action hero news

Flare Festival Manchester

After New York, Paris and Spain we come back to the UK to show Watch Me Fall at the brilliant Flare Festival. Flare grew out of a festival we worked with a few years ago in Manchester called MIST which was an international student festival where we saw some of the most extraordinary work we’ve ever seen (made by university students) including a show called “Live tonight” by some German students under the name “Monster Truck” which I’ll never forget, and a beautiful piece by some Leeds students directed by Swen Steinhouser

We’ll be showing Watch Me Fall at Contact theatre for the launch party

Monday 4th July 7pm

I’d recommend coming and seeing as much as you can through the week (it coincides with the Manchester International Festival so we’re also going to catch the Robert Wilson piece) but make sure you’re there for the opening!

stuff about Frontman online

Here are some online articles from coverage of Frontman at Inbetween Time Festival in Bristol and Fierce festival in Birmingham. We hope to be showing it again in the UK fairly soon so we’ll let you know when and where as soon as we know….

gigs in May and June

A Western – May 3rd at Seven Arts in Leeds

Watch Me Fall – June 1st – June 2nd at PS122 New York

Watch Me Fall – June 14th – 16th at Theatre de la Ville Paris

Watch Me Fall – June 30th at Intacto festival, Spain

Frontman at Inbetween Time, Bristol

So Frontman is almost finished. Our first showing will be at IBT on 4th December at 9:30pm

Its going to be at Circomedia, and we spent a day there last week setting up and playing with the space and the sound and it got us really excited. The piece has been on a really interesting journey and we’re really intrigued to see what happens when it meets an audience. Unlike our previous two shows our works in progress haven’t really revealed much of what will happen on the 4th Dec so a lot of it remains terrifyingly unknown but we think we’ve made the show we set out to make so we’ll have to just wait and see….

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we’ve experimented with some sound technology which we’re now excited about unleashing, its very simple use of some pretty lofi sound tech and an analogue synth but its something completely new to us! The performance will take place on a small bit of staging made from steel deck surrounded tightly by audience on three sides with Gemma spending most of her time up there with just a mic and some tambourines for company and me controlling the sound from behind. We’ve just got two weeks now to pull it all together and our focus is now on nurturing the meanings that have evolved from what we’re doing and refining the relationship between us and our audience in relation to that. So lots of working through the text and the staging and drawing out exactly what we want from the performance. I’ve also got to finalise which bits of wire plug in where and which nobs need twiddling when, and Gemma’s got a lot of text to memorise……

…..but tickets are available now so if you want to join us on the opening night then be sure to book

Frontman at Forest Fringe Edinburgh

As part of our Frontman process we’ll be showing some ideas we’re working on at Forest Fringe

Tuesday 17th Aug at 4pm

Its part of the festival of secrets so its not in the programme.

See you there!

and don’t forget you can see us performing ‘A Western’ at Kilkenny Arts Festival wed 11th and thur 12th Aug

and at The Tobacco Factory in Bristol on 18th, 19th + 20th September

Shunt Fun

So now I know the true meaning of ‘the baying mob’.

Before we performed ‘Watch Me Fall’ at Shunt we were warned that on a Friday night at 10pm it was a bit of a bear pit. We thought we’d take it on as a challenge and thought it would be a good exercise for the development of the show. The idea being that the risk and energy of the space would teach us lessons about the material.

Well we definitely learned a few lessons.

The audience were a chaotic mix of aggressive interventionists, apathetic bystanders, flailing drunks and anguished sympathisers watching the tragedy unfold before them. As soon as we started it was clear we were in for a rough ride, and the intricate subtleties we had been working on were immediatley thrown out the window. It was only going to be broad strokes that could carry us through and when even setting yourself on fire is not quite enough of a broad stroke, you know its going to be a long night.

To give you an accurate picture of the audience we were facing, the bicycle we use to make the jump was stolen halfway through the show and had to be retrieved by a bouncer. As were the safety elbow and knee pads I need to wear. The bouncers managed to retrieve the elbow pads, but not the knee pads (which accounts for the large bruise and cut I’m now nursing on my knee). We were shouted at, abused, pushed, ignored, yet still, in amongst the chaos, there were moments of glory that carried us through.

The theme of futility was pushed beautifully to the forefront of the piece as we persistently tried our best to win the audience over to little or no avail. With rowsing speeches that became desperate pleas the folly in the act was exaggerated to new heights,  helping to emphasise the content we’re currently exploring. The arrogant young clubbers who postured and paraded themselves throughout the show served as perfect exemplars for the obnoxious, aggressive, masculine ideal we were attempting to crash land.

When you set out to use audiences as collaborators you have to except that you are going to come across audiences who want it all on their terms. Friday nights audience wanted flame and spectacle and when they didn’t get it they felt cheated and weren’t prepared to take the embarrasingly cheap subsitute we were offering. So they bayed and drunkenly staggered across our work, stamping their own authority of mass upon it and they’ve left an indelible mark on the piece that we are indebted to them for.

Both us as performers and a faction of the audience who were willing to collaborate got a truly unique experience from the event. A rock and roll car crash with two tragic heroes at its heart, whimpering and straining to be heard, moving from one hilariously futile attempt to the next. At various moments I looked into the eyes of audience members who looked back with deep, deep pity in the eyes and a worn out grin that said, “I’m not sure you’re going to make it”. For that fleeting moment, I loved them and I think they loved me.

Thank you Shunt.

Bring on the next work-in-progress.