A Western

re-creating scenes from an imaginary western

A Western was the first thing we ever made together.

With a cowboy hat and some ketchup we re-created scenes from an imaginary western in a bar or a pub with the people in the room – the landscapes and conventions of cinema’s most distinctive genre were deconstructed and transposed onto the architecture and atmosphere of whatever space we happened to be in. Both humour and pathos emerged in the cracks between the real and imagined territory and the prosaic, formulaic and banal textures of an old fashioned medium found new meaning and new life. Without any set or lighting to speak of and a cast of 2 we resorted to making do with whatever we had. The most valuable asset became the audience; experts on cinematic convention and enthusiastic extras they ardently filled in all the gaps. They cheated at cards, they begged our hero to love them and then they shot him down.

A Western collided the immediacy and intimacy of live performance with the epic emotional experience of the cinematic blockbuster, it was a celebration of a failure to capture the true size and majesty of the Wild West. An experiment with the relationship between an audience and an event, and a re-imagining of everyday landscapes we inhabit.

A Western was first shown at Emergency, a platform event at The Greenroom in Manchester, as a 10 minute experiment. It eventually went on to tour throughout the UK and Europe, in North America, South America, South East Asia and Australia. It was funded by Arts Council England in its development and UK tour and was included in the 2009 British Council Showcase.