Shows: Past Productions: I've Never Been So Happy

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I'VE NEVER BEEN SO HAPPY

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ABOUT THE SHOW

music and lyrics by: Peter Stopschinski

book and lyrics by: Kirk Lynn

directed by: Thomas Graves & Lana Lesley

featuring: Cami Alys, Kerri Atwood, Lowell Bartholomee, Noel Gaulin, Thomas Graves, Liz Cass, Dayna Hanson, Hannah Kenah, Jenny Larson, Lana Lesley, Jason Liebrecht, Erin Meyer, Michael Mergen, Eric Roach, Paul Soileau, Peter Stopschinski, Meg Sullivan

design by: Leilah Stewart (scenic), Miwa Matreyek (animation), Dayna Hanson (choreography), Brian Scott (lighting), Laura Cannon (costumes)

I've Never Been So Happy, with music and lyrics by Austin Experimental Punk Grand Wizard Peter Stopschinski (Brown Whornet, Golden Hornet Project), and book and lyrics by Austin Experimental Theatre Mascot Kirk Lynn, fluxuates freely between high art and Hee-Haw, treating both with respect. The music pits a "Grand Ole Opry" style West against an "El Topo" style West. The writing butts lyric poetry up against bar jokes with finesse. The evening challenges what it means to "go to the theater."

In the olden days of face-to-face interaction, folks sauntered down Main Street kickin' up a trail o' dust and hollerin' at the barber, "How's Jolene?" Now it's all checking out a video of a dude from Buenos Aires, remixing it, then posting it for others to chop and screw. This post-operetta (g)host town is the best of both worlds. The immediate participatory horizontal cultural (re)production, but without all the emoticons because you are standing in the yard of The Off Center with all of your Facebook friends gettin' drunk, makin' rope, bustin' imaginary mutton and drawin' maps of Texas land use in real time.


VIDEO

SHORT CLIPS FROM THE OCTOBER 2011 PRODUCTION AT CENTER THEATRE GROUP'S KIRK DOUGLAS THEATER

All scenes were recorded before a live audience.


ARTS WRITING

Preview Article of April 2011 premiere by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, Austin American-Statesman

Feature Article of October 2011 production by Reed Johnson, Los Angeles Times


REVIEWS

Awards / Citations:

"Best of 2011" - Los Angeles Times

"Outstanding Production" - 2011 B. Iden Payne Awards

"Outstanding Direction" - 2011 B. Iden Payne Awards

"Production of a Musical" - 2011 Austin Critics Table

"Music Direction" - 2011 Austin Critics Table

"The David Mark Cohen New Play Award" - 2011 Austin Critics Table

" Ensemble Performance" - 2011 Austin Critics Table

"Top 9 Theatre Productions of 2009 That Did Ascend the Brightest Heaven of Invention" (honorable mention) - Austin Chronicle

"Top 8 of '08" - Austin Chronicle

"Top 10 Theatrical Treasures and Pleasures of 2008" - Austin Chronicle

“...for those on the same wacky wavelength as Rude Mechs — and this boldly experimental group has earned its cult following — “I’ve Never Been So Happy” will no doubt possess a cobweb-clearing comic force.” – Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Review of October 2011 production

“Bertolt Brecht elaborated the alienation effect to get us to see our social reality with sharper eyes; Rude Mechs takes a friendlier approach, flashing playground smiles to trick us into entering a distorted dreamscape that sheds oblique light on our cultural frontier.” – Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Review of October 2011 production

“I especially admired the layered production design and the score’s chuckling interplay of cabaret, country and western and operatic forms, performed by an onstage orchestra dominated by — what else? — violins.” – Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Review of October 2011 production

“It’s no sillier than most Broadway blockbusters, but it sure is a whole lot more original.” – Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Review of October 2011 production

“…first-rate theater that artfully exploits its own childish surface to reveal a mature understanding of happiness.” – Daniel Boden, UCLA Daily Bruin Review of October 2011 production

