Review: NOW NOW OH NOW is a Brilliant Exploration of How Choice and Chance Shape Your World

By: Dec. 07, 2015
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With only 30 audience members per performance, your experience with the Rude Mech's NOW NOW OH NOW begins when you get your tickets. Each audience member must choose from one of six symbols. Your choice will group you into a tribe of five members. You are about to embark on an adventure with people you've never met before. Oh, the places you'll go...

A Game Master comes out to greet you and takes you to a room at the back of the theatre where you will watch a role playing game. If you've ever played Dungeons and Dragons, you'll feel quite at home. The game ends suddenly when one player leaves in a huff, bucking the rules of the game. It is at this point that the tribe you chose comes into play. Each tribe is given a puzzle to solve, with a time limit of fifteen minutes, based on clues about items in the room. Each tribe's item goes with the items of the other tribes to solve one larger puzzle. Upon successfully solving the puzzle, you follow a path that takes you to a large dining table with several items at each place setting. At this point, you experience a lecture on evolutionary biology. That, in a nutshell, is what happens. To tell you any more would spoil the experience for you. And your experience will be slightly different than everyone else's. Let's just say you'll laugh and you'll be moved... trust me on this.

While this may sound strange, it really isn't. All of the pieces of the evening go together beautifully. NOW NOW OH NOW is a highly interactive study of chance, randomness, beauty and loss. The first half of the experience exists to deepen both your empathy and understanding of the loss by the lecturer in the second half. We, as an audience, get to experience the joy of playing in this shared imagined space before it is destroyed forever... just like it was for the lecturer. What we don't know until later is that we have just experienced the moment that this shared imagined space ended... the moment before random loss. This story could easily be told in a more traditional framework; however, the method used here engages the audience in ways that for some can be deeply personal and moving. It demonstrates how choice and chance impact our lives, shaping everything around us.

Co-creator and performer, Thomas Graves, may best express the essence of NOW NOW OH NOW: "When evolution is a process with no arrival, the present becomes very important."

NOW NOW OH NOW is simultaneously both slightly silly and thought provoking which is exactly what one expects from a Rude Mechs production.

The cast is uniformly exceptional and functions as a unit. The performers of the piece are Robert S. Fisher, Thomas Graves, Joey Hood, Hannah Kenah, Lana Lesley and Shawn Sides. Staging has been most effectively created by Shawn Sides.

The tech for this production is excellent, with particular emphasis on Brian H. Scott's lighting, Robert S. Fisher & Peter Stopschinski's sound and the scenic design of Thomas Graves, Madge Darlington, Lisa Laratta and Leilah Stewart. The technical team for this production is quite large and kudos are extended to all of them. There are technical surprises in store for you that are quite wonderful.

The best kind of theatre, in my opinion, is that which makes you think. NOW NOW OH NOW will have you thinking and discussing your experience long after you've left the theatre.

NOW NOW OH NOW Created by Rude Mechs. Concept and Structure by Madge Darlington, Thomas Graves, Hannah Kenah and Shawn Sides. Text by Hannah Kenah.

Running Time: Approximately Seventy minutes, no intermission. The audience experience is roaming so they recommend that you consider leaving big purses and bags at home or with the box office manager.

NOW NOW OH NOW, produced by Rude Mechs at The Off Center (2211 Hidalgo Street, Austin, TX). Dec. 6th - 19th, 2015.

Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm. Thursdays and Sundays at 8 pm.

TICKET BUYERS: Only 30 people admitted to each performance. Because of the nature of the show, it's really important they actually have 30 people at each performance.

$25 General Admission, $15 Students and Seniors. Tickets: https://www.artful.ly/rude-mechs/



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