Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Opinion: Travis Bedard on Repeats, Theatre and the Rude Mechanicals, 2amtheatre.com, June 12


posted by Travis BedardTravis Bedard (via quora.com)

at 2amtheatre.com, June 12

No matter how deeply you bury yourself in new plays and new play creation and theory, theatre remains largely a reflection of where we’ve been (check your local listings). Right now I’m in two shows that combined are more than 800 years old. So the tone of this Culturebot article is bizarre to me.

The linked blurb seems to ask what some of our best modern art makers are thinking putting up chestnuts like Dionysus in 69 or Einstein on the Beach. To answer Culturebot’s open question: what this says about the health of the field is that the best companies in the country are humble enough to know that they are following a path and that someone created that path. If you want to break new ground anywhere it’s imperative to know (really know) how others have done it.

Dionysus in 69 was a turning point for performance art, and what the Rude Mechs have done (and are continuing to do) is mine the history of their field to illustrate for their audience what has come before. This interleaved retrospective adds depth (and context) to the form defying work, such as the recently closed genre jumble NOW NOW OH NOW, that they are creating.

The Rude Mechs (and the also-mentioned Gob Squad) don’t stop making the new to reflect on their past. The Mechs loving, deliberate recreation (not reinterpretation) of the Performance Group’s Dionysus in 69 as well as Mabou Mines’ B.Beaver Animations wasn’t in lieu of The Method Gun or I’ve Never Been So Happy or NOW NOW OH NOW, they were simply part of the delirious stew they have cooking at the Off Center.

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