Photo by Jeremy Lang Photography Rude Mechs
Named after the group of laborers that mounts plays in the woods in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, this Austin-based collective launched in 1995 after its members, then undergrads at the University of Texas, studied the Bard in barns. It was all part of a summer retreat called Shakespeare at Winedale. In this communal setting, surrounded by the bucolic splendor of the Texas countryside, they lived and breathed Shakespeare for more than two months, putting on directorless plays in which the students shared responsibilities for everything.
"You'd make your costume and you'd do the lights, and then you'd act in one scene and then run upstairs to do the lights for the next person," recalls Shawn Sides, coproducing artistic director at Rude Mechanicals. "One of the things we loved about that -- and it had its problems, for sure -- is the ability to touch everything and not get siloed into one role in the production."More »