“…a backup chorus amplifies the soundscape with powerhouse vocals, and the dancers’ kinetic energy suffuses the stage. Dayna Hanson’s quirky choreography is an innovative, postmodern mash-up of country/western and modern dance styles. The on-stage orchestra of four violinists, rocking guitarist Eric Roach, and keyboardist/music director Peter Stopschinski is exceptional.” – Sarah Taylor Ellis, Stage and Cinema Review of October 2011 production

“The Western musical feels like the late-night, Mountain Dew-fueled creation of some clever 12-year-olds, and whether that's a compliment or a criticism will depend on one's willingness to adjust to the show's nonsensical antics. As for me, Happy lassoed my admiration.” – John Young, Entertainment Weekly EW.com Review of October 2011 production

“Happy dips its musical toes into practically every genre it can locate on Wikipedia, from country and rock to classical and tribal chanting. Peter Stopschinski's music is consistently catchy.” – John Young, Entertainment Weekly EW.com Review of October 2011 production

“With only 18 performances, Angelenos had better hurry if they want to catch this Texan delight before it disappears into the horizon.” – John Young, Entertainment Weekly EW.com Review of October 2011 production

“The Rude Mechs' work feels like a bit of a dare -- or maybe a late night bet made by a group of witty, somewhat crazy, definitely brave and unquestionably talented actors. You can almost imagine the 3am conversation…” – Anthony Byrnes, KCRW (NPR) Review of October 2011 production

“If "Don't Mess with Texas" is your motto, or you believe that the American musical is a sacred art form that should never be violated, you'll probably want to pass on this one. If on the other hand, you want to grab a bunch of friends put on an ironic cowboy hat and laugh at some brilliantly executed, cheap dead-pan humor, make sure you get to the Kirk Douglas Theater in the next two weeks. I dare ya.“ – Anthony Byrnes, KCRW (NPR) Review of October 2011 production

“Credit must also be given to the dancers who double as a sort of cornpone Greek chorus: Noel Gaulin; Hannah Kenah; Lana Lesley and Erin Meyer. They sing and dance quite nicely, segueing smoothly from line-dancing to ballet to ballroom.” – George Alexander, Culture Vulture Review of October 2011 production

"It's beautiful to see the great possibility that this creative, sometimes-too-comfortable city offers come to fruition in a production that shoots for the heavens while staying firmly grounded in love, art, and breakfast tacos." – Georgia Young, Austinist Review of April 2011 full production

"'I've Never Been So Happy' is a show that fills you with Austinite pride in exactly the way that makes you, at other times, roll your eyes at how proud and happy everybody in Austin is to be in Austin." – Elizabeth Cobbe, Austin Chronicle Review of April 2011 full production

"Whatever else it’s about (the myth of the American West, gender roles, love), “I’ve Never Been So Happy” finds a way to lasso up all the good things about the theater and how silly and fun and sincere it can be when it’s done wisely." – Jeanne Claire van Ryzin,  Austin American-Statesman of April 2011 full production

"I've Never Been So Happy is one big smart 21st-century theatrical valentine to the Lone Star State... tender, funny, super-intelligent, super-odd..."  – Jeanne Claire van Ryzin,  Austin American-Statesman on September 2009 work-in-progress production

"This production may only give you a taste of what’s to come, but that small bite will leave you wanting the whole enchilada by the time it’s through. Come on down for free drinks, archery, dancing, paper cutting, even a little bit of dress up, and, of course, one of the most talked about plays of the season. The hardest part is being patient enough to wait through the coming months to see the rest of the story. But that’s a small price to pay for a production such as this."   – Ryan Johnson, Austin.com Review of December 2008 work-in-progress production

"The Rudes continue to deepen their creative process and challenge themselves in new ways. And that results in smart, terrific theater that takes us some place new. Or maybe right back home to Texas.."   – Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, Austin American-Statesman Review of December 2008 work-in-progress production

"BEST INVESTIGATION OF THE WEST: The Rude Mechs' funny, well-informed multimedia performance was a refreshingly queer interrogation of the West. Moreover, I’ve Never Been So Happy felt like a Brechtian extravaganza for art and theater geeks, evoking everything from WOW Café camp to Bruce Nauman’s post-minimal studio practice to Kara Walker’s silhouettes and shadow puppets." - Claire Ruud, ...might be good (Fluent-Collaborative's contemporary arts e-journal Best of 2008)


