Lasso Of Truth by Workhaus Collective and Walking Shadow Theatre Co., performing at the Playwrights Center

Stephen Yoakam, Meghan Kreidler and Annie Enneking in Lasso Of Truth. Photo by Travis Anderson.

Stephen Yoakam, Meghan Kreidler and Annie Enneking in Lasso Of Truth. Photo by Travis Anderson.

“Have you accepted Wonder Woman into your heart?” the “Girl” (one of our fearless narrators) asks.

The answer had better be Yes, because Lasso Of Truth is all about WW – how she was created, her place in American culture, her prominence as a proto-feminist figure. If Wonder Woman R not you, then I fear you will not enjoy Carson Kreitzer‘s unusual and highly original play.

(Lasso Of Truth – a coproduction of the Workhaus Collective and Walking Shadow Theatre Company, performing at the Playwrights Center, through May 1 – is, it pains me to say, the final production of the Workhaus Collective. This is a real loss. No other theater is as dedicated to local playwrights, offering a much-needed voice to challenging and difficult plays. Like Kreitzer’s. One can only hope that another producing entity will snatch up Workhaus’s gauntlet. There are many many talented writers here – thanks largely to the work of the Playwrights Center – thirsting for exposure.)

Back to Lasso. The “Inventor” (an academic psychologist), unable to sell his evil-looking lie detector machine, turns his attention to the burgeoning world of comics, creating and selling Wonder Woman. The Inventor enters a daring ménage à trois (pardon me if I am misusing this term) with “The Wife” and the “Amazon” (a moniker I frankly don’t understand). The relationship grows.

Lasso back-and-forths this 40s material with scenes from the 90s. “The Guy,” owner of a comic book emporium, invites “The Girl” out to dinner, then back to his flat where he shows the Girl his precious Wonder Woman #1 comic. Worth $20,000. Really.

There are also stops in the 1970s when we see Gloria Steinem (on video) as she puts WW on the cover of Ms. Magazine.

Now. Ahem. Kreitzer uses many 21st century theatrical techniques and devices. Projections. Animations. Videos. Titles (e.g., “Back to the 40s.”). Recorded disembodied voices. Short choppy scenes. Many monologues. The effect of all this was to repeatedly pull me out of the play and prevent me from getting as emotionally involved as I wanted. However, I am an Old Fart. You are perhaps less of a curmudgeon. IOW, your mileage may vary. Feel free to ignore me.

Lasso Of Truth features a sterling performance by Meghan Kreidler, of whom I am enamored. There. I said it. Ms. K plays the Amazon with quiet poise and intelligence. She makes us feel her love for the Wife (especially) and the Inventor and thus provides a unique perspective on the genesis of Wonder Person.

Nifty work also by Annie Enneking (as Steinem – she’s a hoot – and as Wife) and by the always excellent Stephen Yoakam as the Inventor. Yoakam’s monologues on the nature of truth and lies could have been dry and dull; he gives them life and zest. Nobody grins like Yoakam. John Riedlinger is terrific as dry Guy, the perfect foil to the animated and passionate Girl.

Finally, there’s McKenna Kelly-Eiding. Her Girl could have been screechy and off-putting but Kelly-Eiding gives her the just-right level of cheerful energy. Nice.

Lasso Of Truth is firmly directed by the whip-smart Leah Cooper.

What are your chances of seeing another piece like Lasso? Slim. And this is Workhaus’s swan song. So: you must see this play.

John Olive is a writer living in Minneapolis. His book on the magic of bedtime stories, Tell Me A Story In The Dark, has just been published. Please visit his informational website.

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