Monday, March 11, 2013

A Yankee's Notebook

Hi there, I'm Isaac Klein. I'm a writer and director of plays and musicals from New York City, and this winter I've headed west to escape the cold, explore Austin, and intern with the Rude Mechs, who I've been fascinated with ever since seeing The Method Gun at New York Live Arts. After the show, I kept thinking: "How the hell do you make something like that?" I'm currently discovering the answer, as I observe the creation of the Rudes' latest project: Stop Hitting Yourself. There are many valuable things to absorb and process from my time in the room, but here are a few of the big ones:

FULL COLLABORATION. I thought I knew what it meant to fully collaborate within a company, but I didn't; the Rudes take it to a whole other level. There is a pervasive energy of team equality. Everyone's impulse is nourished. Everyone's voice is heard. For instance, each performer was asked to think of something they've always wanted to do onstage, and those yearnings are being worked into the show. Before the roles were cast, the Rudes did multiple read-throughs, so that each respective performer read every single role, then gave feedback on which they'd be most excited to play. The performers have been asked to create their own dance moves, physicalities , and even full stagings of scenes, which are now being layered into the work. This remarkably democratic process results in a tapestry much richer in creativity and personal ownership than one director or one playwright could provide alone.

A DYNAMIC APPROACH. The Rudes dive in whole-hog, building movement and physical relationships that excite them, and get them closer to the essence of the world. They don't hinder themselves by worrying too much too soon about exactly how or where a piece will fit. They dig, leap, and play with a whole-hearted commitment to discovery. Such a spirit often merits exciting and totally unexpected results. Moving forward, the text of the play may be remolded or re-imagined to make room for a new physical or visual idea.

MINDS WIDE OPEN. It's probably clear from the above that the Rudes are an open-minded bunch. They don't hold their concepts too rigidly. They allow freedom and room for new inspiration to strike. Almost nothing is ruled out, and nothing is held too preciously. A choice made by a performer, designer, director or writer can be embraced, thrown away, and/or reinterpreted, all for the greater good of guiding the show toward its overarching essence. And what is that essence? Well, it's still revealing itself, but it's growing clearer every day. 

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