PHOTOS

Production stills from the October 2011 Production at Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theater


PRODUCTION HISTORY

 

Kirk and Peter started work on this play back in 2006 or so after having enjoyed their collaboration on our show El Paraiso. Once they came up with a working draft of the piece, Lana Lesley agreed to coordinate a concert of select scenes at First Night Austin 2008. They had asked Erin Meyer & Noel Gaulin to create some puppets, and were absolutely blown away by their work with live projection design. After that performance, Rude Mechs signed on to help develop the work into a full-length western musical extravaganza. We began writing grants like mad and agreed wholly on two things: if we aren’t having fun doing it, we stop; and if we run out of money, we stop. Each showing, to help keep the production budget within our reach, the unbelievably awesome ensemble of performers agreed to just a 10-day rehearsal process, and we remain wildly grateful for their excellence, commitment and bravery. And all this has led to a world premiere with Center Theatre Group as a presenting partner. Yee Haw!

 

Touring

Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theater (Los Angeles, CA) - October 2011

Presented 2nd iteration of premiered production featuring new scenic design, and several new songs.

Show Team: Cami Alys, Kerri Atwood, Lowell Bartholomee, Liz Cass, Noel Gaulin, Thomas Graves, Dayna Hanson, Hannah Kenah, Jenny Larson, Lana Lesley, Jason Liebrecht, Denise Martel, Miwa Matreyek, Michael Mergen, Erin Meyer, Brian H Scott, Paul Soileau, Meg Sullivan, Leilah Stewart  Musicians: Peter, Eric & LA Strings


Productions

Click on the dates to for more info and to see stllls from the performances

 

April 2011  - World Premiere at The Off Center, Austin, TX 

September 2009 - Work-in-Progress production at The Off Center, Austin, TX

December 2008 - Work-in-Progress production at The Off Center, Austin, TX

 


Residencies

New Play Festival @ Arena Stage - January 21-30, 2011

Developed: Hard to remember. We believe we spent 3 weeks working on every single scene and song and creating interstitial material.

Presented: Concert staging of the entire musical from beginning to end

Show Team: Cami Alys, Kerri Atwood, Lowell Bartholomee, Noel Gaulin, Thomas Graves, Amy Hackerd, Dayna Hanson, Hannah Kenah, Jenny Larson, Lana Lesley, Jason Liebrecht, Denise Martel, Miwa Matreyek, Erin Meyer, William Moses, Stephen Pruitt, Paul Soileau, Meg Sullivan, Leilah Stewart  Musicians: Peter, Eric & DC Strings

The Orchard Project Theatre Residency Program - June 14 - 21, 2009

Developed: “Annabellee’s Dream”, “Search Party”, “Western Way”, “Don’t Know Sing”, “Funeral”

Presented: "Western Way", "Search Party"

Show Team: Peter Stopschinski, Kirk Lynn, Thomas Graves, Lana Lesley, Shana Gold, Sean White, Tyler Herman, and Starry!

The University of Texas Musical Theatre Initiative - June 1 - 13, 2009

Developed: New shadow puppetry imagery, staging and “Magical Knot”, “Ropebreak Ballet”, “Electric Signals”, “Oh Shit”

Presented: “Magical Knot”, “Ropebreak Ballet”, “Electric Signals”, “Oh Shit”

Show Team: Peter Stopschinski, Kirk Lynn, Erin Meyer, Noel Gaulin, Thomas Graves, Lana Lesley, Hannah Kenah, Marlane Barnes, Jenny Connel, Christina Gutierrez, Julia Gytri, Glen Hall, Jena Kirmse, Lisa Kobdish, Denise Martel, Jared Olberholtzer, Cody Wiliams Musicians: Peter Stopschinski, Lyn Koening, and a wonderful orchestra

December 31, 2007: First Night Austin concert reading under the bridge.
Developed: Shadow puppetry! And the first of every scene and song

Presented: “If I Were A King”, “Saloon Songs”, “A Dog’s Life”... it’s hard to remember! There's a terrible video on YouTube somewhere.

