Tag Archive: megan furniss


amiracist

My friend, Megan Furniss had these questions to help us get thinking and self-examining on this…

If you are worried that you might be a little bit racist there are a few things you can do to check:

# Do you have a natural (and unreasonable) expectation that everyone should be able to communicate with you in English?

# Do you get irritated with Africa Time, because you haven’t taken public transport in a while (or in your life)?

# Do you say ‘they’ or ‘those people’ casually in conversation when talking about other races?

# Do you tell people to ‘get over apartheid’?

# Do you criticise black drivers even in your heart?

# Do you think people are poor because they are lazy?

If you answered yes to any of these you are a little bit racist.

[Megan blogs at Meganshead.co.za]

How about you? Any ideas or thoughts on one way someone can become one bit less racist? Let me know and we can add it to a future post…

[For the next post looking at calling someone ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ click here]

racist

So last night a group of CEO’s got together in Johannesburg for the 702 Sun International CEO Sleepout which took place in Sandton [absolutely no irony there].

As i am in Americaland at the moment i only knew about it from the Twitterer and then was only able to get glimpses of what was happening from the same medium.

In some ways it seemed like a good idea – i heard about R24 million being raised for the homeless [but nothing about how it’s being planned to get it to them] but there were also a lot of aspects about it that started to make me a little wary.

And so at one point i tweeted this: i love the idea of but celebrity chef soup and all night coffee seems to be somewhat missing the point?

My friend Megan, who lets me Improv with her on occasion and who sometimes says really nice things about me online responded to my tweet by asking ‘What exactly do you like about the idea?’

And while i responded with a defensive attempt at an answer, i had to be more personally honest and admit to myself that i didn’t really know. Something inside me wanted it to be a really good idea somehow and yet so much inside me was really just alarm bells going off.

I just read part of this article now from Eyewitness News which is titled, ‘CEOs overwhelmed by experience’ which contains such gems as this: “It grounds me when I have to experience what they experience every day.” [attributed to ‘a business executive’ – this is cutting edge journalism here it seems].

So the one tweet showed me pictures of the all-night coffee stand. A second one alerted me to the Celebrity Chef who was on hand to make soup for the participants. i read a tweet which spoke of how the one lady arrived with a sleeping bag able to take temperatures of down to minus twenty degrees.

This article went to say how, ‘The country’s top decision makers braved the cold winter evening and swapped their beds for the concrete pavement along Gwen Lane.’

As @tweeted, ‘To truly complete the experience, they should let homeless people sleep over at all the CEO’s Sandton mansions tonight’, which seemed a little more on the button.

CEO Sleepout

Because every homeless person has an iPhone with portable charger

This article did mention that the money raised was going to be going towards Boys and Girls town which absolutely does sound like a great deal [especially if it happens before the celebrity chef or whoever designed the designer cardboard chair/sleeping bag combos gets their cut] but it mentioned that it was about raising ‘awareness about the plight of people living in poverty.’

i’m not so sure.

If you are not aware that there is widespread poverty in South Africa, then you really should book a consultation with your local proctologist to see about having your head removed. The plight of people living in poverty? Well, that seems like quite an easy one to figure out as well, especially to the extent that one would sleeping in a warm sleeping bag, eating designer soup and drinking coffee in front of the press.

The cynic in me wonders how many of the people/companies involved did so for the press it generated or to stick up a photo in the entrance hall or add it to the company’s list of accomplishments come year end. The eternal optimist fights back saying that for some people it must have been a genuine experience and hopefully it somehow opened eyes and will open wallets and hopefully even mindsets towards the huge disparity between rich and poor in South Africa.

i honestly am interested though. Do you know someone who was there who can write a piece for me? What are your thoughts on the event? Is this something that will make a positive difference to the poor in South Africa? i would love to know your thoughts on this one…

My heart says “Yes, Please”, but my gut is really screaming “No!”

elephant

i have a good friend called Megan Furniss and we like to make things up.

a lot!

