With dizzying playfulness, "Life's Parade," a new play at Red Eye Theater, takes on the dance of reality and fiction as it muses on the role that stories play in our thoughts, our conversations and what we read and watch on movie screens.
Conceived and directed by Red Eye's artistic director, Steve Busa, and written by Katharine Sherman, the show was developed with the actors, so some of their personal stories make it into the text. A few funny dating nightmares have been woven into the structure, which also includes trailers of three Rock Hudson movies ("Written on the Wind," "Magnificent Obsession" and "All That Heaven Allows").
These disparate narratives are framed by the central arc of a character, touchingly played by Miriam Must, hosting a party to celebrate her divorce.
The strong cast — with especially solid performances by Gretchen Grunzke and Katherine Kupiecki — spend the performance telling anecdotes from their lives, stories about themselves, fantastical yarns, plots from movies and fairy tales. Sometimes they lie, or embellish, or get the story wrong.
Busa's direction takes a lighthearted, circuitous cadence, using Sherman's poetic text. Choreography by Dolo McComb, performed by the non-dancer actors, is sparing but adds an alluring layer of weirdness.
Blending truth and fiction, what's real and what should be real, the piece offers reflection on the stories we tell each other, and tell ourselves.
Sheila Regan is a Twin Cities critic and arts journalist.