Kirk is one of five artistic directors of the Rude Mechs theatre collective. With the Rudes, Kirk has written and adapted many plays, including “Lipstick Traces,” “Method Gun,” and “Not Every Mountain,” which is premiering in 2018 at the Guthrie in Minneapolis.
He is a novelist and playwright living in Austin, TX with his wife, the poet Carrie Fountain, and their children, Olive and Judah. In 2015, Kirk’s debut novel, Rules for Werewolves was published by Melville House. And Kirk is currently at work adapting it for the screen.
Every other year Kirk fixes one of Shakespeare’s least-produced plays by rewriting it in contemporary English, updating the curse words and sexual puns, cutting the characters down to ten and gender screwing that cast toward parity, then editing the whole thing down to less than an hour and a half with no fidelity to the original. The Rude Mechs have produced all of them! So far we have gotten to “Fixing King John,” “Fixing Timon of Athens,” and in March of 2018 the Rudes produced “Fixing Troilus and Cressida.” Next up is probably “Fixing Henry VIII. Kirk is also working on a series of plays that require no set, no actors, no theatre, and no anything. (Thanks for the idea, Celine.) “The Replacement Tapes,” is currently “on tour,” which means you get a box with a tape recorder and headphones and after gathering eight friends, you create the play simply by following the tape’s instructions. In Christmas of 2017, the Rudes workshopped “A Karaoke Christmas Carol,” using the same principals to allow audiences to invite three ghosts into their presence.
Kirk’s plays have been produced all over the world in all sorts of forms. In 2014 Playwrights Horizons produced “Your Mother’s Copy of the Kama Sutra” and commissioned, “My Heart is a Library, Yours is a Museum,” which is in development now. The Foundry Theatre has produced several plays by Kirk, including “Major Bang” which toured nationally and internationally, and “How Much is Enough?” a play composed entirely of questions answered by the audience. And this year Kirk premiered a new play at the Seattle Children’s Theatre entitled, “The Lamp is the Moon,” about a girl who hates naps and wants to be an astronaut now. In 2018 a new play will premiere at the University of Texas at Austin about Leonard Bernstein, celebrating his centenary, a commission from UT Austin College of Fine Arts, Department of Theatre and Dance and Texas Performing Arts; it is currently titled, “A Plan and Not Quite Enough Time,” Bernstein’s recipe for making a great work of art.
And Kirk is at work on a new novel, The Vow, about a man who takes a vow of silence on a whim, without first talking to his wife or employer and as the man finds a greater sense of inner peace, his life falls apart around him.
Since 1995, Rude Mechs has created a genre-averse slate of original theatrical productions peppered with big ideas, cheap laughs, and dizzying spectacle. What these works hold in common are the use of play to make performance, the use of theaters as meeting places for audiences and artists, and the use of humor as a tool for intellectual investigation. We tour these performances nationally and abroad; maintain Rude Studios, a suite of rooms that are home to artists of every discipline; house a scenic lending library; and run Off Center Teens, a year-round theatre camp for teens. The quality and innovation of the company’s theatrical productions have firmly established Rude Mechs as one of Austin’s most highly valued cultural assets
As we create new works for adventurous theatre-goers, we seek to demystify the art-making process, and we work hard to foster real communication with and responsiveness to our patrons by holding workshops, talkbacks, and open rehearsals along the way. We remain adamant that we will not make work we ourselves could not afford to go see and continue to offer sliding scale and pay-what-you–can nights to keep our work accessible to all, regardless of economic status. .
In 1999, Rude Mechs assumed the management of The Off Center, a performance warehouse in East Austin. The Off Center housed a flexible 100-seat theatre, the administrative offices of Rude Mechs, studios for visual artists, a rehearsal room, Austin Scenic Coop, and a scene shop, and The Off Shoot, a classroom dedicated to the work of Off Center Teens. In 2012, The University of Texas at Austin increased Rude Mechs’ rent by over 300%, and the company was forced to leave The Off Center at the end of that term, in May 2017. In June 2017, Rude Mechs acquired an 18-month lease on 5K sf of space and created Rude Studios: rehearsal rooms, crafting space, classroom, meeting, dance, admin and storage space for Austin artists.
