AC Dickson bursts onto stage, punching the air in time to Eye of the Tiger by Survivor, a projection of his face adorning the screen behind him. Thus begins his show, “AC Dickson, eBay Power Seller”, an anti-corporation, pro-humanity lecture on personal affluence by means of one of the World’s largest websites.
eBay is AC’s saving grace, taking him from depression and unemployment to his current status as a ‘power seller’: an eBay user selling at least $1000 of items per month. Along with his wealth, AC praises eBay for bringing him something even more valuable, free time. Throughout the hour and half show, AC aims to convert the audience into eBay lovers, he tries to teach the basics of using the site and how to achieve the coveted title of ‘eBay power seller’.
His highly amusing lecture includes a description of the history of the auction, the origins of eBay itself and a discussion on his belief that eBay could change the World, making it a better place. Although many would disagree that a website promoting consumerism and capitalism can change anything other than the personal wealth of founder Pierre Omidyar and major shareholders in the company, AC argues some fairly convincing points. For example, eBay allows users to sell all over the World, it is a global marketplace; this means producers can sell direct to customers regardless of location, removing the need for rip-off merchants and middlemen. eBay also puts a person in charge of their own destiny, allowing for flexible working hours and self-employment. AC is proof that you can escape the corporate machine. There is no need to work for no praise and little financial gain when untold riches are available via the touch of your fingers and the computer screen.
Staged as part of the NottDance festival, although containing only a smattering of AC’s dance moves (more like Dad dancing than ballet), this show succeeds in pushing the limits of what is expected of a performance art. It was shown inside Capital One’s Loxley House building, a fantastic venue for this piece, both for it’s style and content. It felt very much like a business seminar, not satirical enough to be stand-up and yet not polished enough to be theatre. It was very hard to believe that the show wasn’t a genuine eBay funded sales talk, that the man on stage was an actor. It is true that AC genuinely does make a living from eBay and that the evening was actually incredibly educational for eBay virgins and casual users alike, meaning the void between performance and reality was blurred.
AC’s performance was bold, brash and very American. He was laugh-out-loud funny on many occasions and the audience warmed to him immediately. He will surely achieve his aim of converting those present into registered eBay users at the very least. As for me, I won’t be quitting the day job just yet but I just might put a few of AC’s tricks to the test, and, in his words, see what eBay can do for me.
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