Off-Leash Area: Psst!

A cult figure in the world of graphic novels, the Norwegian cartoonist known by his pen name Jason has crafted a career out of deceptively minimalist drawings of animal characters whose anthropomorphic behavior parallels the peculiarities of human existence. Inspired by Jason's signature aesthetic, the performance troupe Off-Leash Area first introduced "Psst!" in 2005. Placing fluid physicality within a vivid recreation of Jason's atmospheric vision, the work was recognized with an Ivey Award for Outstanding Production. With "Psst!" exemplifying the transformative power of Off-Leash Area, it isn't surprising to see the work remounted for this weekend's run at the Cowles Center. Nodding to the Greek legend of Orpheus, "Psst!" involves two lovers whose passion, though strong enough to defy the monotony of an industrial dystopia, is tested by the intrusion of death. Breathing new life into an ancient theme, Off-Leash Area's journey into the underworld leads with a rhythmic allure resonating directly from the work's empathetic core. This narrative spell is made all the more convincing thanks to the deft choreography of Jennifer Ilse as performed by a cast of 13 dancers against the atmospheric musical score by Marc Doty. With the performers wearing Paul Herwig-created papier-mâché masks, "Psst!" establishes a unique vision that is at once a tribute to Jason's striking originality and an uncannily recognizable reflection of our own dreamscapes. (Photo by Shari Nyman)
June 21-22, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., June 23, 7 p.m., 2013

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The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts

528 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403


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