A Full Length Play
The T Show: Breaking in at
music by Ross Dabrusin (available on request)
By G. L. Horton
copyright © 2000
In August of 1977 the author entered an MBTA job lottery, and
won the opportunity to become one of the first group of Lady Operators
ever hired by Boston's transit system. This is a dramatization
of the reaction of the "T" and the public to this tiny piece of
Affirmative Action. In the 21st century it may be hard to believe
that people were so startled by such a small change back in 1977,
but indeed they were: all the incidents and dialogue in this "T
Show" are drawn from life. The show was produced by the local
People's Theatre in 1979 with greast success, coming back for
an encore run in 1980.
This script was designed to be performed by four men and three
women, and at least one man and one woman should be black. These
are minimal forces with which to portray the behind the scenes
"Man's World" that the "T" historically was from its nineteenth
century beginnings to 1977, plus the wider community that the
"T" serves. More actors may be used, of course, but part of the
fun of the piece is in the virtuosity of the players who add a
hat, a coat, a mustache, or an accent to become yet another memorable
urban "type". The Speech-Labels are meant to be suggestive rather
than prescriptive: e.g., the speeches labeled "INSTRUCTOR" need
not always be assigned to the same actor --- better not. Within
a sequence, there is a single INSTRUCTOR, but the "T" has dozens
of instructors. The INSTRUCTOR should wear a red-badged hat with
gold braid, and a red clip-on tie, carry a symbol of authority
such as a pen and clipboard, and seem to be middle-aged and paternal:
whether two actors or all the males play the INSTRUCTOR is up
to the director. Similarly, the "sympathetic, fatherly " operator
is usually labeled DRIVER 2, and lines which must be said by a
black man are assigned to DRIVER 3: but this does not mean that
the same actor must play # 3 in every sequence.
There is more "material" here than necessary. Speeches and sequences
may be trimmed to fit the production. An audience unfamiliar with
a streetcar and subway system will need more explanation, but
still may not get some of the jokes. If nobody laughs at a joke--
NOTE that the woman who causes all the fuss, the First One,
the Lady Operator, the one with whose experience the audience
is supposed to identify (viz.: me!) does not appear on stage.
This is a rather simple device to convey a simple truth: in such
a situation, the personality of the individual is irrelevant.
Anatomy, not character, is Destiny! Also, by omitting the Lady
Operator's responses, the audience is invited to invent these
responses themselves. What would they do or say in that situation?
What IS there to do? This should keep the audience busy for much
of the first act, in which the actors wear the basic Summer Uniform
of light blue shirt with "T" patch and dark trousers(to which
they add hats coats, sunglasses, etc. to become PASSENGERS) and
the actresses are in civilian garb. By the second act there are
many more women employed and these others have begun to be integrated
into the "T" world. They too wear the Uniform, and have individual
personalities as DRIVERS and STARTERS.
PROPS are important, but scenery should be kept minimal, since
the script should be played very fast and transitions made as
smoothly and rapidly as possible.
THE LECTURE: a ditzy little Slide Show at the back of
the stage is run by the INSTRUCTOR, who reads the commentary from
a clipboard. During it, PASSENGERS rush across the stage, commenting
In March of 1856, the first street railway in Massachusetts began
operation. Cars were drawn by horses over cast-iron rails at an
average speed of over six miles per hour.
If I could just count on that speed now! I mean, how many miles
is it from Brighton to the Pru?
It sure ain't six! Get a horse!
Get a car!
Get a place to park it!
In 1889 the first electric cars were seen in Boston, and in 1898
the first subway tunnel in the Western Hemisphere was built right
Right here, it's still here! Still in operation, with the same
rails, the same squealing and screaming when the trains go around
'em, the same wooden escalators... though I seem to remember in
the old days you could actually ride up on the escalators.....
Have you seen the mural at Park St.! Have you seen it? I mean
really taken a look at it? There are actual spikes imbedded right
in it, and tokens, and the women have those huge 1890's hats with
birds on them!
Art, fart! Waste of the taxpayers' money!
In 1922 motorized buses began regular service, and in 1936 the
most modern development, the trackless trolley, made its debut.
When I was a girl there were trolley lines all over, tracks on
There still are tracks on every street. Along about March, they
I never understood why they tore up those lines. You could ride
across the state.
General Motors greased the politicians, took us all for a ride--
in their cars.
On their busses!
