Many Methods to Collaborative Madness
By JOAN ANDERMAN, New York Times, February 27, 2011
IT began, as actors’ stories often do, with a guru. Her name was Stella Burden, a k a “the other Stella.” Ms. Burden created a risky suite of training exercises called the Approach, attracted a fervent band of followers and abandoned them nine years into rehearsals for a high-concept production of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” to be performed without Stanley, Blanche, Stella or Mitch.
What in the name of madcap Method acting is a company member to do?
That’s the absurdly literal and keenly figurative question at the heart of “The Method Gun,” a play about the creative process by the Austin, Tex., ensemble Rude Mechs, which since it was founded in 1995 has become one of the nation’s leading proponents of devised theater: works developed collaboratively by a company rather than an individual playwright.
“The Method Gun,” which comes to Dance Theater Workshop from March 2 to 11, is the most autobiographical of the company’s pieces. It’s satirical and celebratory in roughly equal parts, exploring ideas of togetherness and loss, the dynamics of being part of a tight-knit group and what it means to take care of one another.
While the show’s premise nods to celebrated acting teachers like Stella Adler and to extreme, emotion-based techniques like the Method, specifics are left aside in favor of merciless riffs on codified approaches to art. But the Rude Mechs’ wicked sense of humor tempers a sincere streak that the company wears like a badge of honor.Read more at the New York Times on-line . . . .