Meet Sarah, Co-Curator of View From the Tracks: The Light Rail Plays.
For six years, public transportation was the only way I traveled. When I lived in Chicago I went places through a mixture of bus, El train and walking (and a fair amount of running after buses). It never crossed my mind to buy a car – parking was always going to be more of a hassle than train schedules, plus most people expected you to take the El to get somewhere. Plus, I got tons of reading done.
But since 2008, I’ve lived in Phoenix. When I moved here, I bought a car for the first time, and that’s what I use to get around. It’s how I get to my job, to social events, to community gatherings. Alongside the occasional bike ride or light rail trip, my transportation has become deeply connected to my Honda.
There are benefits of course. It’s convenient, and my travel is not intrinsically linked to bus stops or train schedules. I can carry a lot more stuff in my car than I could in the multiple messenger bags I dragged around Chicago for years. I listen to a lot more public radio than I used too. I’m glad that I have the luxury of owning a car, and being able to drive myself to the places I need to go. But I still really miss using public transportation. I miss the communal feeling of travel – you don’t get that in a traffic jam – and reading books on my way to work.
Creating plays on the light rail then, is interesting to me not just from an artistic standpoint (and it’s very interesting to me from an artistic standpoint, don’t get me wrong), but also from an activation standpoint. Why don’t I use the light rail more often? Some of it is convenience of course – my workplace isn’t particularly light rail accessible – but a lot of it is habit. Being part of this project has been eye-opening, because it’s given me some insight into how convenient the light rail could be if I shifted my habits and made it a more regular part of the routine. I am constantly surprised by how many of the places I go and things I do are light rail adjacent, and I love that working on these plays has made me more aware of that. I’m hoping that I’m not the only person from our artistic team, or in our audience who has that reaction.