You could head out of town, keep changing lines onto the Interurban
and ride all the way up the East Coast, 50, 60, 80 miles an hour!
All I ask is to get home before my kids do.
Just as long as they don't go and raise the fare!
In 1947, the Boston Elevated Railway...
Was taken over as a public Agency to be known as the Metropolitan
Transit Authority; the fifth largest system in the United States:
the MTA, famous in song and...
"Let me tell you a story bout a man named Charley..."
Shh! Not yet!
As of 1975, the T provides service to the seventy-eight cities
and towns in the Mass. Bay area, using nearly 2,000 vehicles:
55 trackless trolleys ; 1,249 busses; 353 rapid transit cars;
211 PCC streetcars and 150 space age Light Rail Vehicles, or LRV's,
built by Boeing-Vertol...
150?! Then how come there's never one of them when I want to get
Because only 32 of them work!
Approximately 160 million passengers ride the T each year...
They all try to get on at my stop.. Hey, watch it.. Is this?....I
wish I knew where I was going... etc..
The T has over 6,500 employees, 3000 vehicle operators...
And a couple of them are women!
You know, I think you're right. I think I saw one.
In the summer of 1977, the MBTA announced that in accordance with
affirmative action, a job lottery would be held and operator trainees
would be hired on a quota basis---6 white males, 2 minority males,and
And two women!
(shift in focus: INSTRUCTOR comes forward and addresses the
audience as if they were the class of OPERATOR trainees.)
Men, when your numbers were drawn in that lottery, you won yourself
a good job. Uh... Ladies too, of course. In terms of wages and
benefits and job security, there's no better outfit to work for.
But we expect a professional attitude: no booze, no drugs, no
cursing the passengers... and we won't tolerate lateness or absentees!
When that bus or train goes out on schedule, you better be on
it. If you're not, you're off the payroll. You stay off until
that bus comes back and you can take it over - five minutes late
can cost you half a day's pay: and the third time you're late
you'll get a week's suspension. As for your social life gentlemen,
forget it. You're going to be working holidays, nights, and weekends,
and you're not due to get a day off until the year after next.
Your wife'll be pretty upset when she realizes how little her
and the kids are going to be seeing of you. But she'll brighten
up considerable when she looks at the size of your paycheck...
she'll be proud that you wear that uniform. Which reminds me:
get down to Allied and get your uniform as soon as possible. We
don't want the passengers to see you in civvies and think that
you stole the bus! Oh! yeah. Girls.. uh... we're working on a
uniform for you. We know we can't fit you, women are shaped different
from men... but, uh... do the best you can, O.K.?
(The 3 male bus drivers, wearing hats with number badges, enter
the operator's lobby; one mopping his forehead with a handkerchief,
one unwrapping a sandwich, etc.)
I told that kid to get his head and arms inside the bus or get
the hell off! Kid's father was sitting right there - can you beat
that? Says to me,"don't get so excited," I told him he oughta
be ashamed of himself! If the kid got hurt, Dad'd sue us for a
Those people having the convention - Unifications? Whatever, they're
good people. They've found out what the fare is, and they've got
it ready with a smile.
Gotta be from out of town.
Heard more "Thank you's" today than in the last six months put
A man was beating his kid on my bus yesterday! They got on, the
father's reaching for the money and the kid says "I'll get it,
Dad" and his father whacks him across the head. "Get back there
and shut up!" They get in the back and the kid starts to explain
or something and the father keeps whacking him, bouncing him off
the side of the bus. I told that guy to cut it out or he'd be
the one bouncing!
Maggots, you're dealing with maggots.
DRIVER 3 (to Driver 2, noting the Lady Operator)
This is a good deal for a girl. Drive for a couple of years, put
it all in the bank. When she's ready to have kids she'll have
a nice little nest egg.
DRIVER 2( to the Lady - use member of audience)
This is an easy job. Sure you're going to be nervous while you're
breaking in, but once you're out on your own, there's nothing
to it. I had my wife and daughters sign up for the job lottery,
too. My second daughter's made it on to the list. She's a long
way down, though. I don't think they'll ever call her to hire.
Where's your sox? If you're doing a man's job, you've got to wear
a man's sox. Where's your tie? You're out of uniform! Button that
shirt - what're you trying to do, start a riot? Hey, I was just
kidding - let me unbutton it for you!
Did you see the sign? Dimminski's running for State Rep!
