Stop Hitting Yourself Will Ruin You for Any Future Fête

Bret Brookshire

Prospective playgoers, be forewarned: The Rude Mechs' Stop Hitting Yourself will ruin you for any future fête. No matter how sumptuous the hors d'oeuvres, how glittering the company, how sparkling the wine, you will sigh and say, "Yes, well, if only it had a queso fountain."

On the Claire Tow stage at LCT3, a golden cascade of Velveeta tops the extravagant set (courtesy of the invaluable Mimi Lien), a bit of Babylon via Vegas that even Liberace might have thought de trop. On its mirrored surfaces, the Austin collective (seven performers plus writer Kirk Lynn and director Shawn Sides) launches this devised piece, which nominally concerns an annual charity ball. Really, it's about how quickly we'll ditch integrity in favor of wealth and status.

The script cribs from Ayn Rand, Fredric Jameson, and reality-TV confessionals. Though the wheels of the plot spin in neutral, each scene brings new delectations. Ecstatic tap numbers follow coy original songs, surprises for individual audience members make way for collective party games. The troupe performs with an ease and depth reflective of their 20-year history. And every so often a real idea rears, though heady considerations typically yield to melted cheesefood. Who knew that the cultural logic of late capitalism involved so much dairy?

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