Cheer Up Charlies
"...Let's see: The Rude Mechs moved out of the Off Center on May 15, and just six weeks later the company is opening a new 5,000-square-foot space and plotting a 21st season that will see them making mischief in every council district across Austin. So much for going the Scarlett O'Hara route of weepily wondering, "Where shall we go? What shall we do?"..."
"...With 2,050 shows being offered at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, you'd pretty much expect just one to be lost in the crowd, especially if the one happened to be a little ol' show by a bunch of Yanks from deep in the heart of Texas. Well, that wasn't the case for our own Rude Mechs in presenting their Bush-whacking adaptation of David Rees' Internet comic strip Get Your War On..."
"...Nikola Tesla's life was truly extraordinary, and so is the Rude Mechs' staging of his biography. This kinetic and unique production (superbly directed by Shawn Sides) traces Tesla's arc from his humble beginnings in Croatia to riches and, at last, to rags, with the help of a few famous supporting characters, incredible production design, a hell of a lot of electricity, and just a pinch of theremin...."
"...For more than nine years, the Rude Mechs have been giving young women the gift of self-expression through Grrl Action, a program that, through creative writing and performance, helps adolescent girls discover and develop their artistic voices in a safe space. This July, as the program marks its first decade, the Rudes will also be giving young women a physical space of their own in which to make those discoveries..."
"...The project that earned the Rudes this distinction is titled I've Never Been So Happy. As usual at this stage of development, the company is somewhat vague on what the show will be – maybe it's about the American folktale and "the frontier of parenthood" or maybe a sort of Western carnival with maybe a documentary film about the Rude Mechs' parents and maybe a margarita and/or salsa competition and maybe a dachshund race and maybe ....."
"...The Rude Mechs, ever ones to play with form and structure, take advantage of the ways in which stories are created in role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons (in which a game master rolls the dice and keeps track of the group's adventure) with their play Now Now Oh Now. As a collaborative theatre collective, they create worlds and plays and stories as a team anyway, as evidenced by the overlapping and confusing list of credits in the program..."
"...The ending of Fixing Troilus and Cressida carries the Rudes' signature flair, turning a tragic finish (spoiler: Troy loses) into a quick bit that's oddly life-affirming. It feels a shade tacked-on, but seeing as the company is doing a repair job on a mess of an original, it works out. Fixing Troilus and CressidaZach Theatre Nowlin Rehearsal Studio, 1426 Toomey www.rudemechs.com Through March 31 Running time: 2 hr., 30 min...."
"...Let's get this out there first: Attending Field Guide is not like attending a play. It might seem like attending a play, and after seeing it, a lot of people will go and tell everyone, "I attended a play." But seeing the current run of the Rude Mechs' Field Guide is actually halfway between seeing a polished play and sitting in on a rehearsal...."
"...Still, even I know it takes some softball-sized cojones to explicitly claim the work is broken – graduated to basketball-sized upon claiming you can fix it. But damned if that's not exactly what the Rude Mechs have done with Fixing Timon of Athens..."
"...Let’s see: The Rude Mechs moved out of the Off Center on May 15, and here it is, not even six weeks later, and the theatre collective is opening a new 5,000-square-foot space . So much for going the Scarlett O’Hara route of weepily wondering, “Where shall we go? What shall we do?”..."
"...Reynolds is a composer, bandleader, multi-instrumentalist, and general all-around maestro of works complex and classical; he's the man who did the music for, among other things, Ballet Austin's Belle Redux/A Tale of Beauty & the Beast and Cult of Color: Call to Color, Forklift Danceworks' The Trash Project and The Trees of Govalle, Salvage Vanguard Theater's The Intergalactic Nemesis, Richard Linklater's films Bernie and A Scanner Darkly, and a ridiculous number of Rude Mechanicals theatre productions. Sides is an actor and director and one of the co-producing artistic directors of that Rude Mechs company responsible for such heady, internationally acclaimed spectacles as Lipstick Traces, Requiem for Tesla, The Method Gun, Now Now Oh Now, and Stop Hitting Yourself..."
"...Man, those are so not the droids I'm looking for. Which makes this summer's annual fundraiser from the Rude Mechs a welcome trip back to the future: The Sci-fEye Ball – continuing the event's unshakeable tradition of eyeball puns – taps the future of the past, when every story was truly amazing, the final frontier was fun and stylish (not to mention sexy), and you couldn't wait to blast off..."
"...Madge Darlington, one of the collective's six co-producing artistic directors (co-PADs for short) and a co-director of the Rude Mechs' re-creation, describes the project as a way for the Rudes both to pay tribute to the artists whose work has influenced them and to gain a deeper sense of how they accomplished what they did by doing it themselves. "What are these shoulders we're standing on?" is the question the Rudes asked themselves..."
"...It isn't the structure itself that defines a dwelling's worth or meaning or significance; it's the people who inhabit it and what happens while they're there that determines that. Take the measure of the Off Center by the Rude Mechs, the venue's stewards from the fall of 1999 through the spring of 2017, and how they made use of it – what they created there as well as what they encouraged and enabled others to create – and you will find a home, one to love, to prize, to treasure...."
"..."Instantaneously. Not after, but during I thought, 'This is a Rude Mechs show.'" Lesley says, "We immediately ran to the bar and all suggested it at once for our company..."
"...In fact, so few facts about her survive that it's almost as if she never really existed. But the biographical minutiae of Stella Burden wasn't what drew the Rude Mechs to her; it was what she was – a mythic counterpart to the more stellar Stella, her soap-operatic evil twin, a dark, snarky doppelgänger like that goateed Spock in the mirror universe episode of Star Trek – and the way she courted death in the pursuit of her art..."
"...20, 7pm until the swelling goes down, at the Off Center, 2211-A Hidalgo. For more information, call 476-7833 or visit www.rudemechs.com...."
"...And around the mind, there's that unmistakeable literary bent and relentless drive to be better. These artists are related, all right, and watching them prepare for the Rude Mechs' premiere of Galloway's play In the House of the Moles, opening this week at the Off Center, you might easily suppose that these and the other traits they share -- the fondness for being loud, messy, and nasty; the kick they get from throwing their bodies around; the smartness (and smart-aleckiness); the jones for collaborative work; the fascination (or maybe obsession) with Shakespeare -- are the result of years of the Rude Mechanicals and Galloway working side by side, the one absorbing something of the other's aesthetic, the other's way of working rubbing off on the one..."