Anybody who votes for that guy has got to be as crazy as he is!
Remember the time the Dimm-wit ran for barn captain? He bought
every man in the Arborway free coffee and doughnuts -
Four hundred men!
When the election was counted, he got seventeen votes.
Maybe the people who have to ride with him'll vote for him. Do
themselves a favor. Get him off the street and cut the accident
rate in half!
Not to mention all the other crap he's pulled: One time it's about
eight thirty a.m. and he's got fifty people on a bus taking them
to work. Dimmie gets up to the Stop and Shop and they got a sign
in the window: "Chicken 39 cents a pound." He slams on the brakes
and yells: "Come on folks let's go get that bargain!" Half an
hour later he comes out of the Stop and Shop with a bag full of
chicken in either hand.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: on the bus. The INSTRUCTOR is
standing behind the (unseen) Lady Operator, who is at the wheel
of an instruction bus. Two experienced male DRIVERS, in summer
uniform with hats, are lounging in the rear of the bus. The male
rookie is up front, trying to look competent.
A little to the left dear, you're over eight foot wide. Now you're
going to worry about making your schedule. That's the least of
your worries. Speed comes with experience. And don't be too afraid
of getting lost. I know the routes seem confusing to you now,
particularly if you're not familiar with this part of town. Those
gents in the back are riding along to learn these routes too--they've
come back after two years in Quincy.
A couple of years ago a new man pulled into Ashmont Station and
they had a delay on the line so they told him to go out and do
a Morton Gallivan. He loads some people up and pulls out and that's
the last they see of him.
Three hours later the police call from Providence Rhode Island.
They've found him over to the side of the road.
When we call him in and ask how it happened, he tells us: "I didn't
know how to turn the bus around!"
You don't ever want to get into a spot where you have to back
That's right. I don't teach you backing, cause backing's a two-man
job. You just can't see what's behind a bus. You can't see what's
on your blind side, either. If some lady driver in a Volkswagen
decides to sneak past on your right, next thing you'll hear's
a German accordion! Now we're going to go up the highway here
where it's wide and not much traffic and practice U-turns. Forty
feet: that's a lot of bus. And no power steering. Just manpower!
O.K., pull up. Pull up. Watch it!
(he hits his seat with a chock block-BANG!)
Scare you? Naw: you know where your fenders are-- Don't you? Now,
remember to check your brake air regular. Get into the habit.
Usually you do it at first, the way you were instructed, and then
six months go by and you forget. That's when you can get yourself
into a bad situation. Now remember, how many pounds of air do
we need on the bus for safe operation?
What happens when the pressure drops below 60 lb.?
You've got no brakes. You can't stop. Bus won't stop. You've got
to pull over. You can't steer. The alarm goes off. The bus explodes!
A WORD TO THE WISE: male rookie puts on his operator's
hat and joins the other DRIVERS, who line up to give the Ladies
some Straight Talk, aiming it at the audience. The WOMEN exit
Don't try too hard to collect the fare. Especially where you're
going to be working. Keep your eyes straight ahead and don't notice
what they put in the fare box-- pennies, matches, chewing gum--
sometimes they dare you to say something, but you just bite your
tongue. If you get into trouble the company won't back you up.
They don't want to have to pay workman's comp on you 'cause you
got knifed trying to collect a fare. For every quarter the customer
puts in the box, the taxpayer puts in seventy- five cents anyway.
Some of those dudes over there, it's a lot cheaper for the taxpayers
to haul them around for free than pay to keep 'em in jail. Just
don't get 'em stirred up, OK? You're going to hear a lot of scare
stories from the guys, but take em with a grain of salt. We've
got men who've driven the Blue Hill Avenue for years and never
had a bit of trouble. Nobody knows yet how those people are going
to react to having ladies for drivers, but I got a theory they're
gonna give you girls less hassle than they give the men. What'd
they be trying to prove, they're tougher than ladies? There's
one driver they beat up three times this year--- but you can't
tell me that he wasn't asking for it.
Don't you girls get the idea that you're pioneers, cause you're
There's a woman was on out in Quincy, once, and there was Clarabelle.
Clarabelle the cow! Ya know why we called her that?
After a year she had to quit. The jouncing gave her female troubles,
her health broke down. During the Second World War, the men were
off fighting, we had some women in the second cars on the trains.
