Tag Archive: theatresports


ts

played out a western as former Marshall, Sheriff Marshall Coltson, last night [yes, Colt Son as in son of a gun – with my memory it helps to have some kind of word association going so i can remember my own name, although Megan did call me Cranston at one stage which was particularly [Breaking] bad, but that happens…] at the Kalk Bay theatre as part of the ongoing Improguise Festival…

it was my last show personally as i am about to jump on a plane to head back to Americaland, but the festival continues through Saturday and you should really give it a watch if you can – some magical stuff happening on that stage…

in March, we [they] are going to be running the next TheatreSports course [which i am convinced in my headbrain that everyone should do at least once] which is an excellent way to set free your creative juices, to experience amazing teamwork and to conquer [or at least push back to the fringes] any inhibitions you may have. i highly recommend the experience. only a few people are invited afterwards to join our crazy crew, but each person walks away having learnt and experienced some incredible lessons which they can apply to all areas of life…

Yes, Lets.

one of the first lessons you learn when doing improvisation is the concept of ‘Yes, lets,’ something we could all use more of.

if i start a story with the line, ‘Hey do you want to go to the beach’ and your response is ‘No, thanks,’ then the story has died. One of us has to come up with a new offer of a story and we have wasted a lot of time. So it is important to say “Yes, lets” and then work together on how we can make a great story.

this is such a beautiful lesson and it would really be amazing if we could all embrace that generally in life.

Yes, and…

the second one is like it. even if i am not such a big fan of your offer of us going to the beach because we’ve done so many scenes on the beach and it feels like a bit of a boring story to me, i can invite the philosophy of ‘Yes, and…’ which means giving your idea a big “Yes” and then adding something that will add to your idea… So, “Yes, let’s go to the beach. I heard that Professor Klugelman just dug up the bones of a mammoth there last night.” suddenly the beach story is not the typical one we are used to – the “And…” has given it new life and direction and together we have a more exciting story.

taking someone’s suggestion or idea and adding something to it is another way we could live bigger lives – i get super amped when i see how creative people are on Facebook and You Tube with photography and music and art and so much more and it is often done with an eye on a laugh or a good feeling or creating for the sake of creating. i get triply superstoked when people start using that same kind of creativity towards things like poverty and AIDS and homelessness and come up with creative “Yes, and…” ideas for seeing new endings to boring and sad old stories that we have grown used to and often just accepted as the norm.

This is not for my laugh

one of the hardest lessons i learnt playing TheatreSports [or to be honest am still very much in the process of learning] was that of realising that it is a team game and my job is to make the team look good, to give someone else the best laugh – we are selfish creatures [especially when comedy is concerned] and grabbing the biggest laugh for ourselves is always a huge temptation [for me anyways].

i feel like i really did well at this in the three shows i performed with the festival this year. but suddenly i started noticing when others were not doing the same thing. and it made me both irritated and frustrated. but the worst part was recognising myself in there – knowing that it used to always be me going for the cheap or easy [or at times clever] laugh often at the expense of story or the team. and so i have come to see the value of playing for the team – if i look particularly good, then the rest of the team starts to look bad by comparison and that is not fun [i have done that and i have received that].

again, such a powerful less0n that would be well applied to life – working for the team, the group and then extending that to the family, the neighborhood and the community.

so, go and watch an Improguise festival show before it ends on Saturday, sign up to do the March TheatreSports course, and let’s all try and live life with a little more “Yes, lets,” “Yes, and” and “Playing for the whole team” in our stories…

for more information on any of the improv stuff and how to get watching or even be involved, go and visit our website

in the middle of the show, a moment of courage in the face of no small amount of fear – What if Stephanie does not understand or receive my idea?

the show is a completely made-up on the spot improvised Crime/Thriller documentary and it was show number two in Cape Town’s second ever Improv fest, happening this week at the Kalk Bay theatre [8pm, R60 per person and with delicious boerrie rolls and free drink for R60, make sure you book on 0729393351]

