Rude Mechs, "The Method Gun" Featured l to r: Lana Lesley, Jason Liebrecht, Thomas Graves Humana Festival of New American Plays, 2010, Actors Theatre of Louisville Photo by Alan Simons

TBA Festival 2011 : Rude Mechs – The Method Gun

It’s a life-long fantasy of mine — and maybe this is true of many creative people — to find a group of like-minded artists that could I band together with to form an experimental collective, living solely for our art. The Rude Mech’s Method Gun explores the dynamics of one such group through the story of five intensely devoted actors who join forces under the tutelage of their fiery mentor, Stella Burden. Burden is purportedly drawn from an obscure acting guru who taught in the 1960s and ’70s. However, she could also be the fictionalized dark side of renown method acting instructor Stella Adler. The ambiguity surrounding Burden’s origins reflects the production’s persistent blurring of life and stage.

Stella Burden pushes her students via an unorthodox doctrine she calls “The Approach,” where even minor roles become fraught with tension and rehearsals go on for years. The Method Gun examines what happens after Burden abandons her pupils. In her absence, her students grapple on through the final months of their nine-years-in-the-making production of A Street Car Named Desire. They continue looking to Burden as a Christ-like figure while they move forward with rehearsing the exercises she imparted, such as lining up for crying practice while struggling to contain their nagging inner turmoil. Burden’s students perpetually question the value of their work and mourn their inability to return to normal lives. They struggle with the complicated feelings they have for each other and the pressured disappointments they feel in their careers.

The performance’s sharp emotions and biting regrets are relieved through hypnotic timing and fanciful amusement. One character suddenly reveals himself as a captivating dancer while tangling up in a roll of tape. In another sequence, a balloon surprise makes for a delightfully transcendent moment.

At its core, The Method Gun provokes a personal reflection of one’s own mentors and the value and or costs of their influence on our lives.

Rude Mechs – The Method Gun
Friday, September 9th, 2011, 8:30pm to 10pm
Saturday, September 10th, 2011, 8:30pm to 10pm
Sunday, September 11th, 2011, 8:30pm to 10pm
Monday, September 12th, 2011, 6:30pm to 8pm
Tuesday, September 13th, 2011, 6:30pm to 8pm
@ Imago Theatre (17 SE 8th Ave., Portland, OR 97214)
$20 Members / $25 General / All Ages

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