Thanks to a Tweet from the Rude Mechs:
The Rude Mechs' The Method Gun - review
By Christopher Arnott
Friday, February 25, 2011 11:35pm
[. . . .] The Rude Mechs' touring production of The Method Gun has one final performance at the Yale Repertory Theatre, 8 p.m. Saturday Feb. 26. If you miss it here, you can still catch it next week in New York City.
It’s nice to finally see (thanks to Yale’s undergraduate Theater Studies department’s World Performance Project series and the graduate Yale School of Drama) a company from Texas that I’ve been hearing and reading about for years, and to find that they’re as good as the advance word suggested. The Rude Mechs come off as a genuine ensemble, a tightly-knit collective with a unified vision. The Method Gun is funny, bleak, satirical and serious in equal parts, so well-balanced and timed that you trust it implicitly and just follow along without questioning its intentions.
[. . . .] But The Method Gun’s brilliance is that, in questioning how far you can take artistic theory, it humanizes the process rather than turning it into a cartoon. Streetcar is a real play, but the situation Rude Mechs has invented concerns a mysterious directorial theorist whose own method, dubbed “The Approach,” out-methods any method heretofore known. It opens up an exploration of control, security and danger in how theater is created and performed. Creative staging effects and play-within-play-within-play mindfucks take those very elements a few stages further. Yet there’s enough of a plot structure, character development and comedy for the intermissionless evening to be thoroughly entertaining on top of all that metatheatrical mysticism.
[. . . .] Self-referential ensemble projects about the meaning of theater aren’t that uncommon, and I’d be hard pressed to call The Method Gun original. I’m not even sure it wants to be. Swinging lights, male nudity and animal costumes are part of the arsenal of any small regional theater company. What matters is that these effects are perfectly utilized, carefully chosen, craftily implemented to refresh, amuse or confound at just the right moments. While there is a groupthink at work here, it’s important to note that The Method Gun began with a script by company co-founder Kirk Lynn and benefits from exquisite technical design (particularly for a touring piece—fitting any outside work onto the oddly wide, curtainless Yale Rep stage is a trick in itself, yet this piece looks like it could have been created there.)