April 23, 2009 - Rude Mechanicals’ The Method Gun
    I've had a hard time trying to figure out how to review The Method Gun, the Rude Mechanicals reworked revival of their hit show that is about to go on tour to New York.  The show peeks into the bizarre techniques of actor-training guru, Stella Burden, as recounted through the eyes of her students as they prepare a continually-incubating production of A Streetcar Named Desire - staged without Tennessee Williams' four main characters.
    Being an actor often requires you to lay your soul bare on the stage, and the characters in
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The Method Gun lay everything bare - emotions, acting skills, even their flesh.  And the audience is not only along for the ride, but a part of the creative process each night.
     See, the premise is that guru Burden has suddenly disappeared, presumably to South America, leaving her acting charges to their own devises.  And the co-dependent bunch can't get their act together to complete the show - much less function as either confident actors or stable human beings.
    With a script culled from Burden's journals and interviews with her cast, the show bounces between acting exercises, confessional monologues, scene rehearsals for the bizarre Streetcar, and the occasional visit from a talking tiger.
     It's a remarkable, inspired, thought-provoking, and beautifully-acted show.   So how can I accurately describe such a complex and intimate production?
     And then my husband said, "You know, it was like getting on an elevator, but turning around and watching the other people on the elevator with you, instead of staring at the walls."  That's it - permitted voyeurism.  With healthy doses of schadenfreude and redemption.

(Image:  Lana Lesley, Thomas Graves, Jude Hickey, Hannah Kenah, and Heather Hanna; photo by Bret Brookshire)