The Trolley Car
While working on the Electric Company’s No Exit, I was struck by the backstory of the character of Inez. All three characters in that play talk about how they came to be in this place, which of course, turns out to be Sartre’s version of hell.
All of Inez’s lines about her previous life from No Exit:
There was that affair with Florence. A dead men’s tale. With three corpses to it. He to start with; then she and I. So there’s no one left. I’ve nothing to worry about; it was a clean sweep. Only that room. I see it now and then. Empty, with the doors locked….
We led him a dog’s life. As a matter of fact, he was run over by a trolley car. A silly sort of end… He was my cousin.
I crept inside her skin, she saw the world through my eyes. When she left him, I had her on my hands. We shared a bed-sitting-room at the other end of the town.
And then came the trolley car! I used to remind her every day: “Yes, my pet, we killed him between us.” I’m rather cruel, really.
When I say I’m cruel, I mean I can’t get on without making people suffer. Like a live coal. A live coal in others’ hearts. When I’m alone I flicker out. For six months I flamed away in her heart, till there was nothing but a cinder. One night she got up and turned on the gas while I was asleep. Then she crept back into bed. So now you know.
So I took that text, and starting do research into Paris at the time of German occupation. I found quotations:
“It was only in the course of those nights that I discovered the true meaning of the word party.”
– Simone de Beauvoir
“Never were we as free as under the German occupation.”
– Jean-Paul Sartre
I found some evidence of French complicity with the Germans, which was a surprise to me. I started thinking about what that meant, and how we make choices in extreme time. Choices that seem easy to judge from afar.
Solo Collective, a Vancouver company committed to new writing, commissioned and presented the show in Vancouver last year. As with all my plays it never feels finished, and working with Ruth Madoc-Jones and the TO team, we’re now presenting a new version for SummerWorks.
-Amiel Gladstone, Playwright of The Trolley Car
Solo Collective and SummerWorks present
The Trolley Car
Written by Amiel Gladstone
Directed by Ruth Madoc-Jones
Starring Monica Dottor, Rosa Laborde, Matthew Tapscott
Design by Dana Osborne
Lighting by Kimberly Purtell
Sound by Thomas Ryder Payne
Stage Manager Michelle Barker
Production Manager Charissa Wilcox
Props, Design Assistant Alex Vass
Factory Theatre Studio
Thursday August 4th 8:00pm
Saturday August 6th 5:30pm
Sunday August 7th 10:30pm
Wednesday August 10th 5:30pm
Saturday August 13th 12:30pm
Sunday August 14th 10:00pm