Saturday, December 5, 2009
The Rude Mechanicals' Dionysus in 69 is a charming exercise in theatre archeology, one that captivates us by illustrating how sincere, how naive and how lucky we were to be living back in the dark, dark days of 1968.
Back in 1968, the Performance Group's interpretation of Euripides' The Bacchae resounded with the times. Their canny staging of the ancient classic about violence, ritual, unknowing and ecstasy scandalized conventional citizens and captured the imagination of the young -- that earnest generation of forty years ago who were about the age of the Austin's Rude Mechanicals today.
The nudity sold the show then, and the Rudes' press photos suggest that they understand well that aspect of the marketing. And these young folk are without exception all very handsome in their skins, displayed confidently and unselfconsciously in key group rituals portraying of birth, death, and murder.
The Rudes' re-enactment is based on films of the original and it benefits from workshops and discussions with Richard Schechner, director of that path-breaking production. Schechner is now an eminence grise, a venerable elder and NYU professor. He was invited to Austin by UT's Humanities Institute and was scheduled for a discussion and talk-back for the second performance on Friday, December 4.
Read more at AustinLiveTheatre.com . . . .