Show Team: Peter Stopschinski, Kirk Lynn, Erin Meyer, Noel Gaulin, Lana Lesley, Lowell Bartholomee, Jenny Larson, Jason Liebrecht, Stephanie Stephens, Jeffrey Mills

 


Creation support for I've Never Been So Happy comes from:

Arena Stage New Play Festival
The National Endowment for the Arts
The Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
The NEA Distinguished New Play Development Program hosted by Arena Stage

The Orchard Project Theatre Residency Program
The University of Texas at Austin Musical Theatre Initiative

 

 


WORLD PREMIERE PRODUCTION

April 21 - May 07, 2011

The Off Center

book and lyrics by Kirk Lynn

music and lyrics by Peter Stopschinski

directed by Thomas Graves and Lana Lesley

presented in association with Center Theatre Group as part of Fusebox Festival

 

ABOUT THE WORLD PREMIERE

We finished it, pretty much!
What’s new, you ask? Well, never-before-seen dances, never-before-heard songs and brand new scenes, for one. For two, we are lucky to have had presenting partner Center Theatre Group invest in the production and introduce us to animator Miwa Matreyek. We welcomed astoundingly cool choreography Dayna Hanson into the fold to whip the dance team into top form. And, we reinvented the Transmedia Shindig, which is all about broadening the spectrum of input into this project. We invited artists working in all media to intersect with the creation of the musical. Often in the playmaking process, ideas are rejected because they don’t serve a play’s narrative or aesthetic or direction. The transmedia shindig format makes room for every idea. Ultimately we hope to incubate these independent ideas (called booths, for now) and install them throughout the city and/or the interwebs. Keep an eye out!

Stills from the April 2011 World Premiere Production (operetta only)

 

THE PLAY - AS OF APRIL 2011

ACT 1
Scene 1: “Annabellee’s Dream” - Annabellee dreams of a mountain lion and plans her escape from her father, Brutus, with help from her dachshund, Sigmunda.
Scene 2: “A Dog’s Life” - Annabellee and her father, Brutus, race the family dachshunds against each other. Sigmunda is racing for the right for Annabellee to strike out on her own. Sigfried is racing to keep her safe at home.
Scene 3: “Magical Knot” - Julie, Jeremy’s mother, and the companions on her commune trap the last mountain lion in Texas. They then tie Jeremy to the mountain lion and set her loose to drag the boy across the West to teach him how to be a man.
Scene 4: “Everything’s Tied” - The race is won and Annabellee and Brutus negotiate the settlement of the wager as the dogs tell jokes.
Scene 5: “Electric Signals” - Jeremy’s rope breaks and he loses his lion after learning many lessons out in the desert. He calls home to tell Julie, his mom, he misses her.
Scene 6: “Oh Shit” - Julie goes to town to ask the Sheriff to help find her boy. Brutus meets Jeremy in the street and brings him back to his studio-home to meet Annabellee, certain that she’ll reject him.
Scene 7: “She Likes Fur” - Jeremy’s only hope of winning Annabellee’s hand in marriage lies in the paws of the dachshunds, who dress him up to suit her taste. Annabellee agrees to marry him, but disappears before the wedding.

INTERMISSION
The Transmedia Shindig awaits you outside!

ACT 2
Scene 8: “Electric Signals” - Far away from one another in the world, but close enough in their affections, Jeremy and Annabellee each dreams of the other.
Scene 9: “Search Party” - Enter the Sheriff who, along with Jeremy and the dachsunds, leads a search party to hunt down the lion they think took off with Annabellee.
Scene 10: “The Western Way” - Jeremy’s mother, Julie, and Annabellee’s father, Brutus, debate the true western way of living while Annabellee sets a trap for the lion.
Scene 11: “Don’t Know Sing” - The mountain lion has fallen for Annabellee’s trap. She recounts her version of the story, takes a dachshund hostage and finally chooses death over a life in captivity.
Scene 12: “Things I Loved About That Dog” - the end.

