Waiting Theater Presents is an unwritten, four act play performed on a series of bus benches in Oakland, California. The fluid and ever-unfolding work invites the public to shift away from the typical solitary commuter experience by creating their own improvised play with those around them. The minimal, outdoor sets are comprised of standard bus benches, natural lighting, the title of the act, and images of chair backs. People visiting the set become the actors, and those passing by become the audience. For example, the first bench reads ACT ONE: THE FAMILY REUNION, and contains three blue chairs in various styles. A couple visiting the bench may engage in a discussion about grandmothers, while another conversation between strangers could lead to a demonstration of family dance moves.
Bench Projects is a public art platform curated by Ellen Lake that rents advertising space at Oakland AC Transit bus stops to create ‘bench galleries’ in Oakland. The project commissions artists to create new site-responsive work and encourages community members – including public transit riders, pedestrians, cyclists and drivers – to engage more deeply in their surroundings. This project is supported by Southern Exposure's Alternative Exposure Grant Program.