A major and rising issue in the Arts industry is funding. Funding your art, your life, somehow becoming a fully fledged artist. It’s something we have all encountered – myself hindering to this especially from coming back from a short stint of travelling to find myself on benefits with endless applications, interviews for jobs I am more than qualified for but not meeting the fine margin in the big City that is London.
While Paula Varjack predominantly focuses on those making theatre (a choice of a hiatus of theatre making made by myself due to trying to pay the bills) and other forms of art, rather than a broader range of the arts sector, she brings up points and an exploration that can be related to for all roles in the industry.
As a solo performer, she uses a range of mediums to express this. Some are through music, sound bites, interviews with other artists projected on the screen – we are back to the theatre genre I have recently discovered in previous Battersea Arts Centre shows such as Hairpeace and Live Before you Die, that is more a presentation that a show. Never the less, it is not any less of an interesting approach to performance art.
Much of the production was Varjack reiterating her well rehearsed scripting – however in comparisons to times of ad lib, it definitely felt scripted, rehearsed and lacked personality and warmth that we would expect from an issue so close to the heart.
While all the concepts are there, and she brings up lots of very good points that we relate to, the piece still felt in the scratch phase. It felt like something more ‘polished’ was lacking – while if we are realistic, theatre is known for never being perfect but always striving for more; more definitely being needed to make this piece ready for stage.
I found it personally hard to relate to at times. Not only did her background sound well supported which many artists do not have the luxury of (and I have no doubt this was unintentional an opinion) but also a stress was put onto the hours put into a show and a sense that this dragged. Again, while I feel the approach was meant to be positive, showing the hard working aspect of art, it felt more cynical, regretful and a sense of boredom in making the piece despite the modern dance music playing in the background.
With a lot of respect for Varjack and understanding and appreciation of what she is trying to achieve with Show Me The Money, it just felt a little lost at times and confusion in the point being made. However, she does bring a matter of fact expression to the topic at hand which is always welcome in contesting current art politics.