Stephanie was the lead character in our Crime/Thriller documentary which, as per audience suggestion, was set in Russia, sometime in the 70s and the crime in question was that someone was stabbed with a stake through the heart.

i was dutch doctor turned professor [sometime during the twenty years Stephanie had been in prison as the documentary was being filmed 20 years after said event] Dr Jaap von Vlanderen with a deliciously Russian tinged Dutch accent [20 years will do that to you] and the moment in question was one in which Stephanie, who had been completely unresponsive during my therapy was suddenly right there in the action of what had happened, describing the murder with “blood on my hands dripping down”…

i had an idea – Stephanie is under hypnosis which describes why the dramatic change in character – and i will click my fingers and release her from it…

which is where the fear comes in as i have no way to let Stephanie know this is what i am thinking… i will make an offer and either Stephanie will accept it wholeheartedly and it will be beautiful and a defining moment in the show… or she will be confused by what i am trying to do if i don’t communicate it effectively and miss it completely… or she will decide that i am offering a kak idea and just refuse it completely…

these thoughts travel at 100 miles a minute through my head but in reality i have maybe three seconds to think it all and make a choice and act on it.

what i have going strongly in my favour is that Stephanie is none other than Megan Furniss, founder of TheatreSports [Cape Town’s longest running theatre show, now going under the name of Improguise] and improviser extraordinaire and i know that the “Yes, lets” of improvisation is strong within her and so there is every safety for me in suggesting an idea and knowing she will help make it beautiful… [there is still the question of whether i will communicate it well enough for her to be on the same page as me]

[deep breath, lean forward, click my fingers] “And release.”

Megan, aka Stephanie, immediately slumps forward, instantly receiving my offer and playing it brilliantly without even a moment’s hesitation.

The audience is in on it. It worked. The story is moved forward. Adrenalin pulsating. Improvisation at its best.

Just one defining moment in an incredible evening where all the actors have worked together as one cohesive team to create a compelling story of political intrigue, international espionage and betrayal.

And it is going to be happening again tonite [Family musical] and then Saturday [Superscene which is like a crazy hectic version of Survivor:Improvise] and next week from Wed [Western] through to Saturday,

And then every Monday and Tuesday for the rest of the year. Although that will be back to our short form improvised games.

For me, having lived in Philadelphia and now Oakland in Americaland for the last two and a half years [except for a visit last year where i got to be involved in the first festival] it is such a privilege to be allowed to play with these talented people on stage again before heading back.

You do not want to be one of the people in Cape Town who misses out on this magic, so tell your friends and book and come and watch. Who knows what tonite’s adrenalin moment will be…?

2014 home ts fest

[Continued from part i]

as i said before, one thing i take really seriously in life, is humour:

‘To me, clowns aren’t funny. In fact, they’re kind of scary. I’ve wondered where this started and I think it goes back to the time I went to the circus, and a clown killed my dad.’

[Jack Handey] 

‘I imagine a horse drawn carriage would be a really ugly thing. For starters, it must be almost impossible to grip a pencil with hooves. Plus there is all that fine detail around the edges to consider.’

[Brett Andy]

[one of my funniest guys followed by one of my attempts at making humour like on of my funniest guys, which you can find more of here]

so i didn’t actually plan to write the previous blog post – it just kinda was there and i started on it and suddenly it became this thing needing to be ended off before it became a book and since i hadn’t finished going where i was wanting to go when i started it, i figured i should carry on. it was one of the most personal blogs i have written and contained some stories and revelations that i have never really shared with anyone, especially the bullying stuff. i guess because my self-identity was pretty strong from quite a young age, due to my faith in God, that that stuff never really got to me so much, or at least not in a way that led to any destructive behaviour or anything.

one of the main points of it was that i really hoped to be quite funny in life and in certain contexts and with particular people i have been – and maybe that is enough, or should be – but i guess i always secretly harboured the hope that on stage or in a book or online or something i would be ‘discovered’ and a whole lot more people would find me funny. and also wanting to write a funnier blog [not always but sometimes, something that would really make people happy] and realising that for me that is a really difficult thing to do – i really seem to struggle to write funny [more than i struggle to be funny] and i’m not sure why that is, but stop it.

