Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rude Mechs Time at Humana Festival


Ooohh - it was a good and busy few weeks for Rude Mechs and now we are up and running at Humana! We have been blown away by the unbelievably generous volunteers got us set up in our apartments, our most excellent production team that has generously fulfilled every production desire we've had. Thank you, Dot & Cyndil and all the volunteers!!! Thank you Adrien-Alice, Zach and Zach, Rachel, Marissa, Kathleen, Alexis, Rob, Paul, Gretchen, Philip - seriously the list just goes on and on and every single person has just been amazingly cool and awesome at what they do. And thank you, Marc, and Sean and Jennifer, for inviting us here and making us feel so at home.

We spent the first three weeks in rehearsal six days a week / 8 hours a day. The phenom for us is to have this kind of time to work on a play with a script in hand. Ultimately it means we can go with the 5th or 6th idea instead of the 1st or 2nd. Luxury! True to form, we reworked every moment - tightening, loosening, replacing scenes wholesale. It is said to be 10% sadder. And we ratcheted up the final performance of the Burden Company. You'll have to see it to find out how.

We performed 16 shows in 12 days! We had houses full of industry professionals and press, and also plenty plenty of Louisville locals and ATL subscribers. We enjoyed really nice houses, about 6 walkouts, and very generous audiences. Every second we had just a crazy amount of fun.

Big giant love to Mark & Dana, Stephanie & Michael, and Vicky Boone and Mari Marchbanks for coming to town and supporting us. That meant the world. We are also in love with Thomas' parents and Hannah's parents. We were fed and loved and doted on as if we were all their own.

The first performance week ended with Live Band Karaoke night at Freddie's which was ASTOUNDINGLY FUN. Our hometown boy Michael Raiford killed it with pitch-perfect and super slick rendition of 3 Dog Night's "One", and then took a turn at the drums and again SLAYED. Thank god he was there, because Austin was next represented by Lowell, Lana and Jason delivering "Saved by Zero", without practice... well, Lowell has pictures somewhere.

The second week we were stoked to hang out with Alice Tuan - we don't see her enough. Shanghai is on the horizon, though. We were also overwhelmed by the love from all of the Baylor grad students who came in to see the show. Dang y'all!

The second performance week ended with tears, basically. Nobody wanted to leave. We made really great friends with many of the artists and staff there, and as soon as we actually had time to hang out, it was time to go. Booooooo. We haven't told Ron Berry yet, but we've invited all of them to perform in Fusebox. We hope he has that whole artist housing & transportation thing worked out, cause it's gonna be a madhouse!


Well, the press didn't show up in droves this year, unless they were within driving distance. Seriously, ask Faires. Aside from him and somebody from the Wall Street Journal, the rest of the press corps stayed home this year. The New York Times just couldn't spare anyone this year. We're told more reviews will come in, but here's what we've dug up so far.

We got an amazing and awesomely written legit review of The Method Gun from Erin Keane at the Louisville Courier-Journal. This might be our first ever "run, don't walk" review: "If you only have time to see one show between now and March 28, make it The Rude Mechanicals' 'The Method Gun.'" Suhweet.

This just in: a really lovely write up of Humana Festival and thoughts on The Method Gun from our own Robert Faires of The Austin Chronicle. He spent three days there and we spent every free second we had hanging out in the bar with him, sharing stories, and getting blown away by his passion for theatre. Our nights with him definitely count among our top bar nights. We came away sooo grateful that he took the time to come out to the festival, and above all else, that we have a great writer and friend in our corner. He has observed our company since its inception, and has seen damn near all of our plays. So, Robert, thank you - having open friendly and ongoing critical dialogue can only result in better and deeper work, and friendship.


These will be forwarded to me later by the extraordinary ATL staff, but the following blurbs and reviews trickled by while we were there, and then I lost them online.

The Louisville Leo (their weekly)– Rude Mechanicals cultivate a stunning virtuosity that... is essential viewing for anyone interested in theater. Pretty sure this reviewer also used the phrase "cloyingly sentimental" at some point... and "droll." Will post link when found.

Remember seeing The Cincinnati Enquirer and Minneapolis City Pages go by. Think they had meh mentions for us, but I can't find them now. Don't feel like digging them up.

Chicago Sun-Times' Lewis Lazare reviews the festival and blurbs The Method Gun here. "It’s both fascinating and terrifying, in a bizarre sort of way."


Fun spot on BBC's "The Strand" where Aron Posner says we suck, and then says Method Gun is not a play, but rather a "performance event." He was kidding on both counts, of course. We know this because he called us fabulous too.

The local NPR station posted this uncut / unedited interview we did with Elizabeth Kramer for a national NPR story featuring The Method Gun and Fissures about collaborative playmaking. Here is The Method Gun interview for 27 minutes of listening pleasure or pain, depending on your outlook.

And the national NPR story, "Ensemble Theatre at the Humana Festival", aired today, 4/1/10. It's an interview with Rude Mechs and former Jeune Lune members at Humana with their show Fissures.


Dan Buck loved it!: On March 26th, the Rude Mechs gave me my first transcendent theatrical experience as an audience member. That's grace. And for that they have my sincerest gratitude.

Bill Felty dug it!: a daring,unexpected, thrill.

Pam Harbaugh dug it!: Especially surprising was the quirky "The Method Gun."

Larry hated it!: Fortunately, these ensemble events almost always are short. Unfortunately, they never have intermissions. So, a word to the wise: unless you are the sort of theatergoer who actually likes this kind of theatre, be sure to ask for a seat near the exit door, so you can ditch unobtrusively. [Side note - think he ran out as soon as helium balloon moment happened.]

Sherry Deatrick: seemed to like it but maybe didn't see the ending? Or at least she didn't buy it: The show lures us with talk of Burden's “dangerous” theatre method. But in the end, the company never confronts that danger, or does so only in a superficial manner.

We're fairly certain this was the woman who hopped up and ran backstage (yes, backstage, not out of the theater) about two seconds before pendulum started, then panicked and tried to climb up a ladder to the deck Lowell was calling cues from, then scrambled down the ladder and further backstage and almost went out a fire door exit to the roof before our back stage manager, Zach, grabbed her and put her in the parking garage. She had to pee, she said.

Production photos by Alan Simmons

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