The Killers is a binaural audio play set in a Little Chef Diner. The audio is recorded in a single live take around a binaural microphone that acts as the ears of the listener, sat at a table in the restaurant, eavesdropping on conversations, hearing in real time the countdown to an assassination.
The play can be downloaded and experienced on a road trip, taking time out from a journey to sit in a diner and encounter the work. The captured time of the play mapped onto the real time of the Little Chef.
The story is based on Ernest Hemingway's The Killers (1927) and is performed in a single take: two contract killers arrive at a diner 30 minutes before an assassination, counting down the time before the contract killing is carried out. It is told from the perspective of a detective who is working his way back through the case. The listener is sat in front of the detective recounting the story from the past, while it plays out around them in the present. The killers order two early starter breakfasts and discuss methods of execution: a radio plays the same set of songs in the kitchen; inexplicable deliveries of novelty objects are made to the tables; a diner band tunes up in the corner; the half hour counts down.
The Killers speculates on how the vinyl booths, candy stripe awnings, coffee counters and cherry pie of the Little Chef carry approximations of American culture. These approximations were once a form of retro exotica in the heyday of Little Chef - the 1980s - full of the promise of choice and freedom. These promises have now been obscured and faded through the long, awkward and uncertain period of dissolving western capitalism that was, or so it seemed, sold through a simplified dream of optimism: the dream of the possibilities of self-interest - goodies and baddies - us and them. Little Chef retains an idea of this particular ‘American Dream’ refracted through 1950s nostalgia and a britishness that politely transforms the experience for its diners. It favours tea over coffee and an early starter breakfast over stacks of bacon and pancakes: approximations of an American Dream that perhaps never existed to begin with.