Never Never Never Ever Never Never Ever Never Ever Ever EVER Ever EVER Give Up Unless It Gets Too Hard
Billy Mullaney (Master DAS Theatre): 'Never Never Never Ever Never Never Ever Never Ever Ever EVER Ever EVER Give Up Unless It Gets Too Hard was inspired by the ways in which we curate and “perform” flattering versions of ourselves online, through social media platforms and beyond. I began by analyzing trends in contemporary live performance marketing, specifically the emergent use of promotional trailer videos. As someone whose own work does not lend itself well to a trailer, I was interested in critiquing such promotional practices through the language of theatre. Beginning with the trailer I WISH I could make, as a storyboard, the performance consists of the trailer’s staging, filming, and editing. The process lasted 14 hours over the course of two days, and audience was invited to leave and return whenever they liked to check in on progress.'
From the flyer: This is not a performance. This is the filming of a promotional trailer for a performance. Trailers endure longer, reach far more people, and ultimately garner much more cultural capital than any given live performance. As with Facebook friendships, milestones, achievements, and most meals, a performance takes on value today when it can be shared as brief, digestible audiovisual content online. Beyond a mere marketing tactic, trailers stand in as web presence for the artwork and moreover for the artists themselves. Therefore, we must produce art, and indeed live and die, with the resulting trailer in mind.
Andrea Božić, choreographer and tutor DAS Theatre: 'Billy's graduation performance is a brilliant work: a performance about the making of a trailer for a performance. A durational performance spread over two long evenings (7 hours each) creating a potentially unending series. The audience never gets to see the performance for which the trailer is made and instead follow a laborious, technologically demanding and durational process necessary for the production of a short trailer that will market the work. Billy’s performance makes this paradox visible and felt through the conceptual gimmick it proposes but it goes further than that. The performance is filled with fascinating to watch theatrical imagery, symbolic and mythopoetic, feeling very personal and evocative of many recognizable theatrical formats and representations, funny and disturbing at the same time. Billy himself is a great performer with a very broad array of performance skills and a strong stage presence and personality.'
Konstantina Georgelou, performing arts theorist, dramaturg, researcher Utrecht University: 'I consider his graduation piece not only as the culmination of his artistic development at DAS Theatre but also as a performance that interrogates and seeks to reconfigure theatre in today’s neoliberal standards of value, visibility and success.'
From the jury report of the Graduation Prize: 'With Never Never Never Ever Never Never Ever Never Ever Ever EVER Ever EVER Give Up Unless It Gets Too Hard, Billy Mullaney proves himself to be an excellent conceptual thinker, a critical observer of current affairs and a fantastic performer. He has produced a graduation project that is both witty and critical, in which he makes a clear statement against commercialisation. The creative process is just as interesting as the final result, as a result of which Never Never Never Ever Never Never Ever Never Ever Ever EVER Ever EVER Give Up Unless It Gets Too Hard can also work extremely well as an installation or performance outside the theatre, for example in a museum. The jury hopes that this will also be one of the options open to Billy Mullaney.'