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I'll have whatever he's having. But, surprise, it's not a drink.

In Lauren Yee's "The Hatmaker's Wife," title milliner Hetchman goes into ecstatic reverie whenever he puts on his fedora. He wriggles and writhes with glee and gets lost in the music unleashed by the magic-making thing on his head.

But Hetchman has shortcomings that make him resemble a Jekyll and Hyde figure. While he's infectiously charming when he gleams with joy, he also is mostly a gross sexist with little care for his wife. In fact, for two decades now, he's forgotten her name, and he calls her only when he needs something fetched or cleaned.

She, in turn, has long-suppressed desires to be seen, to be loved and to hear the music that turns her insufferable husband into a sweet spirit.

Jim Lichtscheidl delivers a vexingly realized Hetchman in Joel Sass' imaginative, minimalist production of "Hatmaker" for Ten Thousand Things Theater. He finds all the right notes for his character, even if it's to evoke an impulse to throttle him.

Lichtscheidl acts opposite Kimberly Richardson as the functionary spouse. Richardson inhabits her character with the vulnerability of a wet bird. You want to throw a blanket around her so that she can get warm and, at last, hear her own restorative song.

The one-act is done in Ten Thousand Things' signature bare-bones style, with lights up on the audience, miniature sets and props, and all the actors' costume and other changes in plain sight.

Yee's surreal 2014 play offers scenes that slyly support feminist critiques of suffocating gender roles in and out marriage. The story mashes up magical realism with fable as a young couple, Gabe (a light and earnest Clay Man Soo) moves with his partner, Voice, into a new place.

Their apartment has history that has been witnessed by the talking Wall (Tyson Forbes, who's solicitous and magnetic). Voice (firecracker Michelle de Joya) is uneasy, and the Wall begins to communicate with her, sharing a strange story that somehow implicates her history. After a spell, a golem, a creature of Jewish folklore, arrives.

On its surface, "Hatmaker" offers a clunky assemblage of disparate, oddly named characters and elements. But Hetchman's wife doesn't have a name for a good plot reason and Voice is named like a feature in some person's head because of things that the character carries unawares.

But if you let it carry you away like a tide, it all comes together as the action unfolds. And for a show that really tackles some huge issues, including the idea of persistent surveillance, it feels intimate and human.

Sass gets uniformly nuanced, fully realized performances from his cast, including Pedro Bayon, who plays Hetchman's best friend Meckel, a man torn as he witnesses his friend's neglect of his wife.

Sass also has a winning design team with music director Katherine Fried sprinkling in twinkling bells for the magic and costumer Sonya Berlovitz imprinting clothes to suggest a wall.

The poets like to say that we're all stardust and sparkle. Others like to say that if these walls could talk. Well, Yee put it all together in "Hatmaker," which Ten Thousand Things had crafted into a production that plays out like bubbles on the eyelids of a dreamer.

'The Hatmaker's Wife'

Who: By Lauren Yee. Directed by Joel Sass.

When & where: 7:30 p.m. Thu.-Fri., 4 p.m. Sat. & Sun., Hennepin Avenue Church, 511 Groveland Av., Mpls.; March 7-17: 7:30 p.m. Thu.-Fri., 4 p.m. Sat. & Sun., Open Book, 1011 Washington Av. S., Mpls.

Tickets: $35 or pay-as-you-are. 612-203-9502 or