Pinky Swear Productions to Bring Local Playwright’s
Ode to the DC Metro to Dupont Underground
Dupont Underground — the subterranean streetcar station-turned-arts organization beneath Dupont Circle — will return to its transit roots this spring when local feminist theatre company Pinky Swear Productions brings the world première of local playwright Brittany Alyse Willis’s Use All Available Doors to the wildly popular venue. The production is made possible by a generous grant from CulturalDC’s Performing Arts Program. The station hasn’t been used for transit since 1962, but is an appropriate stage on which to celebrate WMATA’s Red Line and the value it brings to Washington, DC.
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 diverse nature of the path of the Red Line, including a parade, a sing-a-long, and unsolicited foot washing (that one’s a true story), as the train operator, Sherry, reflects on her memories of her mother and her beginnings at WMATA. The production will be performed on Dupont Underground’s real tracks and feature seats made from WMATA-donated cushions from a scrapped 4000-series car.
“I really like the idea of presenting a theatre piece in a non-theatre space,” notes Toni Rae Salmi, who will be directing the show and leading community engagement efforts for Pinky Swear. “Because Dupont Underground is literally underground, our audience will already have that ‘in a Metro station’ vibe. It’s a concrete space with no windows, low lighting, and high ceilings — all we’re missing is the Brutalist architecture!”
Pinky Swear is actively reaching out to the community in the hopes that the play will reflect the wide array of people who live and travel along the Red Line — the oldest and busiest line in the system, which includes 27 stops located in Montgomery County, MD, and Wards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 in the District. To that end, the production team is holding pop-up events at various Metro stations, encouraging riders to share their real-life stories via postcards.
Ultimately, Use All Available Doors is a story about DC that can only be told here, and Pinky Swear hopes everything from the development process to the venue reflects that. “Use All Available Doors is magical and even silly at times, but it’s also about loss — the things we leave behind and the things that are taken from us,” says Willis (they/them), who’s also a Pinky Swear Company member. “The train cars Sherry operates in the play were decommissioned in July 2017 and a part of me genuinely misses them. I wish those old cars could find new life — like our seat cushions or Dupont Underground’s rebirth as an art gallery.”
The play opens on Friday, April 13, 2018, at Dupont Underground (19 Dupont Circle NW), with shows Thursday through Sunday running until May 6, 2018. For more information on Use All Available Doors and Pinky Swear Productions, visit http://pinkyswear-productions.com/upcoming-productions/uaad.
Shane Marshall Solo
Playwright/Production Manager — Brittany Alyse Willis
Director/Community Engagement — Toni Rae Salmi
Producer — Karen Lange
Technical Director/Set Design — Michael Salmi
Stage Manager — Katherine Offutt
Dramaturg — Joan Cummins
Costume/Props Design— Liz Gossens
Lighting Design — Katie McCreary
Sound Design — Cresent Haynes
Choreographer — Pauline Lamb
Marketing/Press — John Bavoso