Much Ado About Showcase

5 May

On 17th May 2014 Volition reaches its climax and presents a series of short theatre pieces on the main stage of the Town Hall Theatre, Galway. An evening of performances, of works in progress; A showcase, you might say.

You might say that, as we did, but after much debate with peers, panel members and the participants themselves, we came to understand that the word ‘showcase’ is a contentious one. It implies for some that things are finished, polished and on offer. That something has been chiselled at until it is ready to be unveiled in all its glory! In promising so much, the word raises expectations and an evening that celebrates theatre making suddenly becomes about theatre product.

That a collection of letters can throw up all kinds of inference and interpretation is often overlooked. We take words for granted. We each assume our own meaning and further assume that this meaning is agreed by everyone. But words mean different things to different people. Apparently in Chinese the word for ‘crisis’ is also a word for ‘opportunity’ (something we learned from a tea bag). And would a rose by any other name lend itself to a Golden Girl? If you remove the ‘Zeta’ from Catherine Zeta Jones would she still exude class and exoticism?

When we first pondered the terminology that would appropriately capture the evening of presentations, ‘work in progress’ seemed too loose; there would be no Q&A, no feedback, no context that we felt would fulfil that term. We believed the work was best presented as something that yes, is polished, considered and crafted (which is not to say that many works in progress are not) and that would appropriately showcase the ideas and talents of the eight Volition participants.

Ah ‘showcase’. We thought you a harmless ally in our quest for copy. A word that is easy to say, to spell and to remember. A word that is exciting and intriguing. A word that brings together two wonderful syllables; one a verb; one that houses wine. What could be better?

Ah ‘showcase’ how you have let us down! How could you be so loaded, so innocently packing heat? What now, are people to expect, since you have led them astray, you with your common vowels and duo-syllabic simplicity?

Would that we could redefine that term and reclaim it as our own. Alas, we are busy producing an event and have not the time to influence the world. JOLT alone cannot reverse the global tide of thought. Not yet anyway, but we can make it clear where we stand in the newfound war against terminology by telling you what you can expect on Saturday 17th May:

– You can expect to see eight performances from eight artists, all of whom have been participating in a nine month programme that focuses on creative practice. Each of these artists came into Volition with an original idea for a show and Volition provided training and opportunities allowing the artists to develop methods of working as opposed to the work itself; Volition has not provided individual resources for each artist to develop their show over nine months.

– You can expect to experience eight performances no more than fifteen minutes each in length, that have been questioned, pulled, morphed and moulded over nine months. You will see work that is brave, work that has been lost and found, ideas that strive to challenge, ideas that are difficult to present. You will see work that is part of bigger pieces, pieces whose development is on-going.

– You can expect to see the start of something new.

Perhaps looking back we should have come up with our own word. Showgress? Work in Case? ESN (Extended Scratch Night)? But regardless of how you, our audience, anticipate the night based on a title, we know that the artists will approach it the exact same way: with passion, rigor, ambition and most likely a healthy dose of fear.

We’re looking forward to shattering your expectations on Saturday 17th May at Town Hall Theatre.

Tickets are €10 from tht.ie or 091 569 777

 

‘if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.’

–        George Orwell 1984

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