|Thomas Graves and Jason Liebrecht in The Method Gun.|
Yesterday, I experienced that grace.
While at the Humana Festival I had the opportunity to see The Method Gun by the Rude Mechanicals. The group is based in Austin, TX and they are committed to highly collaborative, visually innovative theatrical pieces. This was my first exposure to their work.
The five members of the Rude Mechs address the audience directly and explain that the play will be a documentary-style accounting of Burden's company after the loss of their guru. What follows is a pastiche of four different types of scenes: 1) depictions of the historical group's rehearsal moments and exercises, 2) scenes from their play, Streetcar minus Stanley, Blanche, Stella, or Mitch, 3) narration by the actors of The Rude Mechanicals--often explaining how their research of Burden's group was conducted, and 4) scenes where a tiger in dress pants compellingly makes the case for more tigers in American theatre.
|A tiger addresses the audience in The Method Gun.|
From there, the play grows and swells in its theatricality and its thematic territory in a tightly choreographed depiction of nine years in the lives of five people trying to be true to selves they've never known. The play is about the latent identity issues of the teacher-student relationship and about the obstacles to self-aware efforts at authenticity. It is about creating history out of disparate and unreliable memories and its about the soul-withering realization that those things we dream most of accomplishing and becoming will be forever elusive. It's about the tail-chasing madness that is standard issue in the pursuit of truth and/or beauty in one's art and one's life.
The climactic scene of The Method Gun is one that I refuse to describe. For one, because I don't want to start crying as I type this here in Panera. But secondly, I could never do justice to its beauty or its truth. Suffice to say, it is surprising and dangerous and sublime.
It is here I wish to thank the Rude Mechanicals for their act of service. There is no other way to describe what they've done. The production is clearly the result of the kind of hard that only love can inspire. 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.
If you can... see this show. This link has info about future performance locations and dates: http://www.rudemechs.com/shows/touring.htm#method_gun.