The writer and theatre-maker Tim Etchells has written a new performance – a speech for the performance artist Kate McIntosh – made from the ruins and fragments of many other speeches. Material from a range of contemporary and historical political campaigns, party congresses, debates, resignations and revolutionary tracts finds its way into unexpected dialogues and collisions in this work. Mixing more or less unrecognisable fragments from speakers including Kruschev, Obama, McCain, Thatcher, Blair, Pol Phot and many many others the work strains and stretches sense, constantly cohering, dissolving and then momentarily re-cohering. Although We Fell Short is comical and unsettling, subjecting the familiar rhetorical strategies of political speeches to a test of their linguistic breaking-point.
"It is not time now to find common ground, or to focus on the future
we seek and dream of, or to respect the dignity of all human beings. We
cannot raise our peoples /
We cannot raise the standard of living and bring happiness and glory to our people.
We, we cannot /
I believe that we cannot solve the problems of our time
I believe deeply that we cannot solve / that we cannot find/
we have different stories, and we lack common hopes; our values and our interests do not coincide, we do not look the same and we have not come from the same place/
The road ahead will be too long and our climb will be too steep and our destination will be too far away. We probably will not get there in one year or in a decade or even in a century, and in fact to be frank I have never been more certain than I am tonight that we will not reach our destination at all."