SONG LIST

  1. “Annabellee’s Dream” - Annabellee and her dog, Sigmunda
  2. “Prelude” - Orchestra
  3. “A Dog’s Life” - Sigmunda and Sigfried
  4. “Magical Knot” - Julie and Wymyn
  5. “Everything’s Tied” - Annabellee and Brutus
  6. “Ropebreak Ballet” - Orchestra
  7. “Electric Signals” - Jeremy
  8. “Oh Shit” - Sheriff
  9. “Opera & Crying” - Julie and Wymyn
  10. “She Likes Fur” - Sigmunda and Sigfried
  11. “Hoo Doo” - Ensemble
  12. “Prelude to Act II” - Orchestra
  13. “Electric Signals Duet” - Annabellee and Jeremy
  14. “We Hunt the Lion” - Sheriff, Jeremy, Sigfried, and Sigmunda
  15. “Western Way of Livin’” - Julie, Brutus, and Annabellee
  16. “Don’t Know Sing” - The Lion and her cubs
  17. “Things I Loved About That Dog” - Ensemble
  18. “I’ve Never Been So Happy” - Ensemble

 

TRANSMEDIA SHINDIG

1. SIDLE UP TO THE SIDE BAR: For less than what you would pay in the big city, you can git a beer or a margarita and then drink it and chew on GASTROGIANT’s delectible take on white trash edibles.

2. THINGS I LOVED ABOUT THAT DOG: Light a candle and memorialize a lost and loved animal.

3. TOUCH MY GUN: Any hardcore Texan can feel what’s real. Can you?

4. FLAGGING FUKSTIK: A collection of lore-inducing mechanisms honed from the sacred crevices of Texas’ finest arobreal resources by the Austin Center for Sapphic Insistence.

5. MERCH - iffn’ we have any show soundtrack cd’s available, this is where you can buy them!

6. LAND GRAB!: A game as old as Texas itself. Win knots to claim land and do with it what you will! Your knots will be gladly accepted at the Land Grab General Store where you can shop for Profit or the Common Good. But choose wisely because GOD IS WATCHING YOU!

7. I DIDN’T KNOW THE FIRST THING ABOUT LOVE: Are you fit to be a parent? This obstacle course is the only way to know for sure.

8. BUST A NUT: A game show exhibition of the most intense delights! Use your headnut to answer one of our vexing questions for a chance to SPIN THE WHEEL. Win one of several delightful methods to BUST-A-NUT! The LONG SHOT wins a PRIZE!!

9. REDNECK DRIVE-IN: Watch vintage westerns the way they were meant to be seen and not heard.

10. GOLDEN TOOTH OR GOLDEN TRUTH: What is your fortune and how will you find it? Choose your gold wisely!

11. QUICK DRAW: Step inside and walk away with an artistic interpretation of yourself.

12. MESSIN’ WITH TEXAS: Find out how well you know the great state of Texas

13. CLOTHES HORSE: Suit yourself in the western wear of yesteryear. If we don’t have something to cover it, it’s better off nekkid!
14. THE COWBOY CODE: Git yerself a bandana in the CLOTHES HORSE and let the world know whether your headed for the Grand Tetons for if yer looking for the Grand Canyon. Ya know - a simple code to signal what you are willing to give or looking to get.

15. WERE YOU TIED TO A LION?: Create and watch this documentary on what our parents did to make us strong.

16. LBJ’s INSEAM: Nuff said.

17. PINEY BLUFF SOCIAL HOUR: Share a cup of tea with Willa as she regales you with Piney Bluff gossip.

PRODUCTION TEAM

Ensemble: Cami Alys, Kerri Atwood, Lowell Bartholomee, Noel Gaulin, Thomas Graves, Amy Hackerd, Hannah Kenah, Lana Lesley, Jenny Larson, Jason Liebrecht, Erin Meyer, William Moses, Paul Soileau, Meg Sullivan

Designers: Dayna Hanson - Choreography; Miwa Matreyek - Animation; Stephen Pruitt - Lighting Design;

Leilah Stewart - Scenic Design; Laura Cannon - Costume Design

Musicians: Amy Harris, Roberto Riggio, Eric Roach, Joseph Shuffield, Peter Stopschinski,

