THEATER | Sign language: Katie Kaufmann and David Harris sell their new theatrical product at the Red Eye

Print

We live in a great town for seeing new plays. We’ve got the Playwrights’ Center, we’ve got the Fringe Festival, we’ve got Balls Cabaret and Patrick’s Cabaret, plus programs at places like the Soap Factory, Red Eye, Bedlam, Open Eye, and countless other institutions that help nurture emerging artists in the frightening but ultimately rewarding task of creating new work. Besides specific programs for developing work, the Twin Cities are home to many, many, creative theater artists and also have space rental that is relatively affordable, so that with a little savings, an individual or small company can put on a play without bankrupting themselves.

Such is the case with Mischka Productions’ current production of Everything Must Go, now playing at the Red Eye Theater. I spoke with Katie Kaufmann, who created the piece with David Harris, after the performance on Saturday and she said that the two of them decided in October that they wanted to create a show together. They didn’t know what they wanted to do, only that they wanted to create a piece together. They knew that they didn’t want the story to be a love story, and finally settled upon the idea that they were two people holding signs in front of a business that was having a huge sale.

Kaufmann said that she and Harris worked mostly through improvisation to develop the show, bringing in director Jessica Finney at the end of the process to provide an outside eye. They brought in Julia Reisinger, who designed an elegantly simple set of two sidewalk corners, lighting designer Jennifer DeGolier, and Ivey-winning sound designer Mike Hallenbeck, whose playful car and street sound effects carry the piece along nicely.

everything must go, presented through january 23 at the red eye theater. for tickets ($15) and information, see mischkaproductions.com.

What you have to realize when you go to see this show is that it’s not really a finished product. It’s too long, first of all, and while there are some ingenious moments, there are other bits that fall on their face. But that stuff all comes with the territory when you’re looking at a new work. Kaufmann and Harris are addressing some timely themes—namely, the poor economy and the difficulty people have finding meaningful employment.

I applaud Kauffman and Harris for taking a courageous leap and making something out of nothing. It’s one of the scariest things in the world to do: to try to create a world where one previously did not exist. The show may be a bit rough around the edges, but I appreciate that Mischka Productions, and many other Twin Cities artists, are getting out there and doing just that.