If you decide to attend “While You Were Out” at Red Eye Theater, you might want to bring a date. That’s because the play, conceived and directed by Andrew Dolan and Haley Finn and written by Finn, is actually two plays in one. Both take place onstage at once, but which version you pick determines where you sit, and which play you hear.
You’ll be given a radio and headphones for the show, which provides the soundtrack, designed by sound design wizard Peter Morrow. You’ll hear both the dialogue and the “inner monologues” of the characters, providing a cinematic quality to the experience.
As the play progresses, the two stories meet, so you don’t feel too shortchanged by missing the other story. The play also liberates itself from its naturalistic beginning, by getting more surreal in the second half. The characters dive further into their memories as they search for meaning amid loss.
It’s a clever idea that’s well executed, and doesn’t feel too gimmicky. What helps the play succeed are fine performances by the actors, including Maeve Moynihan and Maggie Bearmon Pistner as the main character, Bea, at different ages, and rich character work by the ensemble, especially Miriam Must, Ricardo Beaird and Robert Rosen.
Sheila Regan is a Twin Cities critic and arts journalist.
While You Were Out
When: 8 p.m. Fri. & Sat., 7 p.m. Mon. Ends April 30.
Where: Red Eye Theater, 15 W. 14th St., Mpls.
TIckets: $10-$20, pay-what-you-can April 24, 612-870-0309, redeye theater.org.