Photo courtesy Comedy Suitcase
After a couple of successful runs with The Harty Boys Save Christmas, the folks at Comedy Suitcase -- Levi Weinhagen and Joshua English Scrimshaw -- change things up a bit this year with a new show from local playwright Tim Uren titled Christmas: Impossible. It centers on Secret Agent Santa, who must stop a plot by sinister puppets (is there any other kind?) to steal all of the world's toys.
City Pages: Why create a new piece for this year's holiday show as opposed to remounting the Harty Boys?
Levi Weinhagen: Wait, we could have just remounted the Harty Boys again?
Joshua English Scrimshaw: We plan to write a new Harty Boys show next year, probably for Halloween, so we decided to give our heroes a short rest. Besides, The Harty Boys Save Christmas poked a lot of fun at the Guthrie for dragging out A Christmas Carol year after year. We realized those jokes might lose some punch if we turned around and did the same thing. Of course, if the Halloween Harty Boys show is a success, we'll do it year after year until we're old and grey. Or in my case, older and greyer.
CP: Tim, what inspired the idea, and what kind of research did you do for it?
Tim Uren: The very beginning of the script was the idea of Secret Santas and people being sneaky around Christmas by hiding presents and covertly trying to find out what would be a good gift. I also liked the idea of Santa being like a spy organization, keeping tabs on people. From there, my process just involved singing spy themes at the top of my lungs while I typed.
CP: What have been the biggest challenges in bringing the script to the stage?
JES: Andy Kraft is doing puppets for the show, and keeping a straight face during his performance is proving a real strain. Let's just say, Andy's puppets like to ad-lib.
LW: Plus, we brought Tina North on board thinking that, as a woman, she would take notes for everyone and bring baked goods to every rehearsal. Instead, she spends a lot of time shouting, "Where's the wine?"
CP: What do you hope audiences get out of the experience?
JES: I hope some of the genre riffs are exciting enough to please audiences who liked the Harty Boys shows while Tim's gentler, slightly more sly approach to holiday satire is different enough to provide a stylistic change of pace.
LW: I want the show to make people laugh without them learning anything about themselves, like all good art does.
7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 6 p.m. Sundays
November 23 through December 9
For information and tickets, call 612.825.8949 or visit online