someone who i think achieves that writing-wise is a woman named Jamie Wright who calls herself The Very Worst Missionary and her blog makes me smile and laugh on quite regular occasions, but she also totally knows how to drive an uber serious point home and nail it between your eyes. [a classic of hers would be how she manages to capture so brilliantly awkwardly her mistrust and lack of skill at ‘The Hug’ – take a look at this one!]

when it comes to stand-up, which i’ve always wanted [but been too scared] to try, i have a strong feeling that once i got going i would be great because one of my skills is working a crowd – i have just never been able to come up with the starting material to lay a good foundation to be able to work a crowd from. and so i never have. and perhaps i never will. [although in my mind i still like to at least think i will and maybe the material that is naturally rushing towards me in the Americans and African Geography theme might be enough for a set one day altho i will need to disclaim that this is a true story… no, South Africa itself is a country. please stop asking me what country i am from. still South Africa. yes.]

THE FRIEND WHO DID LIGHTS AND AN IMPROV LIFELINE

i guess one of the things i am most grateful to my ex-girlfriend Kirsty for, is having a friend called Karen.

Karen used to do the lights for an improv comedy show in Cape Town called TheatreSports [altho these days they are now called Improguise and they do TheatreSports]and because we were friends with her we ended up going to see quite a lot of their shows. and because we went to see quite a lot of their shows i feel like we eventually got to see them for free or something.

but i sat there for a year and i watched these masters of comedy and improvisation and i thought to myself repeatedly, ‘i can do that’ although in my head i imagine the word ‘better’ probably ended off that particular sentence.

and so, somehow i ended up doing the TheatreSports course with one of the scariest women [when she is mad] who was [and always has been in my experience] the most gentlest person when leading people through a very scary-by-nature class where it is all about making things up on the spot [and perhaps trying to have those things make people laugh!] and who led [and leads] and incredible class and i really, honestly believe that everyone in the world should do the Introduction to TheatreSports course once in their life as it is so helpful for learning to think creatively, for helping break your inhibitions and for teaching you how to be generous in helping other people look good.

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

# let me give a bit of a sidebar here, because i believe this is of the utmost importance in terms of my journey – the way TheatreSports generally works is that you do the course and then there are three options given to you:

1. Thanks for doing the course. I hope you had fun. You will make an excellent librarian.

2. Thanks for doing the course. I hope you had fun. We would love to have you as part of our team. Feel free to join us for class once a week and we would love you to do the front of house and lights for approximately 6 months before you ever have a hope of being on stage. [this is not said to people but is the general understanding – new people from a course do door and lights for about 6 months before any of them are given a shot on stage and some of them might never be]

3. Thanks for doing the course. I hope you had fun. We would like you to play in two week’s time.

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

From most of the courses i have been around for, i can’t remember many more than three people [out of a group that might be 15 to 25] be asked to join us for class. i think everyone who has been invited to class has been a number 2 in terms of the descriptions above.

In fact, i have only ever seen one number 3 that i remember [and that could really just be my memory, but this is the one that stands out] and that was me. And i honestly don’t know that i would have managed to stick around for 6 months not playing if i had not been given the chance. Hopefully i would have. But i know for absolute sure, that the fact that i got on to stage to play with them almost immediately was the hugest boost for my confidence and in my opinion, improvisation is 80% confidence and 20% skills and funny or something like that.

Ashley Brownlee and Megan Choritz, now Furniss, are in my opinion the best TheatreSports players i have ever worked with [and there have been a bunch of other hugely talented people as well] and the secret with them was that they could come up with amazing ideas most of the time… but on occasion they could also have a pretty crap idea and deliver it with an amazing character or with such incredible confidence that it would be brilliant and the audience would love them. i have seen many lesser skilled players have amazing ideas and deliver them nervously and they have crashed and burned. so much of it is confidence. and i am so grateful that, for what ever reason [maybe shortage of players when i was around] i was given the chance to get on to the stage quite quickly.

and sometimes i was good. and sometimes i was really really bad.

i remember one excrutiating Rag show we did in the Baxter theatre [an annual show for the local university students where they got stand-up often filthy comedy for an hour and then we brought our family friendly show for an hour] where we were playing a warm-up game called ‘Environment’ which is a guessing game where the audience pick three words while you are out of the room and then you come in and play the scene in the environment they give you and try stumble on to the words.

