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The Rude Mechs - Dionysus in 69

Rude Mechanicals (a.k.a. Rude Mechs) is proud to rebirth The Performance Group’s interpretation of Euripides’s The Bacchae: Dionysus in 69. Rude Mechs remount this piece as faithfully as possible to the original production, using Brian de Palma’s  film of the production and the 1970 book, Dionysus in 69 as our primary sources for re-staging. Rude Mechs’ production is the first-ever remounting of this legendary work --  41 years after its NY premiere.

Originally directed by Richard Schechner and created collectively by the Performance Group (TPG), Dionysus in 69 is widely regarded as one of the seminal works of American experimental performance. Influenced by the work of Jerzy Grotowski, Happenings, the Freedom Movement, and a “birth  ritual”  from West Irian (part the island of New Guinea) , Schechner and The Performance Group  radically interpreted The Bacchae as both a celebration of ecstasy and a critique of  false prophets. In Dionysus in 69 The Performance Group developed  ”environmental theatre,” a term Schechner coined  to describe not ecologically-minded theatre, but 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. In Dionysyus in 69, Schechner explored audience participation, moving the performance from the theatre to the street, and constructing a performance space with no fixed seating.  Over the course of the original production’s fourteen month run , actors switched roles, the text morphed, clothes were shed, and many spectators  joined the dance or intervened changing the outcome of the production. During one performance, a group of students who had seen Dionysus in 69 several times :”liberated”  Pentheus by bodily carrying him from the theatre. In order to complete the night’s performance,  Schechner asked for, and got, a spectator to play the role during the final scenes (Schechner stood behind the young man, coaching him).

Now Rude Mechs tackles this hippie-era classic to celebrate 40 years of experimental, environmental theatre and to experience and learn about this important work in the deepest way - through performing it.

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 2009 ‘Dionysus in ‘69’ is an keen, spirited, brilliantly acted paean to experimental theater past, present and future."
--Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, Austin American-Statesman, December 12, 2009


Ensemble: Heather Barfield, Elizabeth Doss, Thomas Graves, Noel Gaulin, Matt Hislope, Jodi Jinks, Hannah Kenah, Josh Meyer, Aron Taylor, Katie Van Winkle

Co-Directed by Madge Darlington and Shawn Sides

RUDE MECHANICALS (a.k.a. Rude Mechs) is an ensemble theatre company. We create plays that we produce in Austin, TX and tour nationally and internationally. Our touring productions include “The Method Gun”, “Get Your War On”, “Decameron Day 7: Revenge”, Match-Play”, and “Lipstick Traces.” Our touring and off-Broadway productions include “Get Your War On”, “How Late it Was, How Late”, “Cherrywood”, and “Lipstick Traces.”

Dionysus in 69 is Rude Mechs’ first in a series of re-enactments of significant, experimental performances from the 60s, 70s, and 80s that so  influenced the work of contemporary performance artists, dancers, and theatre makers. Because all performances are  ephemeral and  avant-garde even more so,  most people never experience these seminal works. Rudes will be remounting these productions, as closely as possible to the originals  (doing our best to avoid a contemporary interpretation).  Rudes’ re-enacted Mabou Mines’ B Beaver Animation in October 2011. The next re-enactment is scheduled for the fall of 2013, title TBA.

Richard Schechner (born August 23, 1934) is Professor of Performance Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, editor of TDR: The Drama Review, and artistic director of East Coast Artists. His BA is from Cornell University (1956), MA from the University of Iowa (1958), and PhD from Tulane University (1962). Schechner is one of the founders of the Performance Studies department of the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University (NYU). He also founded The Performance Group, an experimental theater troupe. Schechner was artistic director of TPG from its start in 1967 (during a workshop) until 1980 when TPG changed its name to The Wooster Group which continues under the leadership of Elizabeth LeCompte. The home of both TPG and TWG is the Performing Garage in New York's SoHo district, acquired by Schechner in 1968. In 1992, Schechner founded a new theater company, East Coast Artists, of which he is still the artistic director.


Event Information


Friday, December 9, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

8:00 PM

Marie and Edward Matthews '53 Acting Studio

$10 students/seniors; $12 general admission

For tickets please call University Ticketing at 609.258.9220





Dionysus in 69 tickets are sold out for Friday, December 9 

An additional block of tickets for Saturday, December 10 will go on sale 12:00 noon on Tuesday, December 6

Note: Dionysus in 69 will be Simulcast in James M. Stewart '32 Theater for both performances at no charge for any overflow crowds.


Sponsored by Performance Central

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