Light Rail Plays Returning Theater To Transit

Published: Friday, February 20, 2015 - 4:13pm

(Photo by Annika Cline - KJZZ)
Tour guides Ben Hardin and Kate Haas.
(Photo by Annika Cline - KJZZ)
Ben Hardin, Kate Haas, Korbi Adams and Aaron Diaz perform at a light rail station.
(Photo by Annika Cline - KJZZ)
Liliana Gomez and Melissa Oomens perform at a light rail station.
(Photo by Annika Cline - KJZZ)
Crystal Cruz and Ben Collison perform at a light rail station.
(Photo by Annika Cline - KJZZ)
Crystal Cruz and Ben Collison blow bubbles at a light rail station.

Shakespeare once wrote that all the world’s a stage. Bet he didn’t imagine a stage like this.

The light rail — usually just a form of public transit, but this weekend, it will also be a theatre.

"This is actually my first time on the light rail and I’m lost. Can you help me?"

That’s Julia Cannon, a performer with Rising Youth Theatre. Cannon plays an excitable, first-time light rail rider, complete with orange safety vest and disinfecting wipes. Her co-star, 13-year-old Brinley Nassise is not amused.

“Don’t you think you’re going just a tad overboard?”

“Overboard!?”

It’s a quick play, just five minutes, and is one of eight that Rising Youth Theatre is putting on for its second installment of The Light Rail Plays. Here’s co-artistic director, Sarah Sullivan.

"Every single play is built to exist in the world of the light rail. So it’s really constructed around that space," said co-artistic director Sarah Sullivan.

Performing on the light rail confuses the lines between the real and imagined.They have to work with the movement of the train, and the interruptions.

And then there are the passengers, most of whom are what the theatre calls “accidental” audience members. That’s what co-artistic director Xanthia Walker says makes this stage so fun.

"When something unexpected like a play happens in your routine, I feel like in a positive way it forces community because you want to look around you and connect with people and make faces about how crazy it is. I like that our work makes people look up," she said.

It’s hard not to notice there’s a play happening, with two musicians following the troupe around.

The actors leave the station Friday, Saturday and Sunday, starting at Roosevelt, heading west to Camelback, then looping back around. There are also plays those two stops.

You can find more information about the plays at risingyouththeatre.org.



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