Third Rail Projects’ ‘Roadside Attraction’ at the Green Building

Road tripping: Performance stars 1970s pop-up camper

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Summertime, and the livin’ is uneasy.

“Roadside Attraction,” a new show by dance and performance company Third Rail Projects, takes place in and around that sacred space of family vacations — the camper. But the camper in “Roadside Attraction” is no modern recreational vehicle. It is an old-school Coleman pop-up camper straight out of the 1970s.

“It has lawn chairs and a family that has been trapped together for way too long,” said Elizabeth Carena, who is the managing director of Third Rail Projects and also one of the actors in the production.

The show incorporates contemporary dance and quintessential ’70s songs to tell the story of a family at odds after several days into a camping trip. Carena plays an avatar that consumes the mother character as she dreams about the life that could have been.

The idea came directly from real childhood vacation experiences, said one of the show’s writers.

“My 7-year-old perspective of my mom, who seemed larger than life and maybe a bit out of place in our small Ohio town, was the spark behind Mom’s character and image in the work,” said co-writer Jennine Willett. “But we took her character even further to represent the universal mother, looking for things any woman might long for in her situation.”

The organizers hope that the production will ring true for audience members as well.

“There is something compelling about a family that does the same thing every summer and are growing up and growing apart in many ways,” said Carena. “They still find themselves back in the same place though they are different people.”

Carena hopes the audience will also be excited by the 1970s nostalgia that permeates the show. Songs in the production include “Blue Bayou” by Linda Ronstadt, “Right Back Where We Started From” by Maxine Nightingale, and “Songbird” by Fleetwood Mac.

The July 25 show will take place on the lawn outside of the Green Building in Gowanus. The $35 ticket gets audience members a seat at the show, dinner from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, ice cream from Luca & Bosco, plus a 1970s dance party afterwards.

“Roadside Attraction” at the Green Building, [452 Union St. at Bond Street in Gowanus,]. July 25 at 6:30 pm. $35.

Updated 4:16 pm, August 18, 2014: Article erroneously stated the show contains dialogue. It does not.
Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
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