Go Deeper

Volunteer Spotlight: Leyla Eraslan

Posted July 31st, 2009

Leyla Eraslan is heading into her fifth year of volunteering at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe. She brings a “Sure, I’ll do that. Why the hell not?” attitude that rocks my world. This is also her first year as a performer in the Fringe Festival. Check out her show, Love After Death.

When did you start volunteering?
The first time I volunteered was 2005, I think. It was back in the days when you could actually walk through Old City on a First Friday. And Northern Liberties was just shedding the “rthern” and “ertie.”

Why did you start volunteering?
Those who know me are well-acquainted with my love of free things. It has, in the past, had adverse consequences. But volunteer to usher or take tickets in return for a free show? Heck yeah, man! Sign me up!

What has been your favorite show in the Festival?
Oh, man, that’s a tough one. It’s gotta be Amnesia Curiosa. The actors (Geoffrey Sobelle and Trey Lyford) were incredible, and between the atmosphere and the acting and the words, it really sucked you in. Damn show made me cry. It was an artful experience.

Then again, my first volunteer experience was at I-95, and that had nudity, so it just might win.

Why do you keep coming back as a volunteer?
I really like the atmosphere. It’s this “all-hands-on-deck,” 24/7 nonstop creative explosion and everyone’s invited. It’s a cool thing to be a part of.

What has been your most “Fringe” moment?
In either 2005 or 2006 there was this unusual, all-night improvised dance performance. I don’t know what I expected, but it sure as heck didn’t include doll heads at 3:00 am.

What are you most excited about in this year’s festival?
Well, ahem, I’m excited about doing my own show this year, Love After Death, in the Marion Anderson Rec Center Auditorium. It’s interesting (read: awesome, terrifying, ridiculous) to be on the other side of the Fringe.

I’m also looking forward to seeing all the Live Arts and Philly Fringe folks again. They’re a great bunch of people who do a kick-ass job on the best damn festival this side of Edinburgh.

–Karina Kacala