American Boy, 2014

American Boy, 2014 Performance

The Guardian
The Times
**** Everything Theatre

American Boy premiered at Sadler’s Wells, London on 20 & 21 May 2014.

Making Process
If I asked you to list the films, characters and scenes that have influenced your life, what would it reveal about you? This is how American Boy started.

An avid mimic as a child, I loved partaking in reconstructing the previous night’s films on TV, with my school friends. Fantasising about being archetypal tough, heroic or funny men from Hollywood films formed an important part of my growing up, and if I’m honest this desire and activity still remains in my life now. I still sometimes wish I were Spider-Man. My best friend and I still sometimes have phone conversations solely in film quotes.

American Boy is a solo show made almost entirely from film and TV quotes, which I perform vocally and physically. I made a list from memory of all the films, scenes and characters that have made me, me: Good, bad and everything in between. I’ve tried to be as honest as I can about this, revealing the contradictions in my personality; my dreams and nightmares, my empathy and prejudices. It’s both a self-portrait and a reflection on the mainstream popular culture that moulds much of who we all are, whether we are aware of it or not.

The making process allowed me bring back to life impersonations, dance moves, and fight scenes that are in my body from my school days, along with some new ones I’ve learned for the show. From here, I feel like the performance almost structured itself. Using visual printouts from each film, I put things into an order, learned all the parts, then spent time in the studio with a trusted team of collaborators to help me shape the piece dramaturgically, physically, and visually.

American Boy, 2014

Artwork Details

  • Medium

    Live Performance

  • Duration

    55 Minutes, no interval

  • Year



  • Writer and Performer

    Hetain Patel (using quotes from films, see below)

  • Dramaturgy

    Eva Martinez & Michael Pinchbeck

  • Choreographic Associate

    Lorena Randi

  • Light Design

    Jackie Schemesh

  • Costume

    Hetain Patel

  • Video and Set Design

    Jackie Shemesh & Hetain Patel

  • Production Manager

    Austin Lawler

  • Digital Consultant

    Barret Hodgson

  • Manager

    Gwen Van Spijk

  • Press

    Martha Oakes PR

  • Partners

    Co- produced and Commissioned by Sadler’s Wells, London. Co-produced by BDE London 2012 Consortium. Development supported by Mercy, Liverpool, and Penned in the Margins, London. American Boy is supported with public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

  • Additional Thanks

    Emma Gladstone, Miwa Mitsuhashi, Gemma Bishop, Robert Whitton, the Sadler’s Wells team, YouTube Spidey Community, especially Vinnie Banana who inspired my own Spider-Man suit.

  • Filmography

    Pulp Fiction, American Psycho, The Matrix, Transformers, The Terminator 2, Spider-Man, Gladiator, Coming To America, X-Men, White Men Can’t Jump, Wayne’s World, Enter the Dragon, The Simpsons, Reservoir Dogs, The Shawshank Redemption, The Usual Suspects, The Dark Knight, Napolian Dynamite, Life Beverly Hills Cop 1&2, Way of the Dragon

  • Additional Impersonations

    Michael Caine acting masterclass, Michael Jackson dancing, Bruce Nauman – Walking around the perimeter of a square in an exaggerated manner, Vinnie Banana AKA Spidey-Skater from YouTube.

  • Music

    Epic Music/Wake of the Matyrs – Secession studios Monologue 1 – John Cale The Marriage of Figaro/Duettino - Sull'aria - Mozart Gloria – Ron Shelton & Woody Harrelson The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael Jackson