Last week the iron grip of the 1 hour show was dissected by Matt Trueman in his Guardian blog “The Fringe seems to favour the sort of short and punchy show that is easy to package. But, in most cases, an hour can only achieve so much” he concluded. And he’s right; in an hour you can only achieve so much. Or can you? Perhaps by letting go of the idea of a polished Edinburgh show, companies could actually achieve much more.
Received wisdom has it that audiences want to be given a complete package when they go to see an Edinburgh show. They want fulfilment for their £10. This need to tie everything off seems to validate Trueman’s final conclusion; if you need to fit in a beginning, middle AND end into 1 hour how much can you really achieve? But why do we feel this need to round off everything we do? Sometimes incomplete work can be just as successful.
The word completeness seems to have an inherently positive tilt to it, a competent state where everything has been thought out. But just as the negativity that haunts the word ‘critic’ could be questioned (constructive criticism for example) so the default position that ‘completeness’ is a good thing can be. In fact I can disabuse both assignations as I saw three good shows this year that proved that incompleteness can be just as brilliant and more over, often more interesting.