Ashley Brownlee: best guy i ever played with.

Ashley Brownlee: best guy i ever played with.

 Ours was set in a Spur and i got stuck on stage as the head waiter or chef as teammate after teammate came on and guessed food suggestions for the last word we just couldn’t get and left again. Embarrassing, awkward, awful and i died a little inside. fortunately i also remember one of my highlight moments ever came at the end of that show and i forget the exact scene but we were playing Music Style Replay and Ashley and i managed to get our tongues stuck to a frozen ski lift and were singing a rousing duet that brought the house down.

i played with the TheatreSports crew for just under a year and in the beginning there is very much [even if just in your head] the feeling of you being the newcomer and this subtle gap between you and the regular players – they don’t treat you any differently and it is probably again linked to a confidence thing [as early on, most of the notes sessions we have after a show where we discuss how things went and try to learn from them, seem to be aimed at you because you are messing up the most] but i do remember the moment ‘it happened’ and suddenly i was one of the team – and having played for 11 years with them i got to see that dynamic happen with other people as well where there is this moment of ‘yup, you’re really in’ and i imagine each player probably experiences that differently.

so if my first lifeline was being thrown quickly on to stage, my second lifeline happened a year or two later. as i mentioned i was with TheatreSports for a year and then i went overseas to do the Youth With A Mission course that i did in Holland, heading to the UK and London specifically first so as to make money to pay for it. but before i left i really thought it would be a great idea to proselytise the entire team and in a very messy way that was brought about by circumstances and time constraints and fear i guess, i ended up writing a long letter comparing aspects of TheatreSports and improv games and then giving it to each of them and leaving the country.

it did not go down so well.

SO MUCH GRACE AND LOVE 

and i was away for just over a year and i knew that everyone was really pissed with me. and so i just tried to keep/build relationship by sending postcards and emails and staying in touch and letting them know that i missed them.

time managed to heal a lot of wounds. and my TheatreSports crew were incredibly gracious. i remember literally having one moment back stage with my ‘Stunt Double’ friend Sarah before going on to do a show and then it was left in the past. it was a few months after my return that i felt my moment of transition from ‘new guy’ to ‘one of the team’ and i just soared from there.

so much fun. so much funny. so many great memories and great memories of not-so-great-corporate-show memories and trips to Namibia and Sun City and all around Cape Town for a whole bunch of very different shows. i loved getting to lead TheatreSports courses with Megan and others in the team. fionaquite possibly one of the fun highlight moments of life [and a running gag between me and my teammate] was the time Fiona Du Plooy and i were doing a workshop at a boy’s school in Cape Town and playing a game where you basically set up the next kid in line with an action [with the strong instruction to never make anyone do anything you would not do yourself] and one of the boy’s when asked ‘what are you doing?’ [usually the answer is something like ‘I’m eating an ice-cream’ and then the next kid mimes eating an ice-cream] responded with ‘I’m sucking a ferret’ and despite losing Fiona almost completely to giggles at the suggestion, before we had a chance to interject and re-emphasise the instruction, the next boy in line mimed sucking a ferret as if it were a giant lollipop… needless to say we needed a time-out to get Fiona back and it has been a private joke between us for years…

the key focus of TheatreSports is teamwork and making each other look good and i think i took a little while to learn that one, whereas i was surrounded by generous folks who were always modelling it for me – but i tended to try to get the laugh for myself and often do it at the expense of the scene or the believability of the scene and that was never very cool of me and i often got ‘shouted at’ in notes. i guess it was the struggle between finally having the space and the skills to be funny and having people [a whole audience of them] think i was. but i owe so much to that tireless group of improvisers who showed me grace and forgiveness and patience on so many occasions as i learnt to do improvisation more as a team player.

