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A CurtainUp Review
The Method Gun
For all of us, our teachers — our mentors — have a lasting impact on our lives. For many in the theater, this is hyper-true. Acting teachers and directors like Stanislavksi and Stella Adler were, and still are, worshipped by many. So the content of The Method Gun, the cult-like followers of director and actor trainer Stella Burden, may be extreme in their devotion to her "approach.", But they have had plenty of company throughout history.
Actors Practice Crying. . .Go. .—company member Elizabeth Johns
The theater ensemble Rude Mechs, from Austin, Texas, has created a show about The Burden Company — a small theater collective who were all disciples of a recluse teacher, Stella Burden. The Method Gun chronicles the company for the year after Burden ran off to South America without them. The groupís devotion unwavering, they still continued her 9-year rehearsal process for A Streetcar Named Desire , without any of the main characters present. We see re-creations of rehearsals, acting exercises, and company conflicts.
The five performers are all individuals. All are comfortable onstage and with each other. The Rude Mechs, like The Burden Company, have spent hours upon hours with each other. Five minutes in, they are all front and center, giving in to practice crying for what seemed like a full two minutes — chests heaving, faces contorting, begging for pity. They are aptly showing the ugliness of The Approach, but the appeal as well of the close-knit group and the catharsis.
Leave it to the Rude Mechs to take a topic that would seem to only speak to insider (aka theater insiders), and make it not only fabulously funny, but also universal. How do we part from something that has come to define us? And how do we honor those who have helped define us? I left the theater thankful for this supposed Stella Burden, and her unconventional ideas.
The Method Gun|
Written by Kirk Lynn
Directed by Shawn Sides
Cast: Thomas Graves, Hannah Kenah, Lana Lesley, E Jason Liebrecht, Shawn Sides
Production Manager/Technical Director: Madge Darlington
Lighting Designer: Brian H Scott
Scenic Designer: Leilah Stewart
Costume Designer: Katey Gilligan
Sound Designer/Composer: Graham Reynolds
Stage Manager: Lowell Bartholomee
Projection Design: Lowell Bartholomee/ Michael Mergen
Dramaturg: Adrien-Alice Hansel
Rude Mechs at Dance Theater Workshop, 219 W 19th street, 212 924 0077, www.dancetheaterworkshop.org
From 3/2/11 -3/12/11
Tuesday through Saturday @ 730pm, and March 5 & 11 also at 1030pm.
Reviewed by Amanda Cooper based on 3/2/11 performance
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Slings & Arrows-the complete set
You don't have to be a Shakespeare aficionado to love all 21 episodes of this hilarious and moving Canadian TV series about a fictional Shakespeare Company