My partner Madge Darlington is a co-producing artistic director ("co-pad") and founder of Rude Mechs Theater Collective, and Austin-based ensemble company that's been making work together since 1996. When I met Madge in 1997, her beautiful work with friends as smart, big-hearted, and creative as she is was a big part of the attraction. Over the years they have had moments of greater and lesser national visibility, like any long-term theater project going on outside New York. Right now they are hot as blazes. See Sunday's New York Times:
This article highlights the most miraculous thing about Rude Mechs: their ongoing, fractious, committed, and passionate love for one another. I have truly learned so much about how to work with other people from watching them spend time and money on retreats, facilitators, self-help books, long talks, long silences, going out for drinks, and sheer hard work on their sometimes five, sometimes six, now seven-partner marriage. I've even learned a lot about marriage.
The art they are able to make in community is breathtaking because it always takes huge risks--including physical risks--on stage. They make the most of the fact that theater is about live bodies--those of performers, crew, actors and audience--in a room together, an ephemeral community with what Feminist Spectator blogger Jill Dolan calls utopian performative possibilities. The trust the whole ensemble needs to have in one another to create their theatrical spectacles is palpable in their productions. There's a line attributed to the Situationists in Rude Mechs' first breakout hit, Lipstick Traces, that I think beautifully describes why watching them onstage is so moving: "Something is actually happening."
Go see them this weekend at Yale Rep or next in New York at Dance Theater Workshop.