Thomas van der Brook, Julie Wang, Elizabeth Warren

Carnies: Robert Pierson

Production Staff:

Denise Martel - Production Stage Manager

Charlie Llewellin - Sound Engineer and Operator

Jazz Miller - Assistant Stage Manager and Light Operator

Lorenza Phillips - Master Electrician and Video Operator

Stephen Pruitt - Video System Design and Programmer

Rick Thomson - Technical Director

Woody Golden - Master Carpenter

Katie Hopkins - Box Office Manager

Ellie McBride - Front of House Manager

Ashley O'Brien - Wardrobe Supervisor and Production Intern

Taylor McCaslin - Stage Management Intern

Transmedia Shindig Team:

Khattie Q
Lowell Bartholomee
Patrick Bresnan
Madge Darlington
Jodi Jinks
Hannah Kenah
Kirk Lynn
Edmund Martinez
Griffin Mauser
Ellie McBride
Ashley O’Brien
Robert Pierson
Stanley Roy
Silky Shoemaker
Rachael Shannon
Luke Savisky
Shawn Sides
Meg Sullivan
Aron Taylor
b.e. wiest
and volunteer carnies!!!

SPECIAL THANKS!

Much love for the entire production team for throwing in on every single thing!
Stephanie Hunter & Michael Breen - for graciously housing and hosting
our visiting artists over the last year!
the side bar - for showing up every night with fun in a glass!
gastrogiant - for showing up every night with creative eats!
INNU Hair Salon - for making us pretty year in and year out!
The folks that have helped out in the making of the INBSH shindigs since 2008!
Damn near all the current cast and crew • Savanna Adams • Pedro Alexander • Kevin Beltz • Laura Cannon • Erin Coscia • Celeste DeBardelaben • Michelle Fisher • Marcella Garcia • Noah Goldstein • Don Hejny • Margaret Hejny • Darby & Grady Hillman • Matt Hislope • Derek Kolluri • Roger Lambert • Charlie Llewellin • Emily Lowe • Freddie Lynn • Joey Melcher • William Moses • Ashley O’Brien • Robert Pierson • Rino Pizzi • Stephen Pruitt • Atticus Rowe • Silky Shoemaker • Howard Shows • Lindsey Sikes • Heather Stewart • Thomas Stuckey • Dan Sullivan • Doug Williams • Austin Waldorf School • HBMG Foundation • Mary Moody Northen Theatre • Paula’s Texas Spirits • Uncommon Objects • the side bar • and to all the Community Service volunteers - we’re sorry you got in trouble, but we are happy you came and helped!

We remain grateful to the UT Musical Theatre Initiative: Bob Schmidt • Holly Williams • Denise Martel • Lyn Koenning and the entire cast and crew for their help in developing the show.
We remain grateful to the The Orchard Project Theatre Residency Program: Ari, Dean, Tyler, Starry, Shawn and Shana for giving us space, time and talent to work with.


WORK-IN-PROGRESS PRODUCTION

September 10 - 20, 2009

The Off Center

book and lyrics by Kirk Lynn

music and lyrics by Peter Stopschinski

directed by Thomas Graves and Lana Lesley

curated by Aron Taylor

Stills from the September 2009 Work-in-Progress Production (operetta only)

 

ABOUT THE SEPTEMBER 2009 WORK-IN-PROGRESS PERFORMANCE:

This presentation began with the disappearance of our heroine, Annabellee. She's gone missing on her wedding day and the only clue available is a bloody veil found in the mouth of the last mountain lion in Texas. Join Jeremy and his dachshund companions, Sigmunda and Sigfried, as they hunt down the lion. See Brutus Baghand and Julie Jessup, the traditionalist and the pioneer, battle it out to determine who follows the true western way of living. Hear the Mountain Lion's death metal song, as she finally tells her side of this tall tale! And what about Annabellee? Is she in danger? Or is this all just some plot to escape her father's authoritarian rules? Prepare yourself for sorrow, as one of these characters will die! After the performance, the audience stepped outside into a western transmedia interactive performance party featuring margaritas and beer provided by the side bar (thank you!), dancing, karaoke, rope-making, fried food in the shape of famous Texans, a country cage match competition, the chance to touch a real gun with a stranger in a pick up truck, the chance to get your hair cut by a real Texan barber, or styled by the world's best country styler, the chance to prank call a Yankee, and to use the outhouse for good ole fashioned dirty jokes.

