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Showcase Experiences

It Happened At Showcase!: Vol. 2


You never forget your first time...
The Experience of David Morgan
Artistic Coordinator, Magik Theatre

Mine was in Pittsburgh, and it was magnificent. I didn't know what to expect. I had ideas, of course, but until I experienced it I didn't understand what everyone was so excited about. Now I know, and there's no turning back. I'm a Showcase junkie.


The Magik Theatre had just decided to embark on its first national tour that season. Being located in an area that doesn't see a lot of touring shows, I thought it would be a good idea to see what other people were doing. We joined IPAY, booked a booth, and headed off to Pittsburgh. I had never been to Pittsburgh or Showcase, and I had my reservations. A half-hour walk around the arts district in Pittsburgh left me utterly charmed by the city. Now I just had to wonder about Showcase.


I was hoping to book a show or two, meet some people and maybe make a few connections. But the thing I was most excited about was the shows. Lots and lots of shows, a smorgasbord of theatre from around the world, and I was hungry. I work at a producing theatre that offers ten performances a week, eight productions a year, as well as local and national touring. We have the ability to present, but we rarely have a dark stage to do it on. So I wasn't looking to book the next big show, what I really wanted from Showcase was to be inspired-to see work that would challenge my perceptions of what theatre is. I wanted to be blown away by artists who would push me to be a better artist. It's easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day commerce of theatre; I wanted to reconnect to the art.


I went to everything. Sunrise spotlights, dance, theatre, exhibit hall, performance art, sunset spotlights, and the after parties. I was in TYA heaven, and it was great. I won't pretend I liked everything I saw, but as time moves on I can't remember the things that didn't really speak to me. I also saw things I hope to never forget: the disarming charm of Nearly Lear, a storm in a teacup, the sound of a PLOP, a stack of shoeboxes, a cardboard city and its destruction. The next year in Tampa, I would add to these a scared girl on a lifeguard chair, a wolf on a couch, and the pure joy that was Grug. Exciting, original, surprising, playful, and thought provoking-all the qualities I want to achieve in my work. Then the icing on the cake: discovering a community of professionals who were welcoming and excited about TYA. No feeling of competition or pushy, hard-selling agents, but people who wanted to produce and present good work for young audiences.

So now I go to the IPAY Showcase for the same reasons I did to begin with, but knowing more than I did. I still want to book a show or two, but I also enjoy just reconnecting to presenters who may or may not be booking. I still want to meet new people, and I can't wait to visit with the friends I made at the last Showcase. More than anything I'm looking forward to seeing a ton of shows. I'll walk in with the same sense of excitement for all of them. You never know when you're going to be surprised, moved, intoxicated, and inspired. I can't wait for Austin. Stop by and say hello, and if I don't see you, enjoy the show.


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