Conductorettes, they were called. When the soldiers took their
jobs back, some of those girls stayed on as fare collectors, or
clerks up to the office. We didn't have this affirmative action
thing, but war widows, they had kids to feed...
We got a black woman driving trollies on the Green Line.
She was sitting in the loop outside MaryAnn's bar, and these five
white kids from Southie come out in the alley to take a leak.
They see her and decide to pile on the car and beat her up cause
she's a nigger. It took the stationmaster about fifteen seconds
to get out there with his gun, but the kids took the fender off
Ted's car trying to get away.
You must've seen her picture. She made all the papers!
Like she won the sweepstakes.
Never look at the papers. Nothing but lies.
Just a word of warning: whatever happens to you, don't ever talk
to the papers. They'll twist anything you say to make us look
Specially the Globe.
You mean the Glob. The glob of puke.
They love to stir up the public, feed em horror stories.
I could tell 'em some real horror stories!
Did you hear about the time they got a driver down in Dudley Station,
pulled out a knife and made him eat his transfers?
Yeah, he can't wait to get back. Soon's he gets out of the hospital.
Yeah, but he wants to drive the wire car, or the money truck,
or the snowplow...
Aw, those people're gonna love you-- like that Communist they
doused with gas.
Kelly, now, he's fifty-five years old, ex-prizefighter, ex-marine.
He warned these kids and he warned 'em, but they figure what the
hell, there's six of them and he's an old man. They keep right
on, they push him just too far, and ten minutes later he's thrown
all six of em out the door and they're lying there like laundry
bags in the snow.
I don't doubt that you can learn to drive. Women can drive, on
the average, just about as well as men. But there's a lot more
to this job than driving, and I'm not convinced that a woman can
MEN ( Song of the Male Opposition)
Over this border is a Taboo territory
Forbidden kingdom of the Masculine world,
We all got orders here, our
In ranks of brute machinery
There's no place for a girl.
There's a lot of rough tough dirty work
Work for the wrench and the will
Lady, it's no place for you,
You might get hurt,
If you can't put out the strength and the skill.
Why try to muscle in on Taboo territory
Shaking the foundation of the Masculine world,
We all got places here, our
Station's more than temporary
A thousand years of wisdom says
It's no place for a girl.
Suppose'n that you bust your way in:
You wanna see it crumble?
Stay a little humble,
Stay as sweet as you are.
Someone's gotta be in charge,
And someone needs protection,
Has run it so far.
There's a lot of rough tough dirty work
Work that is brutish and mean
Lady, it's no job for you
You might get hurt,
And we can't afford a dud on the team.
Don't cross the border into Taboo territory
Just keep at your distance from the
Have we got a place for you?
Dressed in silk and finery
Smile and you will fit into
The right place for a girl.
Lady, now you know what is
The right place for a girl.
You see that girl over there, in the tight pants? Woman, I guess:
she's been around too long to be a girl now. That's Bobbi. She
has this thing for bus drivers. She hangs around the yard here,
waiting for a driver who'll take her out back in a bus. When they
first told me about Bobbi, I thought it was a joke. I mean I'd
heard about girls who were that way about the police; but there's
a screwy kind of sense to that, you know? A cop's a hero, man
with a gun - but a bus driver? Old ones, fat ones, she doesn't
care: it's the uniform she's after.
She used to wait for me on my 2:15 trip. I said, hey, I'm a married
Sometimes it makes you wonder. Suppose a driver really liked her,
invited her to a motel - when he got his clothes off, would she
Now,how's Bobbi going to feel about the uniform, now that you
ladies'll be wearing it? Anyway, I tell the men I break in not
to take advantage of her, 'cause she's sick in the head. But the
funny thing is, there's always been one. Before this Bobbi, there
was old Joan, and another one before her, back as long as there's
been a barn.
ON THE ROAD: FIRST BUS SCENE
( the unseen Lady Operator is in the "empty" seat behind the wheel
of the bus: an experienced operator is "breaking her in.')
O.k. now, just relax, there's nothing to worry about. Won't be
many passengers on the outbound, so you can work into it easy.
When we get to the other end, I'll take over and get us back on
schedule. (PASSENGERS file aboard.)
Is it all right to get on now?
How long before you leave?
Nasty night, isn't it?
Just look cool. The passengers just see the uniform. For all they
know you've been on this route for years.
My God: are you our driver? (to WOMAN 1)Do you believe this?!
