Use All Available Doors follows a soon-to-be-decommissioned WMATA train car, a grieving operator re-evaluating her life’s path, and a revolving door of passengers as they travel the length of the Red Line from Shady Grove to Glenmont. A vignette occurs between each stop, highlighting the varied nature of the Red Line’s path, including a parade, a sing-a-long, and unsolicited foot washing (that one's a true story).
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Use All Available Doors
30 Apr. 2018
It would be easy for a full-length play composed of vignettes, beginning and ending much the same way, with commuters boarding and exiting a train, to seem repetitive, but Willis stretches the format as far as it can go, embracing every genre. One of the play's strengths is just how assertively hyper-local it is to the D.C. metropolitan area -- there is no attempt to make it a generic "Big City™" -- but any rider of public transit in any city will relate.
Willis skillfully plumbs points of transition, because those are not the places people understand they exist; we believe we are where we were or where we are going. "In transit" is not real. Stasis. The waiting. Hell is other passengers. But there are also moments of magic and grace and absurdity. Any time strangers dance together I am giddy. ”
26 Feb. 2017
Use All Available Doors is a wildly imaginative look at the wonders and surprises and drudgery of the small, routine parts of life we take for granted. The piece is both thoroughly DC and totally universal at the same time. It moves from humor to heartbreak seamlessly and asks lots of fascinating questions, including: Can you be both be on a set track and also have no idea where you're going or how you're going to get there? ”
Every public transportation system lives as a microcosm of its city. As such the ensemble of characters should be as diverse and representative of DC as possible. Productions should not live in an unrealistic land of all thin, able-bodied, cishetero white people. IRT gender: characters delineated as women and men can be played by trans and cis women or men, or non-binary actors, as long as the actor is comfortable. As long as translations evoke the same intent as the scene as written, feel free to translate scenes into other languages (both verbal and nonverbal) to fit both your performers and character choices.
A train operator mourning her mother and prepping the eulogy as she drives her train.
Can be played by:
30s, 40s, 50s
Black, African, Caribbean, or African American
An ensemble of metro riders
6 or more metro riders who play a variety of characters.