Starting in bustling Rittenhouse Square, MIRRORING SKY guides participants along familiar city streets, ending at the Schuylkill River Park. The early evening start, encouraged by the overcast day, made the sky a very important aspect of my experience. The rain held off, and below a dramatic skyscape tracks of text and music mixed with the sounds of streets I so often tune out. Artistic director William Steinberger and composer/sound designer Marc LeMay thought of the project, which they cite as “inspired by the poetry of Wallace Stevens and Leah Goldberg.”
There are several destinations along the way, with transition music looping in between, making one aware when each destination has played through it’s track. This is helpful in the self-guided aspect of the tour, though my immediate reaction to the music coming from my phone was to feel like I was on hold. The phone aspect was something I didn’t realize would be such a part of the experience: Because I was looking at my phone, I found it much harder to tune out the usual things I get a break from during art experiences, namely text messages and social media. That said, I felt a different liberty, and caught myself dancing or walking differently than I would have had it not been a special occasion. I was happy to have the opportunity to think differently of a walk around town, and see myself listening to this app sometime in the future, maybe a winter day months from now. If anything, the experience might have just made me a little more likely to do a few old ballet moves in the street. Look out Philly, and plug in for your very own walk in the park. [Rittenhouse Square] Guided Tours September 7-13, 2014; fringearts.com/mirroring-sky-a-soundscape; or visit inversiontheatre.com/mirroring-sky-download to download phone app.