All-aboard Fringe Fest with Tangle’s In Transit’

2 minute read
Take a trip with Lee Thompson, one of the performers in 'In Transit'. (Photo by Michael Ermilio)
Take a trip with Lee Thompson, one of the performers in 'In Transit'. (Photo by Michael Ermilio)

When I was in kindergarten, my dream job was to be a bus driver and I wanted to work with SEPTA. I used to laugh at that idea in retrospect, but lately, I’ve been thinking about how much I’ve been on the go the past year. I found nuance in commuting as a child, especially on the more lulled walks home in the afternoons. There’s something about the getting there, the quiet moments from waiting for the ride to the ride itself, and arriving at our destination, being somewhere at the same time as others—or perhaps showing up alone. With Tangle Movement Arts’s In Transit, the movement of going somewhere is explored through aerial storytelling.

The art of getting there

Tangle's new circus-theater performance explores “the ordinary and extraordinary moments” found on public transportation. With live music, acrobatic movement, and theatrical magic, the show’s nine women climb silks and hang from trapezes as subway rides and bus stops become a platform for aerial dance.

For someone who appreciates the art of people-watching, there’s much to see on Philadelphia’s buses and trains. People from all walks of life come together to ride along lines, often with unrealized common denominators for or at their destinations. What it becomes is a fleeting cultural swathe of the city, and Tangle’s acrobats twist, spin, and ascend through the daily commute. What they’ll emulate is a scattered symphony of love, surprises, routine, unexpected connections, and glances into private lives in public places that could easily be missed if you aren’t looking.

A collective commute

“Wind, rain, or sun, we gather at the bus stop. The transit commute can be a democratizing force. It collects people from different backgrounds, heading to different destinations—but we all move at the same speed when we are on the bus together,” said Tangle founder Lauren Rile Smith. “We wanted to investigate what it means to exist collectively in our trips across public space.”

I’ve long been fascinated with getting there, the journey from home to work, to school, to a friend’s house, or to a place of solace hidden away from all responsibilities. Tangle’s In Transit wraps up all the anecdotes of the ride, and the time and the people that serve as the ride’s parentheses, with an evocative, kinetic performance in this year’s Fringe Festival.

What, When, Where:

Tangle Movement Arts’s In Transit debuts Wednesday, September 4 (preview), and runs September 5-7, at Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 North American Street—which is wheelchair-accessible. For tickets and showtimes, visit Tangle Movement Arts online.

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