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August 11, 2020

Rude Mechs partner with the Breath Project

The Austin theater collective is one of 17 participating in the national initiative to foster work by multidisciplinary theater artists of color

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The Rude Mechs is one of 17 theater companies across the country to be invited to participate in The Breath Project, a new initiative to select, curate and archive work from multidisciplinary theater artists of color who are responding to our current moment in history.

Created by theater artist Gamal Abdel Chasten, who is founding member of New York ensemble theater company Universes, The Breath Project seeks live performance of original work by artists of color that are 8 minutes and 46 seconds in length.

“After George Floyd was murdered, Marieke (my future Breath Project co-founder), asked if I would consider writing a piece that was 8 minutes and 46 seconds long. My initial reaction was, ‘no!’ While sheltering in and witnessing daily injustice, I had already written my share of work on the topic, so the last thing I wanted to do was that! As an African American artist/activist I am always writing about or around the topic of racism and injustice…hell, I live with it every day,” said Chasten in a press statement.

Yet he did write, perform and record a solo piece called “08:46.”

“I realized that there is value in directly addressing this moment, and there is a vital need for creating a sort of time capsule to document this historical time we are surviving through. This time has also created an opportunity to actively address the systemic racism that has been ever present in American Theater. We can only accomplish this in partnership.”



Submissions to The Breath Project by Aug. 31 will be considered for a virtual festival. And everything will be added to an archive that participating theater companies can present when live performance is possible again. The Rude Mechs is the only company in Texas selected to participate.

“It is moving and gratifying, to be working with theater companies across the country who want to create real change,” said Chasten.

See thebreathproject2020.com for information on submitting.

Notice to viewers:  This performance is intended to be viewed by mature audiences, and contains language that some viewers will find upsetting


Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Jeanne Claire van Ryzinhttps://sightlinesmag.org
An award-winning arts journalist, Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is the founder and editor-in-chief of Sightlines.

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