Oh, my goodness! I didn't notice you. How long have they had ladies
driving? Well, you're the first I've seen, and a welcome sight,
believe me. Good luck to you.
You know, I'm an unemployed ex-Marine with five kids. You're doing
a job on my ego.
I read in the paper that the T pays over nine bucks an hour. That
true? They pay you girls the same as the men? You do this full
time forty hours a week? Nine times forty times fifty-two: Jeeze!
How'd you like to marry me?
You shut the door in my face, asshole!
Shut the fuck up, man, that's a lady you're talking to.
OLD MAN (1)
So, now they're adding you to the deficit, eh? Minorities, women
-let me ask you, you gonna make some of these minorities pay their
fare? (turns to others)
Did you see what's at the wheel of this bus?
I saw her... but I'm not surprised. One of these days they'll
have trained chimpanzees, or little green men in metal coats,
hooked up to computers. Even that won't help. They'll figure out
some way to foul up the computers, and they'll still break down
all the time.
OLD MAN (1)
You live long enough, you can see everything. Women doing men's
jobs, men dressed like women... That's against the law, do you
know that? To go around in men's clothes without a difference?
I'm a lawyer and I can prove it, prove it in a court of law! Suppose
a man steals a car and he's got long hair like a woman: how they
going to broadcast a description? What are they going to be looking
for, a guy or a girl? That's obstruction of justice, and I could
prove that in court! Except, my doctor says I got to take it easy
now. I'm retired. Can't take a chance on my blood pressure.
OLD MAN GROUCH
Put down that paper and get us out ot here! You don't have to
meet no train. You're due to pull out of here at 9:10. This line's
been falling apart; they're putting on idiots. Get going and don't
dawdle around like last week. You are due in Norwood at 9:35.
10:02? Who told you that? You better go back for reinstruction,
lady. Don't show me no schedules! I've been riding this line since
you were in Diapers-- if you are out of them yet which I doubt.
This female got me home twenty minutes late last week. And it
looks like she's going to do it again. Sitting in the yard while
we all wait and freeze. Then when she finally gets over here,
she makes us wait some more while a security guard comes running
the length of the whole station. Probably her boyfriend.
That guard's a regular. Miss this bus and he's stranded.
OLD MAN GROUCH
I don't care how regular he is, she's got no business to wait
for him! Nobody's as regular as I am-- more'n twenty years, and
if I'm not here on time that's my tough luck. I'm warning you
lady, pull any more of these tricks and you're out of a job. Sulloway's
a friend of mine.
OLD MAN GROUCH
Sulloway's the superintendent, you nitwit! Her boss. He may be
retired by now, but he can still get rid of her! Move this thing.
(sound of the bus pulling out, then brakes, door opening)
Don't stop for her, Goddamn it!
WOMAN 1(panting from her run)
OLD MAN GROUCH
Damn women. What a way to run a system! (the bus at last is on
EFFETE MAN (confidentially)
I certainly am glad to see they finally got some girls on the
MBTA. Brightens up the line. Now if they could just put you in
an attractive uniform. No, really, all the women I've seen are
quite nice-looking if they'd just throw out these tacky uniforms
and get something with a bit of class. A skirt, maybe, a little
scarf -like this one? --- the airlines do it.
SONG - TRANSIT BLUES
(ALL are passengers waiting at a Bus Stop)
Standing on the corner in a downpour
Puddle's turning into a flood. (repeat)
The eight o'clock bus passes by with a roar--
My eight o'clock bus passed me up with a roar--
N'Splat!! I'm covered with mud!
So we're going nowhere, slowly....
Though we all got somewhere to go
We're going nowhere, slowly...
We love this system, so!
ON HER OWN: PASSENGERS from the stop file into the bus.
Is this bus going to go?
When's the next Cleary Square?
Can I get to Park St. from here?
What do you mean, no passengers?
Where are you going? That's not what your sign says!
(people are getting on and off. By this time it is a crowded bus
with passengers grouped around the driver)
Are you sure you're a driver?
Where'd you get your license, Honda correspondence school?
Woman driver, no survivor, woman driver, no survivor!
Why is there never a seat on this bus?
What's happened to the air-conditioning?
Aren't you going to turn here? You're supposed to turn!
Look out! (bus horn)
Slow down! (bus horn)
Commuter, if you're traveling at rush hour
Set your clock ahead, get on your knees, and pray (repeat)
It's not that you can't get there
Your bus has surely been there
Cause six're going by the other way!
