Imagine theater in geologic time. Or a stage in the sky. In their mellow meditation on the life cycle of a mountain, the Rude Mechs (Austin, TX) upend our usual expectations of time and space. To the softly-spoken incantation of a litany by Kirk Lynn, they construct a magical mountain before our very eyes, using pulleys, cranks, magnets, and string to maneuver cardboard triangles into place. We in the audience are invited to help bring their creation to life (with plastic miniature animals and otherwise) as the cast simulates the weather, seasons, and clouds of a centuries-long lifespan.

But even the natural world is ephemeral (a fact we would do well to recognize, and that’s the gist, after all). So too must pass Thomas Graves’ original landscapes and Peter Stropschinski’s original soundscapes. Just as the Rude Mechs raise the mountain, (spoiler alert) so too do they level it. In bringing a natural wonder to life on stage in real time, they allow those of us lucky enough to participate in their capers a rare chance to bond with, well, a mountain. It’s whimsical yet serious stuff at the core of Not Every Mountain. The old adage rings true–we do know the worth of something, it turns out, once we’ve lost it. And cardboard collapses easily.

But don’t take my word for it. Get your tickets to the Chicago premiere of the Rude Mechs now. The ensemble tours nationally and abroad, using humor as a tool for intellectual investigation along the way. This year, they’re mentoring students at Loyola University through our Incubator program, where they’ve spent time developing and honing Not Every Mountain. It’s the company’s 26th original work since the Rude Mechs banded together in 1995. They’ve even devised a Pantomelter for the occasion–a mechanism for creating wax stalactites. Catch them at the Pivot Arts Festival first, before they head to the Guthrie Theater later this summer.

 For further enticement (if you still need it), I give you, the Rude Mechs themselves:


Go on. Click it.