Megan was responsible for pretty much bringing Improv to Cape Town in the form of TheatreSports [now Improguise: Players of TheatreSports] which quickly became Cape Town’s longest running and much loved show. And best kept secret, it seems at some times, although at the moment we are doing some highly experimental and completely fun shows [different formats every week] at the Galloway Theatre just outside of the Waterfront in town. Mondays at 7.30pm – you should come watch! Especially if you haven’t for a while. We also just recently did our first ever Duet two player show of Improvment and it was SO MUCH FUN we are both [i think] looking forward to the next one…

ImpromptuBrettMegan

Megan also has a huge love/hate [or maybe love/frustrate might be a more accurate term] relationship with South Africa and is one of the most proudly South African person i know who is not me, [when it comes to the good stuff] , and one of the most outspoken, incensed, head-shaking, finger-wagging, hair-pulling-out person when it comes to the bad and the ugly.

i, on the other hand [which actually looks remarkably familiar to the first hand] love Improv and the opportunity to be creative in the moment and the freedom of having no script and especially the quick-thinking word-play aspects of it and i have a full-on committed loving relationship with South Africa as can be witnessed here. Just try telling me i am not African. It is in my blood, pale though it be.

Megan and i also have strong thoughts, emotions and feelings towards race-related elephants, i mean issues in our land. i have dedicated a large section of my blog to creating space for conversations around the topic of race and for the most part [as i am not expert] inviting others to share their stories, thoughts and ideas to help us find ways to move forward more productively in South Africa and beyond. Megan has done a lot of Corporate Improv work with middle to senior management of companies and noticed a huge need for conversations of race which are the aforementioned elephant in the room.

Long story short: Megan and i are looking to combine our love of Improv with our heart for South Africa and start making more of a practical difference. We have designed a three hour workshop that looks to use Improv exercises and story-telling aspects to help create a safe space where people can begin the conversations of race that feel so necessary in so many areas of the work-place. And we are hoping to start running them from July when i return to South Africa. 

If you would like to know more and think this is something your work should invest in, you can get hold of Megan at megan@improvision.co.za or myself at brettfish@hotmail.com.

Let’s be honest – a 3 hour workshop is not going to solve the race problems in your workplace… but being the unspoken, unacknowledged, awkward elephant in the room [as it still sadly is in so many places] it is going to be a great way of kickstarting some of the conversations and movement that needs to follow… Help us help you…

race

Imagine waking up one morning and going online and seeing a semi-naked-sprawled-out-on-the-bed-alongside-your-Improv-friend picture of yourself circling the internet…

Cause for panic, right? You’d think so, unless the picture was this one:

ImpromptuBrettMegan

Which i woke up to a week or so ago and was like ‘Holy Crapamole, what’s my wife going to think?’

Fortunately tbV was awake and laughing at it in the other room and so we just jumped on the banned wagon and helped spread it around.

WE GOT YOU, BABE

The purpose of the poster i had previously been aware of and that was the oncoming event [which started last night] of a week of Imprompt2 shows where FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, the incredible Megan Furniss [who imported Improv to Cape Town and began TheatreSports, now Improguise, Cape Town’s longest running show and apparently best kept secret] is going to do a night of two person Improv with a different person every night from Tues to Saturday.

The shows are each going to be slightly longer than that last sentence, at 55 minutes, and will be played with the incredible Anne Hirsch, Ryan Jales, Carolyn Lewis and finished off by Tandi Buchan. aka this beautiful bunch:

Imp

55 minutes on stage doing Improv with no other backup, no members waiting on the side of the stage to jump in and save, no muso to provide background music or the base for a song, and two settings of light: mostly on and mostly off. This is Improv almost at its dangerous best [it’s absolute dangerous best would be last year when Megan performed a one-woman Improv show].

Was i nervous? Absolutely. But more that i would be too similiar characters throughout the show [didn’t happen] or that the 5 people we had booked by late afternoon would be it [wasn’t – we had a delightful audience] but for the show itself i was excited anticipationary, adrenalin-filled and just so ready to Go Go Go!

THE SHOW

Let’s get this right out there. You had to be there. And so if you weren’t, whatever words follow are largely just for me and possibly to help you become really sad that you missed it and that besides our generous loving invested audience, no-one else will ever see what happened ever again. But i can try give you a glimpse…

We literally had NO IDEA what we were going to do. We had one light ‘rule’ that we were going to try and use, or not, which was that one way of changing scene would be to take a word, phrase or sentence that the other actor had spoken and repeat it as a way to start a brand new scene.

