the hopeful talent in the final round of auditions. And I was humbled, awed, excited, moved and delighted. Firstly, by the talent. There were some real eye-opening, heart-pumping, jaul-creating acts. Some of the children and traditional and community performances had me in tears. I whooped and cheered lots of the others. And I am excited and confident to know that Cape Town has some amazingly talented people doing really cool things.

But this post is about singing the praises of PANSA. All I am is a member. But I was so proud to be a member of this organisation this weekend. I cannot believe how well they handled this absolutely mammoth task of moving over two hundred acts through that venue and in front of an audience and panel of judges with ease, grace, the minimum of fuss and no major hiccups. I was blown away by the organisation, the technical side, the volunteers, the support, the efficiency, the enthusiasm and the passion of all PANSA reps. I imagine that the City of Cape Town is absolutely delighted. Bravo Brian Heydenrych, Karen Jeynes, Greg Karvellas, all interns and volunteers. And bravo to the judges, one and all who sat there from 9am to 10pm for two whole days, choosing the best that Cape Town has to offer. Ayoba.

World Cup Fever and Ayobaness

I’ve got it! I was never really sure what my involvement with the WC was going to be and, poof, just like that I’m in it. Almost up to the neck, but very, very exciting. Looks like I am going to be involved with the Fan Park on the Grand Parade, for the duration. And I am pretty delighted, I can tell you. From what it sounds like and what the ideas are, the Cape Town Fan Park is going to be a really cool place for locals, and other people, to world cupify. There is going to be live local entertainment with emerging talent (organised by PANSA), SA’s hottest and favourite bands, artists, djs, and emcees, huge screens to watch the games, and all sorts of eating, drinking, chilling and jolling to be had, without actually having to go to any of the games. This is really good for me, since I am not a huge lover of football, but I can understand having a good time getting patriotic.

The fact that Cape Town can have the Fan Park on the Grand Parade feels really significant. It is a very special place, geographically, historically and culturally. But for me, it’s the view. I have stood on the Parade, looking at the mountain, with an orange, pink and purple winter sunset and a full tablecloth seeming to make its way behind the brown City Hall. Ok, I might have been buffeted by the South Easter, and splattered by a few drops of winter rain; but still. It is spectacular. And it is the most stunning backdrop for a 33 day party.

Sheesh, and now, a cold!

Hard drive crash, cell phone in washing machine, and now a river of snot and a sore throat. Which would be fine if I wasn’t working this weekend, but, I am. Loverly.

In amongst all this woe though there are some seriously good things. My industrial theatre show is looking totally cool and I love my cast, who have delivered their usual excellence and more. I have scored a new job which is taking me to Dubai at the end of March, and I’ve never been before. Big Friendly and I ran what I thought was a delightful chat/workshop about blogging, at PANSA yesterday. Although only four people attended, it was really fun, for me. It was great talking about meganshead and why and how I blog. It also totally helped that Big Friendly was on hand to explain the technical how of it too. On that side I am super privileged to have him; I know nothing.

Now, if only my nose and eyes would stop running. I am off to rehearsals.

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