altho one aspect does stand apart from all of that. my favourite game from the beginning [my watching days] was a game called Sign, where much like the recent Mandela memorial service, someone gets up and makes up a whole lot of sign language. the game is played as an interview where two people are given a topic and the third person recreates the entire interview in a made-up sign language.

in my opinion, Ashley Brownless is the king of that game. is and always will be. i used to love watching him do the sign language and because he was so good, no one else ever wanted to try it. if we played Sign, Ashley was going to do the signing.

signi imagine there must have been times when Ashley wasn’t around during our time at TS together and i probably would have tried doing it. but it was really when Ashley left that i started doing it more and more and then suddenly i became the go-to person for sign and at some point people even started referring to it as my game. that was a big moment for me. i have always said that i am not as good an actor as most of the rest of TheatreSports [who generally had some kind of dramatic training] and so when it comes to creating [and holding] characters and making scenes happen, i was always on the back foot [especially in the early days, hopefully i’ve improved]. so i used to generally excel at games that involved words or quick wit or cleverness [my absolute favourite game being one we invented as a team called Jonathan’s Lisp where we would get two consonants from the audience and if it was a ‘F’ and a ‘P” then ever ‘F’ in the scene that our characters spoke would be replaced with a ‘P’ – it was a lot of silly pun].

so the idea that i was really good at one particular game really was a great ego and confidence boost for me. and i just also loved playing that particular game so much as well.

and so being part of that amazing group of creative and clever and witty and adventurous and generous people is one of the things i really miss a lot from being away from South Africa [for close to three years now – although in Jan this year they let me play a bunch of shows when i was there and that was so much fun!]

MY NON-EXISTENT [SO FAR] INTERNATIONALIMPROV CAREER

and i did audition for two shows while i was over here:

[1] the first was a group called Comedysportz in Philly and they were really great – as with TheatreSports days of old i would sit in the audience and watch their show and think, ‘I am definitely better than at least half of these people’ and so i was super amped to play but in all honesty probably would not have had the time with our Philly work/home schedule – I went to an audition [and i really suck at auditions – my humour, as mentioned, works well playing off an audience] and thought i did decently, but they auditioned about a hundred people in three days in three minute auditions and so i really didn’t have much of a chance and didn’t make it. i was bummed, but playing improv for 11 years with an amazing bunch of people back home and knowing i could do it, meant that it didn’t ding my confidence or identity at all. their loss really. i still enjoyed watching a bunch of their shows and made friends with some of the people who played and they had some really great players as well.

[2] in the first few weeks in Oakland we found a place online and i went and auditioned there and they said they would email us back with the results within 24 hours and i never heard back from them. i auditioned with about 12 other people and easily thought i was in the top 2 so really didn’t think i wouldn’t get in. however, while i was auditioning, my wife Val was outside waiting for me and got to witness their ‘A-Team’ practising and she told me later it was a really horrible experience with people blocking each other and fighting on stage and just doing a bunch of stuff that didn’t make for good improv. so bullet dodged i guess.

but i do miss playing and am looking forward to a guest appearance at a show or two in Jan/Feb when we head home for a visit which is but weeks away. i have been playing around with the idea of perhaps running an improv course here in Oakland and seeing if we can get a little something together. but we will have to see.

so the TheatreSports crew and my years in improv definitely helped play a huge role in terms of me finding my funny and it has been so amazing to perform for and entertain literally thousands of people over the last decade and more. thank you thank you thank you to everyone who played big and small roles in that.

i feel like there is one more part to share [anyone make it down this far?] which will focus on the more recent years, my failed attempts at viral success and my discovery of a really tiny audience who really appreciate my funny way more than they should and have inspired me to keep on trying simply because i love seeing how they interact and looking at attempts at Jack Handeyesque humour, a nutcase called Brad Fish [who at least four schools in South Africa invited into their online classrooms to teach English to], my standup pulpit and the biggest [and sometimes hardest but most fulfilling when it comes] laugh to strive for – that of tbV.

to close off, one of my favourite movie lines which comes from a Bond movie and was perhaps meant in all seriousness, but which i find one of the greatest and funniest lines of all time – picture Sean Connery’s James Bond strapped to a table with a gold laser beam making its way slowly towards his privates as villain Auric Goldfinger looks on:

James Bond: Do you expect me to talk?

