perhaps getting new perspectives of life from an all-female cast
The Way Out performance series by cutting edge theater artists and aerialists not only presents stunning live performances, but comes with a lot of thought behind it to create a safe environment for audience members driving by in their cars, on their bicycles or tandems, exploring Philadelphia’s historic Laurel Hill Cemetery at night with six different performance stations. The demand for limited tickets is so great that these artists are already planning another show in the spring.
Henrik Eger: As a child and/or as an adolescent, what was your greatest fear in life, and how did you conquer it as an adult through dance or other creative arts?
I take inspiration from our setting at Laurel Hill Cemetery, a beautiful green space and historic burial ground that dates from an era before public parks. Our Victorian ancestors would visit graveyards to spend time with their dead as well as their living friends and family.
Evalina “Wally” Carbonell (she/her/hers): At home as a child, in my odd artist’s spirit, I was boldly unusual.
As an adolescent, I grew self-conscious, worrying that I should somehow tone myself down to be more accepted. However, I grew into an adult when I reclaimed myself, unafraid to see the world differently and eager to connect with other souls I would encounter.
Since then, through dance-making, I’m learning more about myself and find new ways to communicate with the world. The ability to open myself up to my surroundings is essential to being able to embody the connections which our dance piece requires. Yes, I owe much to dance.
Christina Eltvedt (she/her/hers): The scene my dancers and I have developed for The Way Out plays with the concept of unraveling through movement and textiles.
Collectively, we live in a period of drastic change and reordering.
The unraveling of the known and familiar scares many of us and makes us feel uncomfortable. I’m looking for hope through weaving beauty into something new.
Eppchez! (ey/em/eir): The scene I have created uses vocal looping and choreography to evoke the cycles of isolation and release—so common during these prolonged periods of semi-quarantine.
The loops reflect the warped sense of time we’ve all been experiencing.
While our interactions have shifted drastically, we still attempt to continue living—one day after another.
Ama Gora (she/her/we): Assata Shakur, a former Black Panther party member, inspired this work, Project Assata: Conscious States of Rage, which questions timelines of rioting, organizing, and protesting. Observing how rage drove—and drives—these movements, I question how black femmes are taught that “rage is distasteful.”
This scene also observes healing through a generational lens as a way of reclaiming our freedom of expression, our pain, and our healing. I’m trying to create a haunting presence, with reference to dance scholar Thomas DeFrantz [Queer Social Dance, Political Leadership, and Black Popular Culture]. We cannot ignore our dance lineage as ancient dancing spirits accompany us.
Creating shadowy vignettes with a lot of progressional phrase work, I want people to ask, “Are the dancers moving? What’s happening?”
Lauren Rile Smith: For our performance, Tangle’s aerial dancers are suspended on our freestanding aerial rig, discovered at the end of our audience’s path throughout the historic Laurel Hill Cemetery.
Caught within the bubble of the rig, our aerialists climb towards the sky and return to the ground.
Eppchez!: As a visibly queer and trans person, it is impossible to separate the queerness from my work. So often I find my mere presence pushes buttons, upsets the status quo, and I have to do a lot of coddling and educating if I want to share space with cis people. When I’m on stage, I can do the emotional labor dance much more on my terms.
Queer black femme folk have been and continue to pick up the broken pieces when things have crumbled. I have to acknowledge that, address it, and continue to create space for dialogue around it—despite any controversy and push back I may receive.
Christina Eltvedt: I like to present an idea with enough room embedded to reflect and craft a personal outlook. I want audience members to take what they need from my work.
We may not be able to interact intimately in this time, but we can still find ways to build the kinds of community that will get us through the deep winters that are coming. Not alone, holed up in the woods with our one million calories, but together in our neighborhoods—sharing all the resources we may not even realize we already have.
Lauren Rile Smith: In this show, all of our artists seek to answer, “What is the way out of our current moment?” Frequently, this question shows up in small and in large ways in our lives—as reflected in each performance in The Way Out.
Seeing others work through these vital issues gives me new perspective and strength in my own work. Through a half-dozen tiny worlds, The Way Out hopes to show our audience possibilities and transformations.
Sometimes, “this moment” feels like it started in the middle of March, while at other times, it feels like one endless, frustrating afternoon. For some, a marriage or a job needs escaping. For many, it’s a struggle that can be traced back decades, even centuries.
WHEN: Thursday October 1, Friday October 2, and Saturday October 3. All performance times are rolling (7pm-8:30pm). Rain date: Sunday, October 4.
TICKETS: $100 tickets per car, not per audience member. $25 tickets for individuals on bicycles may be announced in September if COVID-19 safety permits.
Because of the COVID precautionary measures, only a few people are allowed in, leading to a very limited number of tickets—all of which are only sold in advance, making for a contact-free box office experience. Call 215-266-6215 for tickets. Upon arrival, audience members who already paid for their tickets will be checked in via the same telephone number.
Throughout the entire performance, audiences will stay in their vehicles. There is no restroom access on site. Please read our COVID-19 Info Page for more information. The performance is family-friendly, although not oriented toward children. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-266-6215 with questions.
See also, They Only Come Out at Night: A Graveyard Cabaret (REV Theatre): 2015 Fringe Review 60 by Henrik Eger, Phindie.