Trailer for Jumping the Shark Fantastic at Campbelltown Arts Centre, July 2014.
“Failure [...] is constitutive. That there is something wrong with theatre is a sign that it is theatre” (Nicholas Ridout, ‘Stage Fright, Animals and Other Theatrical Problems’)
'Jumping the Shark Fantastic' began as a joke in the form of a teasing question: What would constitute the best theatre show ever? Upon approaching this joke with increasing seriousness, the obvious subjectivities of ‘the best’ came into play more and more. What a futile idea this was.
I decided to undertake a research process, consulting with members of the local community to imagine and conceive what would constitute the best theatre show ever for each individual. The impossible goal: to develop and present the best theatre show ever for the people of Campbelltown
The resultant material is an anthology of taste, as conflicted and preposterous as the idea of making the best show ever was in the first place. The material is presented by the artist as a dancing bear. Having exhausted his routine and what he thinks will be entertaining, he has stopped to talk directly to the people, asking what they want. What the people want is a theatrical spectacle that is impossible for the stage to hold. The resulting mélange revels in the futility of the theatre, which unavoidably relies so heavily on language as representation. 'Jumping the Shark Fantastic' simultaneously questions and irreverently embraces the pretences of this representational economy.
The show began to fill with so much material that it nearly exploded, and then it did. I hope you enjoy what is conjured in the aftermath. It is for you. All of it.
This is what might happen when you shamelessly aim for the best and to please everyone simultaneously with the one single work.