(So we're) going nowhere, slowly ----etc.
ELDERLY MAN WITH YIDDISH ACCENT
What next, now the women are doing the jobs for the men? The men
won't be able to take it, you know. Before the year two thousand
there's going to be a war, and it won't be an atomic war, it'll
be a sex war.
Never mind listening to him,dear, he doesn't mean it.
And do you know who'll win? The women! They are stronger and braver
That, he means!
Are you going to creep along like this? I'd like to get home some
Will you tell those kids back there to settle down?
Run her down! Anybody that stupid doesn't deserve to live! (Bus
VOX POPULI -- SOLOS(in spotlight)
Ya like this, ya like this kind of work? Any of the guys give
you a hard time? Refuse to work with you, like that? I'm a detective.
Some of the guys on the force won't go out in the cruiser with
the police women. It's kinda embarrassing for the girls, they
hear the names being called out on the assignments, then when
they go out, they find their partner's been changed. But you can't
blame the guys, you know. It's dangerous. It's dangerous to be
partners with a little guy, let alone a girl! You're faced off
with some punk and tell him to drop his gun, you aren't big enough
to get some respect, the punk's gonna waste you.
Hey, he got off! I had that guy figured for your bodyguard. Must
cost the T a fortune in extra cops, a car to follow each of you
gals. They can't let you out here without protection. Supposing
someone was to harass you, like pull on your pigtail here, so's
you drive into that tree, or hit that parked car...(slammed brakes)
Jesus! Can't you take a joke?
LADY FROM EGYPT
So, and what do they think of this, the men? They are always convinced,
they are always out to make us inferior. It is always the same:
but it is not so. I have lived in many places; I am fluent in
six languages, and I understand three more. In Egypt I went to
school, a good school, French, like the Sorbonne... history, philosophy,
mathematics, languages. What do they learn in the schools, now,
here? To hit you over the head for the price of a package of cigarettes!
You must travel, you must see the world. The world was made for
you. Why else are we here? Now I must struggle to cross the street:
you would laugh to see me. But once I thought it nothing to cross
the ocean. Now it is, my ankle, my hip - so much, if they can,
they will keep you from living! Now, while you are young, you
must do what you can, so that when you are like me you will have
memories. Soon enough that will be all that is left. You see this
leg? How it is swollen? In three places it was fractured: but
they would not believe me. They left me for hours, where I could
not move myself. In three places they find when finally they give
to me the X-ray. So. Now I am getting off, you will wait for me,
please. I must go very slowly, the hip too is very bad. No, no.
I rest the cane here,on the step, then I can reach it. Please
do not close the door until I have got it, please. I am very slow.
DRUNK BLACK MAN IN SUIT
What? You just mind your business, lady. I'm not bothering anybody.
Don't tell me! I don't want to hear it! You think 'cause you got
you a job and put on that uniform, you all a sudden somebody.
Got to order the people around. You know what you are? You a servant,
a civil servant! We ain't your slaves. You suppose to serve the
peoples. Give em a job and all them buttons-- all a sudden they
a king. This here's democracy, lady! All men are equal; that's
what it means. I'm just as good as you, maybe better. I used to
be a teacher,you dig that? I taught the arts and sciences. That's
an art, teaching the arts and sciences. You try and explain that
to the bureaucrats. All they want is to keep the peoples down
and raise themselves up. But I'm taking all this down, all of
it. I'm writing a report; I'm putting it into poetry so's the
peoples will rise up and take back their own. Never you mind about
my writings. The white man always tried to keep the Negro away
from literacy, but I am a literate man and I know the power of
the mighty pen. There's preachin' and then there's teachin' and
then there's a rising up. I been down, but I'm going to rise!
Don't need to stay with your foot on my neck. You all got to get
off'n me, you hear! Hear me now?
Hey man, we been hearing you. Why don't you quiet down, hey? Before
you fall down? . (BLACKOUT)
SONG: TRANSIT BLUES
Waiting for my baby at the kiosk
Due here at a quarter to three(repeat)
'T could be I'm jilted, she might've been murdered
Can't be I'm jilted: she'd better be murdered
or maybe she's riding the T !
She'll be going nowhere, slowly...
Though we got a big date to go
We're just going nowhere, slowly...
We love this system so!
