Philadelphia’s aerial storytellers Tangle Movement Arts present The Way Out—an immersive, socially distanced performance for a drive-through audience, as part of the 2020 Fringe Festival. This unique site-specific show unspools across 78 acres of Laurel Hill Cemetery on Thursday, October 1 through Saturday, October 3. The Way Out is an evening of performance made for the pandemic—capturing a world inside a bubble, a meditation on time and history, and pockets of memory illuminated by flame.
Wheels spin, worlds turn, and the past loops into the present. Dancers hold tension from six feet apart, a sculptor captures breath in fire and glass, and aerialists are caught between earth and sky. The Way Out‘s performers navigate a complexly woven dance-theater story in this unusual show designed with all COVID-19 precautions in mind. Audiences flow along Laurel Hill’s gently winding roads to experience the show at a series of separate performance stations located across the historic cemetery, including dancers, live flameworking, physical theater, kinetic sculpture, and aerial artists. One carload or group of bicycles at a time, the audience parks to view each performance before continuing along the path.
“The Way Out speaks to a central dynamic of the pandemic—we’re trapped in our houses, in our responsibilities, in our bodies, in our fear. Yet we’re released from some of our typical roles, from our normal experience of time, from usual social expectations,” says Tangle founder Lauren Rile Smith. “The show’s unusual format of a rolling, immersive performance mirrors this sense of movement inside a maze, with answers in unexpected places.”
The Way Out features some of Philadelphia’s most intriguing dance and theater artists along the route of its immersive performance. Each of these prominent local artists created site-specific performances to answer the question, “What is the way out of our current moment?”
Evalina “Wally” Carbonell and Weiwei Ma are dance artists and prominent choreographic voices locally and along the East Coast.
Madeline Rile Smith is a sculptor specializing in glass, with a special interest in interactive art that invokes a sense of ritual and transformation.
Ama Ma’at Gora is a nationally performing dancer and choreographer whose work pushes controversial dialogue surrounding identity, trauma, and restoration from a black, queer perspective.
Eppchez! is a Quaker, Cuban & Jewish artist whose production company Alma’s Engine is a creative ministry for new work in music and theater.
Christina Eltvedt is a multidisciplinary artist, performer, and choreographer, whose work uses objects and site-specific locations to generate a visual and visceral experience.
The Way Out is fully safe and socially distanced for all audience members, performers, and crew, and complies with the City of Philadelphia’s guidelines for outdoor performance during COVID-19.
Tangle Movement Arts is a circus arts company with a contemporary twist, whose performances mix traditional circus like trapeze and aerial silks with dance, theater, and live music to tell a multi-dimensional story. Tangle’s workplaces an emphasis on queer and female experiences, and is devised collaboratively by its all-female ensemble. Based in Philadelphia, Tangle has been a Philly FringeArts Festival favorite since its inception in 2011.
The Way Out premieres at Laurel Hill Cemetery (3822 Ridge Ave) on Thursday, October 1, Friday, October 2, and Saturday, October 3. All performance times are rolling (7 pm-8:40 pm). Rain date Sunday, October 4. Tickets are available via tangle-arts.com.
photo credit: Michael Ermilio
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