The company of Kill Me Don't Go.
Photo courtesy Workhaus Collective
The Workhaus Collective is promising romance, love, and a little bloodshed with its latest work, Trista Baldwin's Kill Me Don't Go, which opens this weekend.
"It's totally a comedy, but we've been calling it a brutal comedy," says director Leah Cooper.
The playwright, an original member of the writer-driven collective, has thought about the piece for a number of years. "It's a script that has been brewing inside of me for a long time. It's a play about marriage -- or long-term relationships -- and what happens when you have been with someone a long time and things start to build up," Baldwin says.
Still, she didn't want to set things in stone it until casting was complete.
"We did auditions in late spring and summer. I didn't want to finalize the play until I knew what actors I would have," Baldwin says. "I wanted it to be more of a collaborative experience than a standard 'send my play out and have it produced.'"
The auditions were non-traditional, with the actors asked to improvise as part of their work, notes Cooper.
"We knew the basic things we needed from the characters. The actors needed the courage to leap in and out of reality, and be brutal and funny at the same time. We knew there would be a lot physically. They needed to communicate with their bodies," Cooper says.
Baldwin had the basic idea and characters in mind for some time. The casting of Patrick Bailey and Cheryl Willis as the older couple in the play provided inspiration. "There's a ying and a yang that they have. That energy affects the script," she says.
The company is completed by Sara Richardson and Neal Skoy.
In rehearsals "it's grounded, but not in a traditional sense. It's a mix of psychological investigation and physical examination. It's not performance art or dance stuff. We want emotions to the greatest extremes to manifest in the body. What does that look like?" Cooper says.
Baldwin continues along these lines. "It's mixing the relationship between dance, theater, and movement, with a love of story and the things about traditional models of theater. We're mixing those worlds more. We're not afraid to bust out of the story, but still have a story," she says.
Baldwin sees the physical as an important side of the piece. "I have such a strong visual memory. I have a memory of how somebody stood looking at me in a moment. That physical communication can be embedded in dialogue. Why limit it to that when you have the tools of the physical? Some things are so mysterious that we just try to band words at them," Baldwin says.
Kill Me Don't Go "has the feel of magical realism to it. We enter a dream place. That's how we experience our deepest emotions anyway. It's right for such an intense relationship," Cooper says.
IF YOU GO:
Kill Me Don't Go
2301 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis
Saturday through November 17
For information and tickets, call 800.838.3006 or visit online