The Method Gun
at ArtsEmerson (Boston)
Posted in Theater by John Beer on October 25th
Austin playwright Kirk Lynn’s scored a couple of recent successes in Chicago: Pavement Group staged his Greil Marcus adaptation Lipstick Traces in 2008, and this summer Mary-Arrchie and David Cromer put on a memorably large production of his Cherrywood. Lynn’s company the Rude Mechanicals are on the road this year with a newer work, 2008’s The Method Gun; I caught up to it at ArtsEmerson’s cozy black box theater in Boston on October 16. It goes on to dates in Columbus, New Haven and New York; no Chicago appearance is planned, but I’ll bet it’d find a warm reception here.
Like Cherrywood, The Method Gun portrays, almost anthropologically, an unusual collective; this time, though, it’s not bohemian Texans at a house party, but method actors. To be precise, the play presents itself as a re-enactment of the rehearsal process and opening for a singular ‘70s staging of A Streetcar Named Desire by an ensemble founded by legendary (and fictional) acting guru Stella Burden. With Burden decamped for South America, her group, occupying the unsteady territory between fanatical artists and full-fledged cult, carries on with her vision: producing Williams’s classic sans Stella, Stanley, Blanche or even Mitch.
Featuring such delicious, and weirdly resonant, sendups of the rehearsal process as “Crying Practice,” in which the piece’s five performers slowly wring out sobs, The Method Gun traces a loopy, relentlessly inventive trajectory en route to a Streetcar dominated by “Red hots!” and flores para los muertos.