at Dreamland Arts through September 22
Certainly one viable response to the crunch of theater stage space in the Twin Cities is to simply put up a new space, though Dreamland Arts's label perhaps reflects the semi-Quixotic nature of the endeavor (actually, it was named after a dilapidated movie theater in co-founder Zaraawar Mistry's hometown in India, where he saw English-language films as a boy). Mistry lives in a house adjoining the 40-seat venue, along with fellow artist and co-founder Leslye Orr and their daughter Naaja. "It used to be an office building and garage," Mistry explains. "We gutted it into one big room. People are always surprised because the stage is twice as large as the seating area." Mistry goes on to explain that selling 40 seats a night is a nice coup for any small theater, and that keeping things small enabled Dreamland to get a parking variance in the residential area in which it is housed (there's street parking in front of the venue's 677 Hamline Ave. N. address in St. Paul). Dreamland marks its one-year anniversary with Delivery Guy, a one-man physical-comedy show by David Harris. "There are three David Harris's that I know of in the Twin Cities," Mistry explains with a chuckle. "One is a Jewish cantor. Then there's David Harris the magician. The third is this one." Adding to the confusion, the latter two Davids put on the magic-comedy David Harris Show last year. Mistry cuts through the fog to point out that his guy is the one local audiences might have seen performing the daunting feat of juggling sheets of printer paper. "He's like a dancer," Mistry says. "He uses his whole body, even his feet. In this show he does a dance with a hand truck, he wrestles a folding chair, he does yo-yo tricks." Somewhat of a departure from Harris's previous feats, Delivery Guy is built around a narrative: a hapless deliveryman, after screwing up his job, needs a day of perfect performance to keep his gig. Of course fate conspires against him, in the form of cardboard boxes, briefcases, buckets, and, oddly, a script for Death of a Salesman. "It's thrilling what's emerged," Mistry concluded the week before opening night, sounding like a man enjoying a dreamland of his own.