Red Eye brings fresh works to the stage

Candy Simmons in <i>AfterLife.</i>

Candy Simmons in AfterLife.

​If you are looking for a new show to see in June, the Red Eye Theater has a host of them on tap. New Works 4 Weeks features three full-length pieces, plus an evening of samples from five works in development.

It's part of a longstanding program at the small Minneapolis space. Through the years, more than 250 pieces have been incubated through the theater.

[jump] This weekend's schedule will be given over to Works in Progress. For the past six months each creator has had access to the venue, been given technical support, and received feedback on their way to development. Audiences will see a 15-minute sample of each piece. Participating artists are  Jenny Pennaz, Mandy Kutschied, Blake Nellis, Heidi Berg, and John-Mark Hostetler.

The following weeks in June bring the Isolated Acts series, where each evening features a single new work. Starting off is Candy Simmons's AfterLife, running June 9 to 11. In the one-actor piece, Simmons plays several women searching for the all-elusive meaning of their lives. She originally created the work to tour festivals (it played at the Minnesota Fringe Festival in 2009) but took the opportunity to expand the scope of the play for the festival.

​"I met Miriam Must of Red Eye shortly after I moved here from NYC, about a year and a half ago, through a colleague who was involved with last year's festival. I was immediately intrigued by the work they do and was particularly excited about their commitment to the creation of new works and supporting artists who are struggling to find time and space to do that work," Simmons says.

As a festival piece, AfterLife was restricted by the very nature of such events, which feature limited time to set up, perform, and tear down.

"For this incarnation it has been liberating to fulfill my vision of the piece without worrying about being chased out of the theater if I run 60 seconds over or take too long to set up my props. I have been able to return to these stories and let my characters have some room to breathe, as well as add moments back in that I was originally loathe to cut," she says.

Time has also offered perspective. "It has been quite an eye-opening artistic experience to return to this piece three years wiser and understand nuances about these women that I wasn't in a place to process then," Simmons says.

The third week (June 16-19) features Awaken Absurdity by Taja Will, a dance piece that explores what lies between waking and deep sleep. The festival finale (June 23-26) is I Love You by Laura Holway, a multimedia look at a "six-month date" among four strangers.

Tickets and further information can be found at Red Eye's website.