Goldfinger: No, Mister Bond, I expect you to die.

[to be continued…]

corpsing megan

I did that. Gold medal right there.

and of course in 11 years of improv’ing where more often than not i have been on the opposing team to Megan, one of my favourite [naughty] things to do is when we do play a game together and i find a way to corpse [make her break character and laugh] her – because she is such a pro that it doesn’t happen often, hence the challenge, and the reward when this results:

[To continue on to part iii which looks largely at my stand-up preaching and the three jokes i invented, click here]

another great wordpress photo challenge theme and so many different places where i could take this from but i decided this time to rather focus on one area – that of improv and my time with TheatreSports, now called Improguise, in South Africa who i got to spend about 11 years with making stuff up with and really just one of the most amazing opportunities and things to be a part of… like ‘Whose Line Is It Anyways?’ we get a stage and a live audience and some basic game rules and then a bunch of suggestions from the audience and we just make up whatever comes up in our minds with the phrase “Yes, lets” in mind – can be absolutely anyone or anything in any variety of locations and just so much complete silly ridiculous fun i can’t even explain… here are just a handful of pics that give a glimpse into the mayhem and madness and hilarity that have ensued…

[For the previous Photo Challenge with the theme of ‘Pattern’ click here]

B & W hockey stick romance

B & W depth of thoughtedness

black and white definitely holds something special and extra for me in terms of being able to convey the depth of thought and seriousness in the picture on the left or the heightened mystery and intrigue of the pose in the picture on the right. the shadows in both add a stronger presence to the pictures.

when it comes to injecting colour though:

He must become greater, I must become less

psychadelic fish face

for me the picture on the left, which has not been worked on at all, has such a range of blue going on starting from almost white and working through various shades, it resembles one of those pick-the-colour blocks you get for choosing backgrounds and is just stunning in its natural effect. the second picture which was done using laptop webcam special affects i like because of the psychadelic nature of the colours used which create an effect of out-of-this-worldness, a sort of gentle surrealness.

And then ending off with these two which are contrasts in hairstyle – the one on the left is me in action with two of the greatest TheatreSports guys i ever played improv with and if you can get past my horrendous hair [worst ever!] then the depth and darkness of the blue is what really makes this pic come to life for me. It has a bold and framing effect which i really enjoy. And what collection of pictures on colour would be complete without one showing the changes of colour to my hair, this one of my favourite times of going for a mix of it:

Chameleon headstyle

TheatreSports boys in Blue

 

[For the previous Photo Challenge with the theme of ‘A Day in my Life’ click here]

hope for south africa

#1. you have a reason to go somewhere else – i understand for some people if they are living in fear and feel like for family and children’s sake that they need to be somewhere else then sure, maybe you need to do that. Val and i went to the Simple Way because we felt God was leading us there and we are now part of Relational Tithe/Common Change as we feel like it is a God thing to be doing – but apart from that, if it was solely up to me i would choose to be in South Africa and even now, the stuff we are involved in i know will benefit South Africa/South Africans [at first via internet/ideas/stories but hopefully directly at some stage]

#2. if you’re a whiner. i get SO tired of hearing people whine and moan about South Africa. If that’s you and it is the overwhelming sense of your current attitude or state of being, then maybe you need to leave and go somewhere else. Chances are you will find something to whine about there, but it may be that you can find a place where you won’t be helpless or paralysed because of all the negativity you see or experience.

Those are the reasons. For me, anyways, and i know other people may think differently and that’s fine, but i really believe that if you are not going somewhere else for a specific reason then stay in South Africa. But be part of the solution.

