"Stop Hitting Yourself" Again!
Rudes' workshop for 2014 Lincoln Center premiere sells out
By Robert Faires, 5:00PM, Thu. Sep. 19
If you felt like you could wait to buy tickets to the Rude Mechanicals' new workshop staging of Stop Hitting Yourself, opening tonight, we have some bad news. Whether it's the excitement over the show's premiere in New York City this winter or folks just mesmerized by that queso fountain onstage, the entire six-performance run is sold out.
What's bad news for you, though, is definitely good news for the Rudes, since the next stop for this exploration of objectivist philosophy couched inside a sort of Thirties white-telephone musical is Lincoln Center. Stop Hitting Yourself has its world premiere as part of the New York City venue's LCT3 season, showcasing new work, and if the show is going to hunker down at the Claire Tow Theater for seven weeks after the first of the year, two weekends' worth of full houses at home will do a lot to help the company work out where else the show needs to go.
Before all the tix were scooped up so quickly, the Chronicle checked in with the Rudes to find out what, if anything, might be different about this version of the show from the one produced during Fusebox Festival in April. On behalf of the collective, co-producing artistic director and resident playwright Kirk Lynn provided a little insight.
(By the way, if you're looking to console yourself over the missed opportunity to see STY this time around, why not down some delicious seafood with the Rudes at their Pearl Dive at the Plant fundraiser, Sunday, Sep. 29, 4-7:30pm, at the Plant in Kyle? Then, of course, there's always Lincoln Center in January …)
Austin Chronicle: The big thing I was wondering was how folks responded to the whole objectivist thrust of the piece, whether people found its depiction comical or disturbing or what, and if discomfort was something you were interested in as an audience response. If so, did you receive any feedback that is leading you to go further in that regard or not?
Kirk Lynn: I think people mostly found it comically disturbing. We want the audience to have a good time, but this being Austin and our audience being a little bookish, part of having a good time includes chewing on some predigested complicated thoughts. I think we want to go further into the areas were we find pleasure in the complications. Having money and being good are both difficult states of being. Doing them at the same time is like tap-dancing while debating Ayn Rand.
AC: How did people respond to the musical aspect of the show? Are there any specific elements – the audience blinking exercise, the queso fountain, etc. – that people especially liked or didn't like, so that they're either staying in, being removed, or serving as jumping-off points for potentially new segments?
KL: A lot of people responded that they liked the eyes open/eyes closed game. As with most of our work, the question is how to transform it from a draft of an idea to a real theatrical event … Remember when the swinging pendulums of death in Method Gun were just clip lamps?! And, based on positive audience response, the queso fountain is getting Biggie Sized.
Stop Hitting Yourself runs through Sep. 21, Thursday-Saturday, 8pm, at the Off Center, 2211 Hidalgo. For more information, visit www.rudemechs.com