Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Method Gun - Absurd, Impossible, Beautiful [*]

Stella Burden's gun remains in the rehearsal room, incase anyone in the troupe wants to kill each other (Source: Rude Mechs).
 The Method Gun is a performance that I will cherish the memory of for the rest of my life. Inherently original, hysterical and personal, Rude Mech’s work had me totally captivated for its entire duration. I adored everything, and I can fault nothing.

The premise of The Method Gun is actors playing actors playing actors who are performing a show. The show is centered around fictional events and people of the 70s, when acting guru Stella Burden departed for South America and never returned. She left behind her troupe of faithful actors who were in mid-rehearsals for their next production (an absurd adaptation of William’s A Streetcar Named Desire, which was to be performed without any lines from Mitch, Blanch, Stanely or Stella). All that remains of Stella are the memories of her students, a gun which she left in the rehearsal room, and her peculiar teachings and methods of acting entitled ‘The Approach’.

‘The Approach’ encompasses some of the strangest acting methods in existence. The troupe have some kooky techniques, including practicing crying and kissing, and jumping around in squares that govern how they act. Among the mix of their story is an outlandish tiger who continually informs us that most performances would be better with them, enactments of auditions and interviews of the troupe and some obscure dance sequences. All of the content is quirky, and overall everything is unbelievably funny and one thousand times more entertaining.

Loved all the actors and their characters – all aspects including the mannerisms, traits and their attire seemed to contrast in every detail but they meshed together so well. The charm of imperfection just adds to the whimsy of the content, and it was a delight to watch. The finale surpasses anything every performed in a Cirque du Soleil production, where the actors retrace the movements of their adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire. The intricate and awing display is a perfectly choreographed routine which is performed amidst swinging pendulums – it was a highlight of my life watching that in motion.

Lighting was lovely and effective and it seemed as though the Visy Theatre was build specifically for this performance. The set was furnished sporadically, but it seemed like all the space was used effectively, especially seeing as the floor was utilized so well. There was a wonderful integration of live music which gave it a bit of a cabaret flare, but the live music presented themes which eventually emerged in various moments of the piece, giving the soundscape a lovely flow.

The most incredible incredible aspect of this production was its homage to teachers and mentors, which is eluded to at the start but is not realised until the final minutes of the performance. I don’t want to really detail it because it was so beautiful that if you ever have the chance to see it, I don’t want to ruin it for you here. I can say that it is breathtaking.

I just adored EVERYTHING about this piece. Arguably it was the best work of theatre I’ve ever seen in my life. This beautiful, funny and absurd work of theatre was touching and personal by paying homage to the mentors and teachers in our lives. The refreshingly original and hilarious romp explored the art of theatre under the guru-extraordinaire Stella Burden and the lives of the troupe that she managed. A teacher that I admire taught us that a good piece of theatre is one that remains with the audience after, asking questions and provoking discussion. This was one production that did exactly that – and the best bit is that for a minute, everyone in the audience knew that his advice mattered, even if they didn't know who he was. Magic.

‘The Method Gun’ presented by Rude Mechs showed on 22nd-25th February at Brisbane Powerhouse’s World Theatre Festival.

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