I really loved being back in South Africa for the last two and a half months even more than i thought i would. i was inspired by the churches i visited and the people there and hearing some of the initiatives that were being done. i was encouraged and inspired by meeting people like Marci and Nathalie from Common Good [NPO linked to Common Ground church in Cape Town] and by chatting to my friend Godfrey from TheatreSports and hearing about his involvement with Sea Point High School and the Darling Project as well as hearing what is happening with uThando leNkosi and iKhayalethemba and a whole bunch of other projects, initiatives, relationships and so on. all around me there are such tremendous signs of hope and so it bummed me out when everyone got so caught up in the Oscar Pistorius saga to the point of celebrity obsession when there is so much greatness happening to be able to put ones life into.

everyone doesn’t need to do everything. but everyone needs to do something. and if each person starts connecting to one person, or family, or a project or ministry, then suddenly the news starts to change. it really is possible and positive momentum breeds more of the same.

so if you are already part of doing something, invite someone else to hear about it, to come visit, to get involved. and if you’re not, then find a person or a place to get involved – something that connects with your gifts and skills or maybe just your heart and time…

but please stop the whining, or really, just go. this country needs to be filled with people who believe.

so for friends back home there have been hints and allegations [a loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires and baby] and subtle innuendos as to what might be pertaining to the future for the andersons after this year…

for those of you who have been following semi-closely, the beautiful Valerie [tbV] and i have been living, working and ministering with the Simple Way Christian non-profit organisation in Kensington, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Americaland since about June of last year and altho it has been one of the more difficult years of our lives it has also been a great year and an exciting one and one where we had no doubt at all that God had called us to be in this place at this time and so that really helped during some of the tougher times and so we will definitely look back at 2011/2012 as a good time of growth and challenge and hopefully transformation, for both us and also the Simple Way and the area of Kensington we lived in and all those we came into contact with.

“but what next?” i hear you ask. well i don’t, really, cos that would be creepy, but i am going to imagine someone asked it, so that i can give a little bit of a glimpse into the future that we are facing [sorry, Mayans! – yes, being cocky about the predicted end of the world is something anyone who is doubting it can feel free to do because if you’re wrong then who gets to rub it into your face? score!]

so our time here at the Simple Way runs until the end of the year – the office winds down around the 23rd of December and then we have just booked tickets South-Africawards for the 30th [arriving home 1 January 2012] where we will be for a month to a month and a half if all goes according to plan [which will include a trip to Durban to visit my sister Dawn and her husband Glen and our new nephew Joshua and also a bunch of our friends] and then sometime in February we will head back to americaland, but this time settling in Oakland, California where we will be working once more with our Simple Way boss, Darin Petersen, but with another non-profit called Relational Tithe [soon also to be known as ‘Common Change’] for around 18 months and beyond that we are trusting that God will direct once more…

when we are home i hope to be playing lots of TheatreSports, hopefully some hockey and drinking a whole lot of coffee with friends and family as we catch up and hang out and refresh and catch up and prepare for the next part of our exciting life journey together. [Val will be testing out the beaches and cocktails and making sure they continue to meet Cape Town’s high standards]

one of the obstacles we face is the task of finding finances to firstly return to americaland and then to be able to live here [in a somewhat different context to Kensington] for the eighteen months that follow. support-raising is not something either Val or i flock towards with open arms, but the work we are returning to is something that excites us in terms of the potential it has for life, community and church transformation, that we may have to be willing to swallow our pride and have some interesting conversations with some of you. neither of us like the idea of being tricked/manipulated into giving to even something that is a good cause and so i wanted to be up front with what will have to somehow be a part of this trip. so more of that to follow.

but mostly we are looking forward to people [not all of the people we want to see will be there – some are in the UK and Switzerland and Australia and a host of other places] and being able to tell stories and share a glimpse of what these last 18 months have meant to us and share some of the anticipation of what the next part of our journey will look like.

and probably in one of the strangest aspects of the whole trip, i, brett fish anderson, will be looking forward to mayonnaise, because no offence americaland, but you SUCK at making it…

much love and thrilled anticipation
brett fish anderson [brettfish@hotmail.com] and the beautiful Val [and of course No_bob]

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