Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Theatre in the District

CLAN Can

A modern, local, young and fresh vampire play, right around the corner from where I live! I went to see CLAN last night and it was vamp-tastic. Best play I’ve seen this year. It’s on at Theatre in the District, but only for a week, so if you want to be part of the inner circle of cool with style and meaning, and be surrounded by the hot young blood of the cast and crew, hurry and don’t get all Capetonian or you’ll miss it.

CLAN is the brainchild of Francesco Nassimbeni, who wrote and directs. It’s a huge cast of seven (in this day and age) and they are in no particular order, Richard Lothian (who I just completely love) Nicole Bailey (who I haven’t seen before but who was delicious), Gahlia Phillips (the beautiful), Armand Aucamp (the completely most delicious), Roxanne Blaise (doing the best and most fabulous work I’ve seen her do), Johann Vermaak (who is very funny) and Juliet Jenkin (who is totally power, quirky, perfect). That’s all I’m going to say about them individually because CLAN is pure teamwork, on every level.

It’s a great story, well rehearsed and developed. The simple set is brilliant. The cozzies are fabulous (except for the bras; my only niggle). The cast look and sound fantastic in the space. The huge high ceilings of the ex-chapel (I know!) and the massive chandelier are perfect. The lighting works. The choreography works. The characters are successful. The show captivates from the first word (and lighter) to the last. The music (did I hear Klaus Nomi; the immortal from my past?) is perfect. The combination of sexy, earnest, funny, loveable, is exactly what will make people (especially young disaffected non-theatre goers) want to see the show (more than once even) and be part of CLAN. Even I had a yearning to go clubbing and drinking (my friend’s blood).

You can book by email on wearetheclan@gmail.com (how can you resist it?) It costs R40. I kid you not. Really, you can’t get anything for R40.

Theatre (in the District)

I went to see an amazing ‘seed of something’ last night at Theatre In the Disctrict, called Crowsong. It’s the mad manic brainchildseed of Jason Potgieter, Jon Keevy and James MacGregor. They say the piece is in its “first draft” stage, usually not a place for an audience to see work, but knowing this and then watching the piece was like having a magical door open into a crazy place/mind/stage/canvas/screen. In terms of production values and techno stuff I thought it was pretty tight actually! I can’t wait to see where it goes. It’s inspiring, and I had that best feeling of almost jealously wanting to work on some crazy shit like that.

Because it is quite openly a ‘work in progress’ I don’t want to say more about it, other than that it was a delight to be there. If you read this today you still have a chance to see it tonight.

One of the things that these guys did was totally transform the stage space. And all they used was brown paper! I love that. I love it.

I’m going to use the rest of this space to talk about the Theatre in the District.Whenever I go there I am struck by possibility. It fills me with the ‘imagine if I won the Lotto’ fantasy of what I would do there to turn the whole building into a performing arts centre.

There are so many reasons why I completely love that place. I first worked there teaching improv to CAP students, when the building housed CAP (Community Arts Project), and I didn’t have a car. I would walk from Vredehoek down to CAP through town and then through what was District 6. This theatre really is in what used to be District 6. Well, totally on the border of what used to be District 6 and Woodstock. The really gommie end of Woodstock (where the chunky parking cherie tells you that your car does and will get broken into unless she is right there to stop it from happening). Now I live in Woodstock, and I have a car. It takes me less than a minute to get there. It really is the theatre in my back yard.

I always rehearse work in on of the old ‘classrooms’ in the building. I love making work there. It has a sense of history. It has a sense of possibility. It has a sense of independence. Mostly, it gives me a sense of nostalgia. It reminds me of my old days in theatre, where you put together a string of dreams with sticky tape and conviction. You decorated it with second hand christmas tinsel, and took down the moth eaten velvet curtain to wear. Then you hung it up again to go behind. Those are the feelings I get when I go to Theatre In the District.

At night, walking through the bushes, next to the stone wall of the old chapel/now theatre, the magic creeps up on you. By the time you walk through the big door that is only opened when a show is on you are already in that other world.

The bar is my favourite “imagine if” space. Every time I’m there I fantasise about performers coming to the bar after every show in Cape Town, to hang out, moan about the critics, skinner about management, bemoan the lack of audiences. I remember Backstage, in town in the 80s. I remember Bob’s Bar in Kloof st in the early 90s, and Don Pedros. I think about staying there, at the bar, and stumbling up the road, full of theatre dreams.

Actors are really bad business people, and probably always will be. And the truth is, I’m still an actor in my soul, making me one of those extremely useless business people. So, my fantasy for Theatre in the District; a performance centre; with rehearsal and masterclass spaces full and active every day, offices humming with the admin of all things theatrical downstairs, a theatre that never has a dark night, and a home from-home-bar close enough for me to spit at from my stoep, will be a fantasy. But, I love thinking about it, and I do, every time I go to the Theatre in The District.

To contact the theatre for rehearsal space/stage space or info email Brian on notty@worldonline.co.za

This is a picture of a bit of the set from last night’s show. It is exactly that thing of tying two bits of string and a paper bag and building endless possibility.

Imagine

PANSA 48hr Play festival Showcase

I’m taking part in PANSA’s 48hr play festival showcase this weekend. How a 48hr festival works is that writers get a cast description and a something (like a newspaper or piece of music) to include in their play. They go away and come back 24 hours later with a 10 minute play, which is handed over to a director and the cast. They have 24 hours to put the play together. Costumes, set, music, lights, words, you name it; all in 24 hours. Then, the plays are performed in front of a live audience.

For two years now PANSA has held this crazy form of theatre and dance as a competition, with the best writer, director, actor, choreographer and dancer chosen by judges, but this time around it is just a showcase, which is pretty cool. We (the directors) meet the writers tomorrow at 12 for a chat. Then, at 1800 we get the scripts and cast. The performances take place on Sunday at 1800 at Theatre in the District in Woodstock. It is great fun. Bite size theatre, made under pressure. Come and check it out. Call PANSA for tickets and details. Actually, I’ve just checked on their website, and there’s nothing about the festival! Sies. So maybe give them a call. 021 448 3513.

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