Video still for Something American PerformerPerformerPerformersPerformerPerformerPerformer

On a stage 12m wide and 2m deep stands a bulky middle aged man in a New York cop's uniform.

In a crisp American accent he speaks about the thrill of the force and his sexual fantasies. He even shows us his five favourite explosions. This is a man at ease with himself. Behind him a panoramic screen starts to flicker into life. Slide and video projections of cartoons, headlines and vast American landscapes spread right across the stage. Layers of icons, footnotes and speech bubbles build up into a constantly mutating electronic billboard.

Video still

As Something American develops, the cop sheds his layers of pretence. He opens up, breaks down and falls away. As he does so other versions of America come through; sometimes in tiny moments, at others in a flurry of activity and pumping music. Three performers talk about boxing and Rock’n’Roll and Remote Viewing. Then the talking stops and the UFOs arrive.

Punctuated by loops and samples from Sugarboat the show looks at what America represents for us through the eyes of one man. For him, and maybe for us, it is an endless landscape of hope and violence.

Something American won the Barclays New Stages Award in 1996 and toured the UK and Germany.

Tagged with
Related Content