MapFund

About the Grant

$25,000 to support The Method Gun (MAP 2007), a new performance work by the Rude Mechanicals which presents and reenacts the life and tragic death of Stella Burden, a fictional reclusive acting guru and architect of "The Approach," a suite of exercises intended to ground Western naturalism in more physically-based performance rituals.

About the Project

The Method Gun aims at the life and tragic death of Stella Burden, reclusive acting guru and architect of "The Approach," a suite of exercises intended to ground Western naturalism in more physically-based performance rituals ( i.e., land-diving ceremonies in Vanuatu). Ms. Burden believed assignations such as "realism" & "naturalism" were shallow attempts to alter the audiences' experience of Truth or Beauty. This question of "truth or beauty" was the entire entrance exam for students who wished to study with Ms. Burden. From 1954-1974 she only accepted students who answered Truth. Then in 1975 she switched and took her first class of students who answered Beauty. In 1976 Stella Burden was dead.  Was Ms. Burden's death due this deviation from her practice?  Or did her process, which relied so heavily on physical risk, simply complete itself by demanding the ultimate price? Our performance will be mediated by multiple framing techniques including: salvaged film clips of Stella's students and their subsequent work in Hollywood, rediscovered interviews, and live instruction in the various methods of "the Approach." And each performance will culminate in a reenactment of the most dangerous of Stella's exercises–The Method Gun–rumored to have cost Ms. Burden her life. Rude Mechs' own signature techniques will be adapted and fictionalized in order to hold a mirror up to acting methods from Stanislavski to Anne Bogart, and to examine how these styles have affected the way Americans understand and communicate Truth and Beauty in our daily lives.

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Rude Mechanicals



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