A plexiglas sky over an astroturf lawn: Sneak preview of Off-Leash Area’s 2009 Garage show


by Jay Gabler | 8/10/09 • A few trees are just starting to turn colors, and we are supposedly in the dog days of August. What does that mean? It portends several things: my birthday (DQ ice cream cake, please), the State Fair (sorry, we won’t have a booth—you’ll have to take our survey or make a donation for a chance at a Daily Planet tote bag), the coming of school for those still in school (I miss the school supplies, but not anything else), and best of all, Off-Leash Area’s annual Garage show!

front row seat is the blog of jay gabler, the daily planet’s arts editor. to keep up on the local arts scene, follow artsorbit on twitter and subscribe to arts orbit radar.

For the uninitiated: Our Garage is in fact the garage of Off-Leash directors Paul Herwig and Jennifer Ilse, a married couple who live in a Longfellow duplex. Herwig and Ilse have converted the garage into the Twin Cities’ most intimate theatrical venue, with room for only a few dozen audience members. The shows are special; they have become annual highlights of the local theater season despite the extremely cozy seating arrangements. (I guarantee that your eyes and ears will want a Garage show to continue for much longer than your ass will.) Last year’s show was the compelling The Jury, inspired by Ilse’s actual experience on a murder jury; this year’s show hasn’t been officially announced yet, but Herwig slipped me a few clues in an e-mail.

It will be a show with only Jennifer and I, about a relationship that travels over a period of time; about the fleeting impermanence of shared experience, with the notion that someone in the future might encounter a lingering impression of what once was long after the relationship and we the people are gone. Altogether, a sweet, whimsical, and primary-colorful hour about love. And…..I think Jennifer’s character is based on a puppy and mine is based on a parrot, and in the garage we’re building a huge tree and plexiglas sky over an astroturf lawn, but otherwise we don’t know what it’s about quite yet…….!

The Picnic will run from October 16-25, with admission—as with all Garage shows—by reservation and suggested donation ($10-$15) only. In the meantime, Off-Leash Area is having a summer benefit bash on August 30.

Update 9/14: Paul Herwig writes that this year’s mainstage show, an expanded version of The Jury, has now been moved up from April to January 2010, when it will play at the Red Eye Theater; due to the resulting time crunch, the company has postponed its new Garage show until next year.

Support people-powered non-profit journalism! Volunteer, contribute news, or become a member to keep the Daily Planet in orbit.