ON THE BUS AGAIN
Yeah? I thought you could smoke. OK. I'll put it out. That's some
cold you got. Don't take any cough drops for it. No cough drops
on the MBTA.
Hey, you know his mother used to drive for the T?
Trollies, wasn't it?
Commonwealth Avenue line, during the war. Yeah, she loved it.
Them days, it wasn't like now, you know? The people were real
friendly to her. That's how she met my Dad - he had shore leave,
and he rode her trolley.
Jeeze, I want a smoke.
You ever think of driving trolleys?
Some people're crazy about trolleys.
My Mom would, if they'd a let her. When I was a kid she got me
the model streetcars, ran on tracks like the Lionel trains. But
she was the one who played with em.
I got an uncle like that. He's got a conductor's hat. In the summer
him and these other nuts get an old-fashioned trolley out of the
museum and ride it around for the hell of it.
Can I light it up if I stick it in my ear?
MAE THE WAITRESS
Rose! I haven't seen you on this bus for about a year.
ROSE THE NURSE'S AIDE
My car's in the shop, or I wouldn't be here now. I took a cab
yesterday and Monday, but I don't get paid 'til tomorrow so I
have to ride the bus. I haven''t taken the bus since the night
I got mugged.
Well, there's been some changes made. Did you see who's driving?
You do all right, little girl. I'd be scared to be a woman sitting
behind that wheel. They make you drive out at night like this?
Well, they shouldn't. It's too late for a woman to be out on the
My husband meets me at the corner with the dog.
I wish I could do that. How long does he have to stand there?
Not too long. This bus comes pretty regular. The dog needs to
walk and do his business anyway, you know. It's a real load off
The way I see it, you're just giving the muggers a shot at two
people instead of one.
We got a real big dog.
Hooray, I'm getting off! This's just like being back with my wife.
She used to talk all the time, but she's buried now-- in the marshes
of New Jersey, right where she belongs.
What does your husband think of you being out here ? I had a real
good-paying job as a barmaid, nights, but my husband made me quit.
He said the money wasn't worth it.
WOMAN 3 WITH 3 SHOPPING BAGS
Hello, beautiful! This must be Wednesday, cause here I am and
here you are. Can I set my bundles down right here next to you?
What was that?
Somebody ran into us.
Everybody in there all right? It's my fault - but I couldn't help
it. There were some guys after us up there and the only way to
get away from them was to back down the street.
You can put me down as a witness. There wasn't anything you could
have done, honey.
I'm not gonna sue. Shoulda looked where I was going. Car's all
rusted out anyways: time I had some work done on it.
Let me off at that driveway. Don't give me the stop, lame brain!
I told you to let me off at the driveway. You are the worst fucking
driver I ever seen. Just what we fucking need, more goddamn fucking
LOST WOMAN 1
Aren't we going to Roslindale?
LOST WOMAN 1
But the sign on the side says Roslindale!
The wheels say Akron, Ohio: but we're not going there, either.
Are you lost, Madam? Can I help you find your stop?
LOST WOMAN 1
I don't remember the name of the street, but there's a store on
What kind of an establishment would we be looking for?
LOST WOMAN 1
I know! Huron Drugs!
No I'm not, madam. I always talk like this.
LOST WOMAN 1
Was I supposed to pay when I get on or when I get off?
SONG- TRANSIT BLUES
Stranger, if you're visiting in Boston
Better get yourself a native guide. (repeat)
Cause the streets go round like cow paths,
The signs will not direct you:
"N the T just takes you for a ride!
(You'll be) going nowhere, slowly ---etc.
PUNK GIRL 2
Eighty-five cents?! From Dedham? Are you shitting me? I've been
riding this bus for a year and a half, and I always throw in a
LOST WOMAN 1
What's the fare?
LOST WOMAN 1
$3.18! It was 85 cents last week!
Yeah, well last week they had a special on for people who don't
ask what's the fare.
They ought to cut out that Walcott-over-the-hill run, at least
at night they should. Those kids up there , they're cops' sons,
lawyers' sons, politicians', nobody can touch them. After they've
been hanging around drinking awhile, one of 'em'll stand out on
the corner and when the bus slows down for him the rest of em
run out of the bushes. If the driver's black, they throw rocks
and beer cans: if it's a white girl they line up in front of the
bus with their pants down and wave their peckers at her.
