Comedy in the garage

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Guys in a Garage is a comedy about "people you may already know." And even if you don't know them, Otter Valley Playhouse is the place to learn - and laugh.

Theatre Tillsonburg presents Guys in a Garage, Feb. 9-12 and Feb. 16-19, at the Otter Valley Playhouse on Potters Road, featuring six guys, one woman, and a garage jammed with memorabilia, tools, art, sports paraphernalia, dart board, and chairs (some of which are actual chairs). And of course, what kind of garage would it be without a fridge?

"Young Mike, played by Joey Sanders... it's his first day in the garage and he'll be proposing to his girlfriend after dinner," said Guys in a Garage director Melanie Watts. "So Tommy (Stuart Ion), who owns the garage, has invited him to join the guys.

"I very much enjoy working with men," said Watts, who volunteered to direct the play written by Canadian Rob Bundy. "There's a different dynamic there that I always find fun and interesting. And knowing nothing about the inside of a garage, I also found it very intriguing."

The Theatre Tillsonburg 'guys' have been learning garage lore along with Watts.

"Understanding basically how men work in a garage. I've got a stage manager, Sean Goble, who's been great. He's been able to help with those little nuances like... 'no, men wouldn't do it that way.'

"I think a couple of the 'guys' have garage experience - I think most of the tool's came out of Tommy's (Ion's) basement, but for the most part, I would say 75 per cent of our cast has no garage experience. I would actually say that Pat Linn, who plays Margery, has more garage experience than the men on stage. She's into old cars and her husband hangs out in a garage, so she gets to witness it first hand."

It's the place to be for men.

"Margery refers to it as a clubhouse for over-the-hill boys," said Watts, "rather than a place to fix your cars. There's more to it - the stories you get from the guys - but I can't say a whole lot more than that because 'what happens in the garage is supposed to stay in the garage.'"

The comedic smalltown banter will be enjoyed by both men and women, said Watts.

"Definitely! I think the women will find it very funny, just seeing the way the guys are interacting in a garage. I think the men in the audience, most of them, will be able to relate to a lot of what's going on."

The scenery is simple, with one set, but it's jammed with props. It's based on an actual garage owned by the uncle of the stage manager, said Watts, who noted the playwright will be attending the one of their shows, although she was not sure which night.

"That's kind of cool," Watts smiled.

Contact the box office 519-688-3026 for tickets or get them online through the Theatre Tillsonburg website (www.theatretillsonburg.com). The box office is open Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A 'Meet and Greet' with cast and crew will be held on opening night, Thursday, Feb. 9 after the performance.

Theatre Tillsonburg's first play of the 2016-17 season, Ten Times Two: The Eternal Courtship by David Belke (Nov. 5) was a Western Ontario Drama League adjudicated show. They will find out Sunday, Feb. 19th which five plays move on to the 2017 WODL Festival in Guelph, March 13-18.

Theatre Tillsonburg's spring play, Beau Jest by James Sherman, runs May 25-28 and June 1-4. Auditions are Feb. 23-24 at 7 p.m.

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