Scenes Presented

Scene 1: "Annabellee's Dream" - Annabellee and her dachshund, Sigmunda, dream of escaping Brutus' control.
Scene 7: “The Wedding ” - Enter Jeremy, who hopes to win Annabelle’s hand. The dachshunds dress him up to suit Annabellee’s taste.

Scene 8: "Search Party" - The Sherriff leads Jeremy, Sigfried, Sigmunda and the townspeople on a search for Annabellee, who has gone to trap the Mountain Lion, who signs of her demise.

Scene 9: "Western Way" - Julie and Brutus battle it out to determine who follows the true western way of living.

Scene 10: "Funeral" - we can't say!

PRODUCTION TEAM

Ensemble: Cami Alys, Kerri Atwood, Lowell Bartholomee, Hannah Kenah, Jenny Larson,

Jason Liebrecht, Meredith McCall, Paul Soileau, Meg Sullivan

Designers: Noel Gaulin & Erin Meyer - Live Projection Design; Stephen Pruitt - Lighting Design;

Leilah Stewart - Scenic Design; Kim H. Ngo - Costume Design

Musicians: James Alexander, Amy Harris, Eric Roach, Joseph Shuffield, Peter Stopschinski,

Thomas van der Brook, Julie Wang, Elizabeth Warren

Carnies: Matt Hislope, Robert Pierson

Production Staff:

Charlie Llewellin - Sound Engineer

Katie Hopkins - Front of House Manager

Jazz Miller - Stage Manager

Jane Stimpson - Video Operator

TRANSMEDIA PERFORMANCE PARTY

curated by Aron Taylor


"Prank A Yank"

"Touch My Gun" by Robert Pierson

"Potty Mouth" by Matt Hislope

"Karaoke the West" by Meg Sullivan

"Country Cage Match" by Aron Taylor

"Deep Fried in the Heart of Texas" by Aron Taylor and Silky Shoemaker

"Lookin' Sharp" by Freddie Lynn

side bar Saloon by the side bar

"Do(odle) Mess with Texas" by Erin Meyer & Noel Gaulin


WORK-IN-PROGRESS PRODUCTION 2008

December 4 - 13, 2008

The Off Center

book and lyrics by Kirk Lynn

music and lyrics by Peter Stopschinski

curated and directed by Thomas Graves and Lana Lesley

Stills from the December 2008 Work-in-Progress Production (operetta & party)

 

ABOUT THE DECEMBER 2008 WORK-IN-PROGRESS PERFORMANCE:

A transmedia performance party that purposely defies definition, we invite you to experience a sort of western carnival that may include a short documentary film about the Rude Mechs' parents, our patented "Ask the West" booth featuring a real rancher and a mountain lion ready with answers, a margarita and/or salsa competition, a Rube-Goldberg style art-making installation centered on how the West has affected gender identity, the environment, culture... You might go home with a western portrait, shoot a magical bow and arrow which cannot miss its target, and you just might be listened to for the first time in your life! And at the center of this evening are selections from Rude Mechs' newest musical. A single mother ties her son to the last mountain lion in Texas to toughen him up. A single father tries to keep his daughter from leaving home. Philip Larkin said it best, "They fuck you up, your mum and dad." All this plus a dachshund race, three jokes about rope, a seven-piece band, eight singers, three video puppeteers, and a tiny dance team to create a wild west wonderland in the Rudes' theater, THE OFF CENTER. (And remember, The Off Center was once a feed store!).

From 8 pm to about 8:30 pm: We invited you to roam the space and actively participate in every event - paint a painting, dance, play an instrument, make a documentary, cross-dress for less, meditate in the desert. At about 8:30 pm we invited you to turn your attention to the stage to enjoy selections from the musical.

