You Had To Be There

2020 is Action Hero’s 15 yr anniversary so to celebrate we’re putting together a series of ‘director’s commentaries’ of all the shows we’ve made since 2005. They’ll be broadcast live on youtube and then available for a week after online. The broadcasts will involve footage and images pulled together from our archive and a simultaneous commentary from us, a bit like the DVD commentaries that did the rounds in the late 90s. We wanted to do it as a way of sharing our old work and offering insight into processes and the journey of our practice whilst acknowledging that something is lost in the video – particularly when your work is so audience-centred and liveness is integral to the ideas – which is true of much of our back catalogue and particularly our early work. Our early work was made on such a budget and with so little in the way of resources that there are also many occasions in which we simply don’t have any useable footage of a show or part of a show. The first few shows we did of A Western were filmed on a camera we bought cheap on ebay that turned out to be faulty, which was handed to an audience member 3 minutes before the show started. The only complete footage of Frontman we have was filmed on a camera we borrowed from friends balanced on the top of the beer fridge behind the bar. So we’re putting these videos together often as patchworks of found footage; clips we’ve found online, on old DV tapes or buried in the deep recesses of a hard drive in a box in the loft. This assemblage of old clips and badly shot video does in some way reflect the way we make work. We’re often sifting through the detritus of popular culture and finding ways to de-construct and then re-construct it into something with new or different meaning. There’s a distance that we ‘insert between the representation and the thing that is represented’ (Lavery, C, 2015. Action Plans. Oberon, p.xxi.). That distance is usually related to copying or borrowing from another form but in this case it comes from both the mediation of the original live event through photography and videography but also the time that has passed. The documentation of the work has aged and we’re more comfortable with it now because it’s so obviously in the past its not trying to stand in for the work or be the work, its evidently just traces and remnants of what could be captured at the time. So we’ve found the process of digging through the archive to find material somehow familiar.

So if you’re a fan of our work, or you’re a massive geek about theatre or live art, or your a student studying art, or you’re starting out as an artist and want some insight into developing a practice we’d love for you to join us over the next month or two as we share these projects and reflect on how they were made, and what it felt like to be there

Thurs 26 Nov: A Western
Thurs 3 Dec: Watch Me Fall
Thurs 10 Dec: Frontman
Thurs 17 Dec: Hoke’s Bluff
Thurs 7 Jan: Slap Talk
Thurs 14 Jan: Extraordinary Rendition
Thurs 21 Jan: Natural Selection
Thurs 28 Jan: From Ashes
Thurs 4 Feb: Wrecking Ball

Thurs 11th Feb: Oh Europa
Thurs 18 Feb: Bits & Pieces- Other works

Each week, the commentary will go up our website at 8pm and will stay online for a week, so you can watch it live or save it for another day later in the week. Whether you’re new to our work or were there right at the beginning (in your cowboy hat) please do join us online at actionhero.org.uk each Thursday from the 26th November. It’ll be great to celebrate with you.