Rude Mechs is an ensemble-based theatre company that operates with a full company of 33 members. We create original plays that we produce in Austin, TX. We have received over 180 local and national awards and nominations for our work. We’ve enjoyed four Off-Broadway premieres and toured to top national venues such as The Walker Arts Center (Minneapolis, MN), The Wexner Center (Columbus, OH), and Woolly Mammoth (Washington D.C.). We seek to participate in the international community of artists by contributing to festivals such Austria’s SommerSzene, the Galway Arts Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (winner Total Theatre Award for Best New Play by an Ensemble), the Kiasma Festival, the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, and the Under the Radar Festival in NYC. Our touring productions include “Field Guide”, “Not Every Mountain”, “The Cold Record”, “Replacement Tapes”, “Stop Hitting Yourself”, “Now Now Oh Now”, “The Method Gun”, “Get Your War On”, “How Late It Was, How Late”, “Cherrywood”, and “Lipstick Traces.” Our Off-Broadway productions include “Stop Hitting Yourself”, “The Method Gun”, “Get Your War On” and “Lipstick Traces.” Our production “The Method Gun” was selected for the 34th Annual Humana Festival of New American Plays. Our emergence into this community was marked by a feature in The New York Times that identified Rude Mechs as one of three companies in the country “making theatre that matters.” We are deeply proud to represent Texas as a home for cutting-edge theatrical practice.
The Cold Record
Written and Performed by Kirk Lynn
Directed by Alexandra Bassiakou Shaw
A secret performance.
A one man show.
The story of a 12 year old boy
who tries to set the record
for the most days leaving school sick with a fever
and in the process falls in love with the school nurse
and learns to appreciate punk rock.
You’ll leave with a mix tape
made from the audience’s memories
and a promise never to speak about what you witnessed
or else you’ll get kicked out.
Kirk Lynn’s The Cold Record is a play that fits in a tote bag. Inside are wonders made from minimal materials — a tape recorder and headphones. The Cold Record is part of a series of portable projects that the Rude Mechs have been developing since losing their longtime home and venue, The Off Center. Written and performed by Lynn, this tape play can be performed anywhere, it just needs an audience who can keep a secret. Lynn’s insightful wit and inventiveness are on full display in this latest project, leaving you with a mixed tape of experiences and songs to live by.
Traveling Personnel: 1
Running time: 60 minutes
Performance space: Variable
Created by Rude Mechs
Not Every Mountain (premiere 2018)
Text by Kirk Lynn
Costume Design by Aaron Flynn
Lighting Design by Brian H Scott
Sound Design and Original Music by Peter Stopschinski
Set Design by Thomas Graves
This is one of Rude Mechs’ most beguiling performance ideas in a long time.
So – it’s like this. We will gather to build a mountain using pulleys, cranks, magnets and string. We will shift your sense of scale again and again with simple magic – fly over the mountains, relax in the hidden valleys.
Come enjoy this one-of-a-kind experience with original landscapes designed by Thomas Graves, original soundscapes and music by Peter Stopschinski. A meditative litany by Kirk Lynn. Leave your cell phones on, let us borrow a few of them to light the mountains, to play bird songs and thunder as the rain comes through, to record the clouds.
If you want a play about characters: stay away, this is not that play.
If you want a mellow meditation on change, permanence and our place in the natural world, please be our guests.
Not Every Mountain is the first episode in Perverse Results, our long-form experiment in episodic collaboration. Episode 2, Gragariart, a noise and music excavation of the Ikea catalogue by Lana Lesley & Peter Stopschinski, will be presented August 2017.
Traveling Personnel: 12
Running time: 70 minutes – TBD
Performance space: min. 9m x 9m
The Cold Record
Worldwide Touring 2018-20 OPEN