Caryl Churchill isn't known for doing anything easy, and Frank Theatre's Wendy Knox loves a challenge.
That's why the theater has turned to the British playwright's work several times over the past 25 years, and why they have taken on Churchill's recent Love and Information.
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The play is made up of about 60 scenes. No, scratch that. It is made up of about 60 individual, very short plays. Each one has two characters. Often, the moments are joined in the middle and end before resolution. The script has no character names, descriptions, or even settings.
"They all look like little poems laid out on the page. We get the fun job of figuring it out," Knox says. "We spend the first week playing different matrices. What happens if you have a male and female? A young person and an older person? A white person and a black person?"
In all, 14 actors will take on the various couples in the play. "Last night, we started to work out costumes. We're starting to layer on more things, like the costume changes and the set changes," Knox says.
"I love it when Frank has large-cast shows. We get a great mix with cross fertilization with people who have been in a number of Frank shows, those who have been in a couple of shows, and a whole bunch of new faces to Frank," Knox says.
The play is, "so open it is like this blank canvas. There is the dialogue, but you can do what you want with it. It requires the audience's participation to put on the meaning. It's not like the meaning is proscribed to you. It's how you decide to put this jigsaw puzzle together," Knox says.
Frank's first big success came with Churchill's Top Girls in 1990. Since then, the theater has tackled the playwright's Mad Forest and Vinegar Tom.
"I love her because she is fearless. She completely reinvents her style with each piece. She tackles a new style or event. She also has her finger on the pulse of contemporary politics and contemporary culture and how it affects the world we live in," Knox says.
Those cultural and political cues mix with strong storytelling skills. "She writes amazing dialogue and great characters," Knox says. "She and Brecht are the two playwrights that we have produced the most. She is clearly influenced by them, and it is great to have a female voice. She is just awesome."
IF YOU GO:
Love and Information Friday through February 22 Ritz Theater 345 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis $22-$25 For tickets and more information, call 612-724-3760 or visit online.