It's coming soon to a garage near you. Theater in a garage is produced by Off-Leash Area theater company.
In Brooklyn Center, the group will perform in Pat Samples' garage as the audience spills out onto the driveway. The garage changes from a place to park cars, to a stage with room for actors and an audience.
"I think it's a fun idea to bring theater to the neighborhood to my garage so I get a chance to share it with my neighbors and friends," Samples said. "Instead of people having to go downtown to see theater, its actually coming out to them."
The play that's moving in for three performances this weekend is called "The Picnic." It's a combination of dance and theater, depicting the unlikely relationship between a rambunctious dog and a tidy bird who share a park.
Actress Jennifer Ilse says kids get the show even if their parents don't always understand.
"It's so much fun to do this show. I have to say its fun to play a crazy pink dog and afterwards the kids all want to talk to me."
Co-artistic director Paul Herwig says "The Picnic" comes with a message about working out differences in relationships.
"Like any long-term relationship, it isn't all roses and spring rain," Herwig said. "Sometimes it's cold winter as well so there's a really lovely story for people to relate to."
The Off-Leash Area theater group has been playing suburban garages for 11 years. The Land and Legacy Act passed by voters in 2008 has helped support the effort for the past four years.
"It's more intimate, it's more personal, it's more fun, it's more neighborly, it's less stuffy -- except for the heat," Herwig said.
He adds that audiences often forget they've been sitting in a garage for the past 75 minutes.
"You come into a garage and with the bicycle hanging over there and the recycling over there, and the lawnmower over there and when the lights go down and the show begins, people are completely transported to another place," Herwig said.
You can see The Picnic at Pat Samples' garage at 7152 Unity Avenue North in Brooklyn Center. Shows start at 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Later in the month they will be in a garage in Brooklyn Park.
You can find out more about the schedule at www.offleasharea.org.
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