Out There 25: Maybe the play isn't the thing

The Rude Mechs in The Method Gun.
The Rude Mechs in The Method Gun.
Photo courtesy the Walker Art Center

The Walker Art Center's Out There 25 opens with a piece that takes a sly, satirical, and loving look at outlandishly experimental theater with The Method Gun. The piece, produced by the Rude Mechs from Austin, Texas, adds meta-layer upon meta-layer to its central story: the nine-year rehearsal process for a production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

There is also a tiger.

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The five actors of the Rude Mechs company take on the roles of the five actors who trained under guru Stella Bruden and her signature theatrical approach, called "The Approach." The goal of their lengthy rehearsal period (really, most shows are up and running after a few weeks) was a unique take on Tennessee Williams's signature play, one that included none of the four main characters.

Bruden disappears midway through the process, leaving her actors to soldier on to the opening date, years in the future. They use her training methods, such as a precisely timed kissing exercises, along with their own experiences and whatever else they can scrounge up, such as a film strip on acting.

Rude Mechs are poking a lot of fun at the method-obsessed and rehearsal-first aesthetics found in experimental theater, but there is a lot of love of it as well. These five actors became a kind of family over the long years of development, and you can feel those bonds through the layers of the piece.

The final 10 minutes, when we get to see the fruits of their long labor, are particularly stunning. I won't spoil the surprise, but it certainly embraces their guru's "theater should be dangerous" aesthetic.


Out There 25: The Method Gun
Through Saturday
Walker Art Center
1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis
For information and tickets, call 612.375.7600 or visit online.
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Walker Art Center

1750 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403



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