For two weekends in August, Chandler Center of the Arts is collaborating with comediennes Leanne Schmidt and Marlene Strang for a distinct performance experience that has emerged in response to our current times. Attendees at Ladies in the Headlights will drive up to a parking lot location revealed 24 hours in advance to watch a live show. High-beams from cars serve as the lighting and sound is provided by a dedicated radio station.
When they aren’t providing zany entertainment, both performers have full-time jobs in dance education and the rest of their in-between time is juggling all of the responsibilities of having families with children under the age of eight.
We did an interview with The Ladies to give you a peek into their pop-up performances, the inspiration for their work and where they are heading, other than into the bright beam of headlights.
What can people expect when they see Ladies in the Headlights?
The show is physical comedy—a combination of theater, improvisation, movement, and fun.
What is the concept behind Ladies in the Headlights?
As people panicked to buy groceries and things like toilet paper, we saw a lot of people lined up outside of businesses to get first dibs. There are also people getting together outside, six feet apart, in order to have a little socialization time. In Ladies in the Headlights, The Ladies are out waiting for businesses to open, while socializing six feet apart. Our audience members have just shown up a little later than we have.
How did the idea for the Ladies in the Headlights show come about?
We were getting so sick of screens, for our children, for ourselves, and we had to find a way to create and experience without the use of screens.
Where do you find inspiration for your performance?
Our lives as mothers and wives primarily inspire our work. We love drawing on life’s most routine moments and showing how ridiculous and awkward a lady’s life can be.
Is the show just for moms? Is it kid-friendly?
The show is for anyone who likes to laugh!
What music can get someone in the mood for The Ladies?
Take a listen to the Spotify list of pre-gaming easy-listening jams from The Ladies
Who is your favorite music artist?
What is the perfect food and drink pairing for Ladies in the Headlights?
Ladyade and Meatloaf
What is inspiring your creativity right now?
Our chaotic lives, facilitating online learning, living in a construction zone, dealing with the witching hour, having no place to take the children, throwing our children's uneaten dinner down the drain, the way our husbands fold the laundry (obviously WRONG). We poke fun at life's most routine moments.
We always draw upon our own crazy lives as we are juggling to be parents, wives, homemakers, artists, teachers, etc. From meals being made and not eaten to our wish to receive advice about how to get rid of muffin tops, the inspiration behind our works is from the mundane and relatable parts of life. There is something that everyone can relate to in our show content.
What do you like most about being a performer?
We love giving the opportunity to participate in a fun and social experience. We always create opportunities for the audience to influence what happens in our shows through participating or not. No show is ever the same which is so exciting. We love to laugh and we get so much joy in making what we do accessible to everyone.
What are your goals for the future – in life and with the show?
We are really excited to continue to bring our live events to local businesses around Phoenix and we are actively looking to partner with more. We are inspired by the spaces that we are presenting in and create our shows based on the location. We ask ourselves, "What would The Ladies be doing in this space?" We've recently started a 501(c)3 and so our long terms goals included providing improvisation workshops to businesses and groups of people who are looking to build strong relationships and have a little fun. We'd love to take our works to other cities, too!
Steve Wilcox is a third collaborator with The Ladies. He appears in all of their shows, as well as their short films on Youtube. He also takes care of their technical needs, website, branding and critical feedback on their work.
Check out the Youtube channel for The Ladies to get to know them better.
THE LADIES ON YOUTUBE
More About The Ladies
Meeting at ASU in 2003, both women are professionally trained dancers who have been featured at Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn, NYC, the Beta Dance Festival in Phoenix, Center for Visual Arts in Denver, the Regional Alternative Dance Festival in Kalamazoo and they were showcased at the 50th Anniversary of Dance at ASU. Previous productions include "Ladies Gone Mild" and "Let Your Lady Out" in venues around the Valley.