Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: performance

Louise Westerhout perfect Partner in Rebellion

I am writing to introduce my dear readers to my new best thing; a friendship and collaboration that had its seeds planted in a mutual admiration circle BL (Before Lockdown), grew and sprouted DL (During Lockdown) and must/will endure beyond into AL (you guessed it). Louise Westerhout is an extraordinary being and we are similar and different in all the right places.

Louise is a yoga instructor, magic maker, divinator and tarot reader, Reiki master, curator, art manifestation maker, mother, rebel, path finder and chameleon comedian. She is also a vegan, human, model, mover, creature.

And we are cooking up a thing. From the 2 -5 December we will be presenting/facilitating/playing an hour long something called Murmurations and the rehearsal/play time/conversations we are having are some of the best things that have ever happened to me. Louise has hauled me out of a heartbreak space, personally and to do with theatre. I swore I would never get back onto a stage performing my own work, and she has delighted a path for me to really want to.

We meet and talk with wide eyes and lots of hands and jumping up and down. We plant ideas, blow them up, forget, reinvent, explore, and mostly take and make joy. A bit like those kooky scientists in Mythbusters who did whack job experiments on things.

Right now we have decided on a different theme for each night. This may change. But if it doesn’t it is going to be pretty wild. There will be stories. And garden furniture. And maybe a pool. And tea. And hula hoops. There might be make up and dress up. There will definitely be dancing. There may be tears. There will be an invitation to get to know the world a bit better in under an hour. Or not.

Right now we are inventors, inverters, exhibitors and deliberators. Our motto is everything is everything. In small and big letters. We challenge, console, ridicool and rejoice. We always ask, “Is this a wank?” but we don’t really know the answer, or even care. We do care about each other though. And ourselves. And those who will come. We are already in love with them.

You can book already for Murmurations here and you should probably. It is going to be another kind of a something.

 

Good News

Today has been a really good day from a creative point of view. There have been a series of signs that I am moving in a positive direction – not totally there yet, but moving certainly. I am working my way through getting funding for my trip to the US so I can be at the reading of my play Lost Property at the end of May, and I am preparing for a reading of it here at home before I leave (watch this space for more news of that). I am gearing up for the first ever proper performances of my piece The Deep Red Sea on the 20, and 21 May at the Alexander Bar and Café, and I am preparing for teaching a series of classes and workshops. Also, my favourite thing happens next week, also at the Alexander Bar – we are improvising from Monday to Friday in The Style High Club, a series of long form improv shows dedicated to style – film noir, SA soap, Austen, movies and musical, all made up on the spot.

But the best news of the day is that my rhyming children’s story has been picked up by a really big publisher and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I will share all the details as they evolve, but right now I am grinning, and giggling and delighted.

Thinking Improv

I went to a meeting yesterday to find out what a potential client needed. She had said she wanted improv theatre for a client presentation, but I wasn’t convinced that what she was asking for was improv; i.e. performers making stuff up. I was pretty sure she wanted industrial theatre; performance to support a boring event of power points and speeches.

I was right. She had been handed the notion of improv theatre by one of her superiors, didn’t really understand what it was, but couldn’t let go of the name of the thing. She was great, and responsive, when I explained to her the difference and what I thought she was asking for, but the default name of improv theatre stuck around for the meeting, and I was the one who had to let go.

And so I used the basic tools of improv for the rest of the meeting. I listened. I built on her ideas. We worked as a team. We developed the scene. I got her excited. She got me excited. We were so creative, and funny, and enthusiastic. When we walked down to the parking lot it felt like we had finished a healthy workout.

I am writing our ideas into a concept document and I have all the right improv energy to do it. Love improv. Even when it isn’t the thing.

 

TheatreSports after a hard show

There is nothing more fantastic than a great TheatreSports show. It’s the best feel-good fix for any player. But when the show is tough and complicated it offers up the most learning. Last night’s show was like that, and because I am a bit rusty at the moment I felt the moments of struggle a lot more acutely.

Improvising is complex and simple all at once. You have to follow the basic rules, but you also have to allow for all possibilities. You have to be confident yet completely generous. You have to give ideas and give up ideas. You have to work with and for the other players. And you have to remember every step of the way that nobody knows what you are thinking unless you say it out loud!

Improvising in front of an audience shows up every relationship; both on-stage relationships between characters and off-stage relationships between players. Of course there is also the interface with the audience by the emcee and the silent player in the lighting box too. Then there is the musical improviser who is also busy giving and taking. All this relating! And it’s fluid and dynamic, constantly shifting and changing, with status, energy, and emotion.

After every ‘difficult’ performance I walk away trying to find the key. I think last night’s one was ‘set-up’. It felt like we were in a rush to get to the middle and end of each game, before we had clearly established the set-up in the beginning. One thing about improvising is that you never stop learning. And because each show is completely different, you can keep practicing, and while you might make the same mistakes, it will always be in a completely different way, with different players, and in front of a different audience.

I am so delighted to be back on stage in this way; even when it is tough. Thank you TheatreSports.

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