So we interviewed the audience. “What did any of you expect to see tonight? Or hope you would see? Or want to see?” They stared back at us. Nothing.

“Okay, so let’s bring it down a notch. Does anyone have a favourite colour?” Red.

“What does red make you think of?” Roses. [We’re getting somewhere, slooooowly]

“And what do roses make you think of?” Love. Thorns. “Ah, so we have the optimistic romantic side of the audience over here and the cynical bunch over there.” [nervous laugh]

So then Megan got bold with, “So can anyone share a story they have which involves a rose?”

No lies. From right at the back, someone [who, let’s be honest is a friend of mine] speaks out, “I once smelled a rose.”

We look at each other. Maybe we should just start.

And so we did. And without having a clue where anything would go, and with not a single accent, character or idea i’d been practising in front of my mirror all day emerging at any point [yay for that] we produced some magic and the majority of it was really pretty amazing, and some was really odd, and a whole lot of the really odd stuff was pretty amazing.

One of the oddest moments, and personal highlights of the show was an interaction between Megan and i where she from the left of the stage called out to me, sitting on a chair at the right and eventually came over to join me, clearly climbing over rows of things to get to me.

“Where’d you get all the sticks?”

“I bought them… at the hardware store.”

[pause] “Why do they have all those fingers on them?”

“To keep the badgers away.”

[pause] “But there are no badgers here?”

“Yes, they’re really effective.”

You can. not. make. that. stuff. up.

Oh, but we did, and more. [And if you heard the creepy accents we were using for that scene, just imagine it 1000 times better]

But from Megan’s Energiser Bunny skills demonstration for a secretary job interview, to pulling a Spanish guy out of the audience to interrogate him [who only said “Que?” and who i thought was taking the piss, but turned out to be really just a Spanish guy and so completely Fawlty Towers moment right there], to King of the Ice Throne [which you can’t lick!] whose bird Gabriel had to be eaten when he ran out of snacks, to the waitress at the French Cafe who offered ‘Cafe de Mime’ which is a coffee and mime combo, to being asked to dictate a 13 word poem, where each word rhymed, had three syllables and ended with X [which technically i pulled off, even if the ‘X’ was silent] to a weird strange alien creature who spoke in garbled sounds interaction, to telepathic CV’s, an on the spot song called ‘There’s a Fish in my Wine Glass’, a funeral where the roses had been made out of paper mache [by the woman, whose mom had died,’s husband’s ex] and finishing off with a Captain Jack counselling session featuring some Pilates of the Caribbean which you couldn’t really observe because it was all core.

And probably more  – it was incredible to see what we fit into 55 minutes – but it was dangerous [pulling an audience member on stage] and delightful and risky and fun and brilliant and when i walked off the stage i was instantly disappointed that Anne, Ryan, Carolyn and Tandi were playing the next four nights and not Brett, Brett, Brett and Brett. Except that they will be great and there will be a slightly different format per show and i really wish i could watch them all.

This is addictive stuff people. Be warned.

And so Big Huge Giant Tremendous thanks to Megan for trusting me and letting me go first and kick the week off. And for just absolutely diving in with everything and being so generous in both taking and receiving offers. i look forward to Impromt2 II

If you’re in Cape Town, GO AND WATCH A SHOW – Tuesday to Thursday. Do it!

i am loving being a part of this Tandem Blogging series with 8 other very creative and very different individuals. There is the dual satisfaction of having a very focused piece to write on a topic i didn’t choose [which is incredible for creativity] and then also the thrill of bouncing from post to post once we’ve released them, to see how differently each writer interpreted the title each week. Last week was my favourite week out of the 5 i have been part of, and despite this week’s title being a little more dangerous, i am looking forward to seeing how everyone tackled it. Hee, hee, i said ‘tackle’.

