Car/Street is exactly the kind of performance one would expect to see in a Fringe Festival, even though by now the show has closed (it was a one-night-only run): On blocked off Jackson Street (in front of The Know Theatre) in Over-the-Rhine, a good-sized crowd stood on a sidewalk and watched cars, pedestrians and bikers pass by, re-creating a “living streetscape.” For 25 minutes or so, this was what happened. But then there was more: Audience members begin to interact with each other; neighborhood children joined in, yelling “Hey!” back at the pedestrian cast members; passersby stopped to see what’s going on.
This was local artist Andy Marko’s point in creating this piece: Human dramas exist everywhere — but are better observed in an urban environment — and people need people.
The “car performance art” began with a couple leisurely walking their dog down the street, and then a car, out of sight, repeatedly blowing its horn. “When they honk at me, I flip them off to tell them not to honk,” said the woman next to me to her neighbor, adding something about the “ghetto.” (I’d like to think she was part of the show.) Meanwhile, nine different cars of various manufacturers and status symbols floored it down the block — or cruised, tailed bikers, held up traffic while blaring the radio (which just happens to air an auto insurance commercial), played chicken and tried to park — while a tired-looking man pushed a grocery cart and wiped his brow, and a woman walked by looking for something up in a tree.
It was interesting to see how the performance artists interacted with each other, but even more so was observing the audience’s reaction to this series of events. People get a little uncomfortable when a car stops in the street for no apparent reason. The same applies when a car entered a street going the wrong way and another one was coming in the opposite direction.
Neighborhood kids hung on the parking lot fence, watching the audience watch them. “Do it again! Yay!” they yelled, before they’re summoned inside for bed. In between “scenes,” attendees, who were almost stretched down the whole block, looked right and left, exchanging looks with one another in anticipation. As strange as it sounds, it was exciting to stand on this street and watch these cars.
– Jessica Canterbury