"It was totally gnarly," Dara Silverman, playwright and actor for the Agile Rascal troupe, says, "It was really rough."
Her group of seven cyclists and actors primarily from the Bay Area found, while bike touring their play from Encinitas to Tucson, that riding in the desert isn't easy in June. They started off carrying all of their set and props on their bikes with them, but quickly found they had to "make sacrifices" in order to get to their destination.
"We kept lightening the load and modifying how far we went every day. We were getting up at 2 and 4 in the morning, taking showers roadside with a solar shower and drinking lots of water," Silverman adds.
Now on the outskirts of Tucson, Silverman and her Agile Rascal team have already found parallels between their journey and the radical play that they will be performing at BICAS on Saturday, June 13. The play, titled "Sunlight on the Brink," centers around a gas station in the southwest during a time when a catastrophic drought forced a mass evacuation of the western states. The gas station attendant watches and waits as people move from one side of the country to another. However, Silverman says the donation-funded production has found the troupe at several southwestern gas stations already.
"We wrote the play with the intention of it overlapping with our trip, but I didn't know at the time how much I'd be living off gas station food along the way," Silverman says, jokingly.
"It wasn't meant to be but it's really become an experiment in taking care of each other," she says. "It's been intense."
The harsh surroundings getting to Tucson for the show also mirror the play's major themes, which deal with the preciousness of life and water as well as human's interconnectivity with the environment. Silverman says to keep the play light, as it is a family-friendly comedy, the use of "wacky" characters like sea creatures and the Internet come into play. Overall, though, she says wants the play's message to be up for interpretation.
"I think art asks questions," she says. "Anything where you can just say the meaning, then you can say the meaning and that’s it."
While the play itself only uses bikes as props in some scenes, Silverman and Agile Rascal will be biking across the country for a three month tour with their play "Sunlight on the Brink." You can see the only Tucson performance of the play on Saturday, June 13 at BICAS (44 W. Sixth St.) beginning at 8 p.m. Remember to bring money to donate, too, so Silverman and her crew can stop eating at gas stations.