So read this one and then please take a look at as many of the others as you can and please do us the honour of sharing any of these that you really enjoyed:

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Tonight you’re mine, completely

Draft 1: Tonight you're mine, completely.
Draft 2: Two Knights. You're mine. Complete. [Leigh]
Draft 3: To Knights, Ewe are mine! Compete? [Leigh]
Draft 4: Dear Members of the Round Table. The female sheep belong to me. Wanna fight about it? [Lee]
Draft 5: Deer members. Get off the round table. Wool bearer ownership decided. A duel? [Lee]
Draft 6: Buck! Remove yourselves from the wooden table! A knitter has been duly decided upon.
Draft 7: The buck stops here. Unstable. A familiar pattern has been selected.
Draft 8: President. Unstable set. Recognition. Choice.
Draft 9: A precedent has been set. I recognise this in the one I have chosen.
Draft 10: Tonight you're mine, completely.

join

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Having read the rest of the posts for this week i feel like everyone has done some amazing incredible work and so please give yourself some time to read at least a few of the others, if not all of them.

The writing is all different flavours of great, but which one will be YOUR favourite this week?

Cath: https://cathjenkin.wordpress.com

Scott: http://squidsquirts.blogspot.com

Kerry: http://www.kerrycontrary.com

James: http://www.jamespreston.org

Megan: http://www.meganshead.co.za

Sarah: https://medium.com/@ricegirl2

Dave: https://bloggsymalone.wordpress.com

Nick: https://medium.com/@nick_frost

[To return to the first Tandem Post i took part in with the theme of ‘Meeting the Queen’, click here]

pastis99

Pearls before Swine is my favourite comic strip as a lot of you know and i thought this was particularly apt as it introduces the topic of today’s Tandem Blog post [where i, alongside 8 other bloggerists, get given a title and have to write whatever post it inspires] which is simply:

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Ninety-ninE

Nectarine, you ask? Well it does happen to be a peach’s kin

Is then a meditational appreciator of the bacterial fermentation process not a yogi?

Nuts! You exclaim, as you read the peanut packaging warning that “nut traces may be found within”

Elderberries carry a similar disappointment of not being simply a youngberry that has reached senioric age

There lies with food, even before one receives a taste, the subtle hint of a deeper to-be-had enjoyment

Yet we typically gloss over the possibility of hidden character traits to simply head for those we personally enjoy

Nervous as the avocado may appear to be, would you instinctively consider her humourly barren?

Is the mushroom, after all, once he has been given space to wind down from a hard day’s work, not a fungi?

No! It’s time we moved away from these presupposed speculatory judgements, premised on gustatory satisfaction?

Engage in deeper understanding of who your food at its very heart may really prove to be.

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[Interesting piece of writing, you may be thinking. But i’m not quite sure how that relates to the theme. Although most of you probably were nodding your head and making the appropriate aaahing and oohing sounds in an Emperor’s Clothes kind of “Well of course, it is. Don’t YOU think it is? I saw it straight away. Did you not see it?” kind of way. Well, what if i write it out once more, but with a little bit of a nudge. Right away, you might notice the beginnings and go, “Well, that IS rather fun. But anyone can do beginnings. Good show sir, well done.” If you let your eye linger for just a moment longer, then the endings might come into view, and maybe that will be enough for you to… well…]

Ninety-ninE

Nectarine, you ask? Well it does happen to be a peach’s kin

Is then a meditational appreciator of the bacterial fermentation process not a yogi?

Nuts! You exclaim, as you read the peanut packaging warning that “nut traces may be found within”

Elderberries carry a similar disappointment of not being simply a youngberry that has reached senioric age

There lies with food, even before one receives a taste, the subtle hint of a deeper to-be-had enjoyment

Yet we typically gloss over the possibility of hidden character traits to simply head for those we personally enjoy

Nervous as the avocado may appear to be, would you instinctively consider her humourly barren?

Is the mushroom, after all, once he has been given space to wind down from a hard day’s work, not a fungi?

No! It’s time we moved away from these presupposed speculatory judgements, premised on gustatory satisfaction?

