With their focus on producing original work that speaks directly to contemporary issues, the playwrights of Workhaus Collective are accustomed to tackling challenging social concerns. Whether focused on the collective psychological fallout of a national trauma (Dominic Orlando's A Short Play About 9/11) or the privately held fears of suburban alienation (Cory Hinkle's Little Eyes), Workhaus Collective's presentations frequently reflect a culture that is at odds with itself. This complicated profile continues with the debut of playwright Jeannine Coulombe's The Mill, a work that looks to a historic Minnesota clash to reflect upon the resurgent conflict between labor unions and proponents of corporate deregulation. The piece specifically delves into the virulent dissent that erupted in International Falls in 1989 when the region's largest employer, a massive paper manufacturer, attempted to minimize the cost of expansion by prioritizing non-union subcontractors over their unionized counterparts. The resulting turmoil was on an unprecedented scale for the region, fueled by an escalating cycle of civil disobedience, industrial sabotage, and violent reprisals. Rather than reciting a dry history of events, however, Coulombe attempts to capture the fraught anxiety of a community caught in the crossfire of viciously conflicting ideologies. In doing so, the play looks to the poignantly human side of an issue that is all too often viewed through the reductive lens of political dogma. All performances are pay-what-you-can (suggested ticket price is $18). 8 p.m. Fridays through Sundays, plus Thursday, May 3. 2301 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis; 800.838.3006. Through May 5
Fridays-Sundays, 8 p.m.; May 3-5, 8 p.m. Starts: April 20. Continues through May 5, 2012
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