Archive for March 10th, 2010
The show I went to see last night was so massively undersold that my seats where upgraded. On the other hand, at the end of the night the performers received a standing ovation. As always the real story is somewhere between the two: Circa deserved a full house but the idiot enthusiasm of the audience only demeaned themselves and the performers. This show is apparently a bit of a greatest hits package so it was always going to be somewhat episodic. However, it was forced into becoming a series of set pieces by an audience baying for bread and circuses.
Circa are – as the name rather weakly puns – a contemporary circus company. Unfortunately the mindset of the audience is more Barnum & Bailey. This is a recurring problem in physical performance, exactly the same occured with ‘imreadywhenuare’; the audience is only able to treat the performance as a series of tricks. Tricks is really too cheap a word for the demanding acts of skills that the performers execute but that is what the audience reduce then to. And, in fact, the individual showcases that form the middle section of the show are the weakest part. Circa are at their best when deploying their considerable range and melding their individual skill with more considered choreography: one man mesmerising the entire audience with just his fingers, an S&M duet performed to Leonard Cohen or an unrestrained and comic dance featuring the whole company.
Sturgeon’s Revelation is not actually a natural law. Just because Theodore Sturgeon once remarked that ninety percent of everything is crud does not make it so. It is true that excellence is rare in all fields. However, that does not mean that ninety percent of everything is crud; we might just as plausibly claim that any field follows a bell curve and the majority is not crud but – worse – the mediocre or the adequate. Equally, there is no reason not to believe that these internal ratios of quality might vary between fields. It is not at all implausible to suggest that some fields are more likely to produce crud than other.
If you quote Sturgeon’s Revelation, you have not played a trump card. You have not stated anything profound or even meaningful, nor have you provided any sort of rebuttal. Think twice.