Curtain Critic: Light Rail Plays spice up daily commutes

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The Light Rail Plays are an annual series of public theatre and music performed to an unsuspecting audience on the Phoenix light rail.


Video by Craig Johnson

Beginning on the Roosevelt Street and Central Avenue light rail platform and heading north to Camelback Road, the performers from Rising Youth Theatre crowd onto the light rail and begin to act, to the delight of some and the chagrin of others. Light rail passengers are certain to get involved in the action, either by singing along to songs played on ukulele, drunkenly attempting to join in a skit or loudly protesting the event in its entirety.

Regardless, Rising Youth Theatre’s 2017 Light Rail Plays accomplished their goal. They got people to pay attention.

On a train car usually filled with silence, everyone was talking, laughing, shouting, singing and acting. It was fascinating to see these performances create such an energized public forum between total strangers.

None of this tight-packed commotion prevented the light rail security from checking tickets, but you can only ask for so much. Two dollars is a small price to pay for the fast-paced, unpredictable and truly thought-provoking experience that is the Light Rail Plays.

Rising Youth Theatre performed on the light rail for two weekends this February. This year’s Light Rail Plays wrapped up on Sunday, but with any luck they’ll be back again soon.

Rising Youth Theatre actors perform with large puppets on the Central Avenue and Camelback Road light rail platform on Febraury 26th, 2017 in Phoenix Arizona.
Rising Youth Theatre actors perform with large puppets on the Central Avenue and Camelback Road light rail platform on Febraury 26th, 2017 in Phoenix Arizona.

Contact the author at craig.r.johnson@asu.edu. Contact the columnist at Faith.Anne.Miller@asu.edu.