Just like the subway in New York City, the metro in Washington, D.C. or the EL in Chicago, if you’ve ever ridden a bus to get from place to place in Pittsburgh, chances are you have a story.
Now, the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group
and Pittsburghers for Public Transit
are teaming up with Bricolage Production Company
to collect and deliver those stories with Transit Tales
— a creative project which aims to both entertain and raise awareness about Pittsburgh’s transportation issues.
“There really is a community out there of transit riders. They might not be a close-knit community, but they are a community, and their voices need to be heard because transit is so important to the well-being of our region,” says Chris Sandvig, regional policy director for the PCRG.
Husband-and-wife team Tami Dixon and Jeffrey Carpenter, who run Bricolage, have been collecting stories since the spring. They plan to integrate them into a number of different productions, including their popular Wordplay series, which mixes live storytelling with music mash-ups, and Fifth Wall, which blurs the line between scripted storytelling and current events.
“We always say the bus is the great equalizer,” Dixon says. “You could be sandwiched between a CEO and a homeless person and we’re all travelling together — we can see how we’re all connected."
Carpenter added that Transit Tales won’t be limited to theatrical production. There will be photography exhibits, audiovisual art and collaborations to broadcast transit riders’ stories on local radio.
“In doing a project like this, you have to let the material dictate what the result is,” he says.
“We don’t really think of it this way,” Sandvig added, “but transportation is a human service, and delivery of it is crucial to how we live our lives.”
Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Chris Sandvig, Tami Dixon, Jeffrey Carpenter