Red Eye Theater looks at 'The Small' things

This Friday, Red Eye Theater presents The Small, a play by Anne Washburn that was originally developed and presented by Clubbed Thumb in New York City for its Summerworks 2010 festival. The production marks the second time Red Eye has produced a piece by Washburn, having presented The Internationalist in 2006 here in Minneapolis and then at the Vineyard Theater in New York.  

Red Eye's Artistic Director Steve Busa, who directed The Internationalist andnow is taking on The Small, says the piece is about how small things can trigger and catalyze huge things. "It's not apoplectic," he says. "It's the small things that become big deals."  
Red Eye Theater looks at 'The Small' things
Liz Josheff

Some of the characters in the play include a man struggling to maintain a grasp on the bigger picture, and a dog that wants to be taken for a walk. There's also a natural food store that isn't natural. In the New York Theater Review Washburn described the play as being about a few lives in a small town in New Mexico. "It's about worlds opening up and closing in and turning inside out and shifting," he says.  

The play is a short piece, only about 70 minutes in length, and experiments with structure, according to Busa. "She uses simultaneity," he says. "Some scenes that happen at different times blend in to one another."  

"It's a very funny, dark comedy," he says. "It's got a great sense of humor in its seriousness." While the Summerworks Festival, where the play was first presented, doesn't allow reviews, the New York Post snuck in a "recommendation," saying the play was mystifying, funny, and smart. "I'm not sure what it's about and yet it casts an odd spell and is well worth seeing," wrote Elisabeth Vincentelli. 

An important aspect of the show, according to Busa, is the music. Sound tracking is a crucial part of the production. Design team Wendy Smith (composer) and Dave Drentlaw (sound designer), both from Northfield, have created the integral soundscape for the show. 

The rest of the designers include Ron Albert (lights and tech), Liz Josheff (set and costumes), Sarah Slight (dramaturg), Jenny Pennaz (choreographer), and Michelle Hernick (stage manager). The cast features Chuck Deeter, John C. Egan, David Roberts, Sigrid Sutter, and Red Eye company member Miriam Must.

The Small will be the first production since the Red Eye did a "makeover" of the theater. Over 100 volunteers helped out revamping the space, which is now spanking clean with brand new seats and a new sign out front.  

The Small runs through May 1 at the Red Eye Theater. See their website for ticket information.  

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