Engage in deeper understanding of who your food at its very heart may really prove to be.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

This post is part of a tandem blogging exercise with 9 other bloggerists. One title unwrapped by nine bloggerists. We realise that 9 is a lot of posts to read, but there is a lot of great stuff to be looked at, so please do your best. Why not start with Cath’s post over here,followed by Scott which you can find over here. Make sure you see what Kerry came up with over here. Then the rest of the posts can be found below. Maybe bookmark this page and spend the next week checking all of them out. Please share your thoughts on our fun exercise in the comments on each post, and remember that with bloggerists, sharing is always caring. 

James: http://www.jamespreston.org/

Megan: http://www.meganshead.co.za/

Sarah: https://medium.com/@ricegirl2

Dave: http://bloggsymalone.wordpress.com

Nick: https://medium.com/@nick_frost

megbrett

i met Megan Choritz, wow, 17 years ago?

As you can see, it started out quite daunting – the person who brought Improv to Cape Town in the form of TheatreSports, now Improguise, Cape Town’s longest running show [and best kept secret somehow].

But pretty soon i had gained confidence and the tables had been turned…

brettmeganears

Although some might not use ‘daunted’ in quite the same way, but i’m telling you, behind those fingers-in-ears is pure dauntment!

So we’ve played together for probably 13 years [as i was overseas for some of them] and made some of the most fabulous stuff up based on a word or theme or idea from an audience member or MC and it has been truly magical.

And scary. It’s always the teensiest tiniest bit of scary. Because you NEVER KNOW what is going to happen on stage. You never know what your partner will bring. And when it’s Megan who is one of the best ever, then it really could be completely anything. But at the very same time, you never have to really be scared, because TheatreSports is one of the most generous art forms out there and there is ALWAYS someone ready to save, to jump in and rescue, to MAKE YOU LOOK GOOD.

i was privileged to be there when Megan Choritz disappeared and in her place stood Megan Furniss, married to ‘Big Friendly’ as she calls him, the most unusual pairing initially with Brenton being a tall gentle computer programmy guy and Megan… well, not being that. And yet it has been one of the most beautiful relationships to watch. So much powerful and yet gentle love, so evident. Wow. She even wrote some great marriage advice for my blog as someone busy with their 10th year of marriage.

meg2

Improv has been great but there is another exciting journey ahead that i can’t wait for. In March Megan wrote a piece for my people who give me hope in South Africa series which was somewhat awkwardly about me, but highlighted in some of the best ways the incredible way two such-diverse people [especially when religion is concerned – HEY, COME BACK HERE!] can remain good friends and interact on such a deep level in some areas. Both with a huge bleeding heart for this beloved country of ours we have decided to do something about it. We have designed a three hour workshop which will help groups of people who work together get to the point of being able to speak about that elephant in the room of race. With the “Yes, lets!” and “Teamwork” nature of Improv and specifically through story-telling we hope to prepare people to be able to engage in a healthy way and really start listening to each other and get conversation started. If you would like to know more, get hold of me and ask…

But back to scary…

We are VERY excited to announce Megan’s upcoming show called Impromp2 which is as it kind of suggests, a night of Improv with just two people. I am very honoured to be kicking the week off on Tuesday 17th May with Megan, and then every night after that a different member of our Improv group will be joining her each evening. It is going to be taking place at the most delightful Alexander Bar on Strand Street in town. Two improvisors, one stage and EVERYTHING ELSE made up on the spot for an entire hour. No backup crew. No-one waiting on the side to jump in and save. It’s going to be completely scary and i can. not. wait. Come and watch. [and you should probably book tickets as soon as you can cos it’s not the hugest venue and i imagine they will be snapped up soon]

Also Megan will not be too amped to hear that one of the funnest things in life for me is a Megan corpse [to clarify: that means when someone breaks out of character to laugh, not the other one] and so Impromp2 will not be completely incredible unless we can sneak in one of those…

Megan Furniss and Brett “Fish” Anderson… like the Murtaugh and Riggs of the Improvising world… long may we continue [yes, it’s okay that you had to look that up]…

Also it’s high time she followed me for a change and Megan has just joined a group of us who are doing Tandem Blogging where each week we get a title and have to blog whatever comes out of that as you can see with our most recent one on ‘The Art of Boredom’ for which you can find Megan’s perfectly captured piece over here.

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