Scenes Presented

Scene 2: “A Dog’s Life” - Annabellee and her father, Brutus, race their dachshunds against each other. Sigmunda is racing for the right for her owner, Annabellee, to strike out on her own. Sigfried is racing for his owner, Brutus, to keep his daughter
by his side.
Scene 4: “New Condition ” - The race is won and Annabellee and Brutus negotiate the settlement of the wager as the dogs tell jokes.
Scene 7: “The Wedding ” - Enter Jeremy, who hopes to win Annabelle’s hand. The dachshunds dress him up to suit Annabelle’s taste.

ABOUT THE PROCESS:

What you may have witnessed was a work-in-progress. Because our company tears itself up trying to perfect process while attempting to be as collaborative as possible, we hope to bring you along for the ride in a way that will inform the project, our process and the way you absorb this Rude Mechs work as it is developed for its premier in 2010.


Kirk and Peter started work on this play back in 2006 or so after having enjoyed their collaboration on our show El Paraiso. Rude Mechs presented a short workshop viewing of the piece at First Night Austin 2008. Lana and Thomas joined the project this Fall. We all agree the mandate for this project is very simple: if we aren’t having fun doing it, we stop. The underlying goal for the project is inclusion - let every idea in, develop it and give it a home. Ultimately we hope to incubate these independent ideas and install them throughout the city or the web or into the show during the run of the premiere.

 

PRODUCTION TEAM

Background Vocals: Cami Alys, Kerri Atwood, Carolyn Cremona, Michael Mergen

Cast: Lowell Bartholomee, Jenny Larson, Josh Meyer, Paul Soileau, Meg Sullivan

Dance Team: Thomas Graves, Hannah Kenah, Lana Lesley, Robert Pierson

Designers: Noel Gaulin & Erin Meyer - Live Projection Design; Stephen Pruitt - Lighting Design; Leilah Stewart - Scenic Design

Musicians: Jason Elinoff, Andrew Noble, Eric Roach, Joseph Shuffield, Peter Stopschinski, Julie Wang, Elizabeth Warren

Production Staff:

Charlie Llewellin - Sound Engineer

Mercedes Martinez - Front of House Manager

Jazz Miller - Stage Manager

Christian Stagg - Video Operator

Meg Sullivan - Costume Coordinator

 

TRANSMEDIA PERFORMANCE PARTY


*The Western Wing of the Gay Wax Museum*
created by Silky Shoemaker


*They Fuck You Up, Yer Mom and Dad*
created by Michael Mergen


*The Bullseye Lounge*
created by Kirk Lynn


*Paper-Cut Corner*
created by Erin Meyer, Noel Gaulin


*The Clothes Horse*
conceived by Laura Cannon
created by Meg Sullivan


*Your Old Friend*
created by Robert Pierson


*Ask the West*
created by Kirk Lynn


*Cures What Ails Ya*
created by Leilah Stewart


*The Desert*
created by Stephen Pruitt


*Everything’s Tied*
created by Thomas Graves

SPECIAL THANKS

The entire production team for throwing in on everything!
The Transmedia Art Makers for donating their time and skill.
Aron Taylor for making a beautiful art poster.
Howard Shows for painting in “Everything’s Tied.”
Don Hejny for knowing everything about the West.
Margaret Hejny for her willingness to be Leilah.
Celeste DeBardelaben for Susan, again!
Kevin Beltz, William Moses, Michelle Fisher, Michelle Flanagan, and Erin Coscia
for their grueling physical labor.
Mary Moody Northen Theatre for the stoner chair.
Darby & Grady Hillman for the BOBCAT!
Dan Sullivan for filling out the “Clothes Horse.”
Paula’s Texas Spirits for putting the cure in the “Cure’s What
Ails Ya” booth.
Marcella Garcia for sign painting, a lovely story and grueling physical labor.
Laura Cannon for western clothes.
Austin Waldorf School for the music stands!

Rude Mechs is supported by the Texas Commission on the Arts and the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division

RUDE MECHS Exclusive Worldwide Tour Representation:
Thomas O. Kriegsmann, President
ArKtype
t. (917) 386-5468
f. (212) 749-7696
e. tommy@arktype.org
w. http://www.arktype.org


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Updated 07/01/2005
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