UPDATE: Click for ALT review, December 5
UPDATE: Dan Solomon interviews director Shawn Sides for austinist.com, December 4
UPDATE: Extensive backgrounder by Robert Faires, published in the Austin Chronicle, November 26
Dionysus in 69
December 3 -20, Thursdays - Sundays at 8 p.m.
at The Off Center
Tickets on sale now at Brown Paper Tickets
[Photos by Bret Brookshire]
Rude Mechs is proud to produce the first-ever revival of The Performance Group’s Dionysus in 69, a groundbreaking interpretation of Euripides’s The Bacchae. Offering Austin theatre-goers an extraordinary opportunity to relive history, the Rudes are painstakingly recreating the original production, using Brian de Palma’s filmed version of the play and the 1970 book, Dionysus in 69 as source materials, as well as inviting the original production's director, Richard Schechner, to guide several rehearsals.
Rude Mechs celebrates 40 years of experimental theatre by experiencing and learning about Dionysus in 69 in the deepest way - through its performance.
Ensemble: Heather Barfield, Elizabeth Doss, Thomas Graves, Jude Hickey, Matt Hislope, Jodi Jinks, Hannah Kenah, Josh Meyer, Aron Taylor, Katie Van Winkle
Co-Directed by: Madge Darlington and Shawn Sides
NOTE: In addition to Richard Schechner leading several rehearsals in advance of the production he will return to Austin for opening night December 4, when he'll briefly introduce the piece immediately before the show and will attend the opening night party following.
WARNING: NUDITY AND ADULT THEMES.
NO ONE UNDER 18 WILL BE ADMITTED WITHOUT PARENT OR GUARDIAN.
(click "Read More" for additional information and images)
The original production, directed by Richard Schechner and created collectively by The Performance Group, is widely regarded as one of the germinal works of American experimental performance. Influenced by the work of Jerzy Grotowski, Happenings, the Freedom Movement, and a “birth ritual” from West Irian (part of the island of New Guinea), Dionysus in 69 spawned ”environmental theatre,” a term Schechner coined to describe a method of staging where the entire space is used by both performers and spectators, focus is flexible and variable, and the literary text is not the primary element driving the production.
Dionysus in 69 is the first in a series of Rude Mechs re-enactments of significant, experimental performances from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s that radically influenced the work of contemporary performance artists, dancers, and theatre makers. Because all performances are ephemeral, and avant-garde performances even more so, most people never experience these landmark works. Rude Mechs will be recreating these productions as closely as possible to the originals.
“Dionysus in 69 is strong stuff, but anyone who wants to know where the modern theatre is going will have to see it.”---The New York Times, June 7, 1968
This project is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.