GIRL PUNK 2
There must be something wrong with your head, lady: Cause you
sure got it up your ass. Making a scene over a lousy fare! We're
only going another couple a stops. Don't give me no shit about
smoking joints, neither. We don't bother nobody. You got no business
embarrassing me, or hassling and my friends, either. You better
start going to sleep up there, or you're going to be in a lot
of trouble, bitch.
Look out, there! ( bus horn, noise of punk kids beating on the
side of the bus)
This is a highjack. Stop!
Stop here. We're getting on!
Hey, there's girls.
Let us in! Come on, quit stalling, you're not going anywhere until
you open this door.
GIRL PUNK 2
Open the door, bitch!
We'll break it down!
Don't let them on! Don't open it! (Ad lib threats and banging
Hey, lemme in. I'll pay the fare this time. See, I've got it here!
I'll pass it in through the window, and then you open the door.
Run em down! Run right over them.
Get out of the way, punks.
Can't you see she's not gonna let you on this bus?
You're gonna get it!
You're gonna get smashed! (Ad lib curses. Sounds of broken glass
, horn, bus pulling away.)
Don't slow down now!
Wooo-eee! Watch out!
Riding on the streets of Massachusetts
You know this is the Land of Liberty! (repeat)
Cause there's left turns from the right lane
U Turns from the left lane
Right turns from the- look out!
He's backing down a one-way!
Well, that red light was just advisory!
Now we're going somewhere.. watch out!
Cause we've all got get up and go!
Now we're going somewhere.. watch out!
Don't ya love this system so......
What time's the next Stimson?
Forget it, Joe. This one just drives. They don't expect her to
Hey, this is something. I'm gonna get me one of them liberated
women to support me...
Yeah, hey, I can cook. I can type too... hey... take dictation,
sit on the boss's lap...
(laughs, they walk away)
You aren't the girl that was trapped for four days in Mattapan
during the blizzard, are you?
That must have been something: one girl and fifty guys. I can
tell you, if I'd been my husband, he'd have got me out of there.
If he'd had to hijack a snow plow.
Look at it come down!
I wouldn't drive in this for all the money in the world.
Where are we going? No, I don't really care. I just had to get
out of the house before we're snowed in again.
THE BARN: BLIZZARD OF '78 (The drivers are bundled up
against the cold- mufflers etc. added to uniforms. 1,3,and 4 are
playing poker. 2, the STARTER, is on the phone. It's OK to use
one of the actresses as the Lady Operator in this sequence, but
she has no lines, she's an abstract Female.)
Drawing to an inside straight, Bonehead? (phone rings)
Arborway. ... No buses till tomorrow. ... You'll have to walk
down the hill.
Lady, we got four feet of snow. If you were Jesus Christ on the
corner standing barefoot, I still couldn't get a bus up the hill
DRIVER 1 (to invisible Lady Operator)
You made it in! Give her a cheer boys, Takes more than a blizzard
to stop her!
How'd you come, snowshoes!?
DRIVER 4 (to 3
Son of a bitch,you had that up your sleeve! I oughta know better
than to play cards a with Goddamn badass cardsharp!
Sharp enough to take you, buddy.
Fucking gorilla! Never shoulda let you outa the back of the bus!
DRIVER 1(to the lady operator)
Might as well sit down and get warm. There ain't many of us, but
there's more of us than there are buses. Gotta dig some more out.
Even so, there's more buses than there's clear roads to run em
Good thing you got your ass in here. The brass's got their eyes
on you. Dedication, that's what they expect to see.
Yeah. Keep it up and the company'll make you a starter.
Hell, put her right in the fucking front office. Show the government
how liberal they are. Those guys don't know a bus from a bazoo
anyway: why not let the girls run it?
I notice they had the sense to bust you. How long'd you last as
a starter? Two weeks?
I threw it in. Rather deal with niggers than management. Now,
Shut up and deal.
You know how to play poker?
You mustn't mind Crash, there. He's just ball-busting. I was raised
by an old-fashioned grandmother, myself, and when I first came
on here I was shocked. I didn't realize that kidding 's a guy
way to show affection.
Yeah, Crash really loves me. He's ready to pop the question.
Kiss me, tar baby!
Hey, it's my week!
How'd you like to be a trolley motorman?
Next rating the Reservoir Barn'll need nine more men.
Nine more persons.
Put a bid in, why don't ya? At least you'd get off the avenue?
Watch your tongue. Are you implying that certain locations have
an undesirable clientele?
It'd be easier work, no skidding , no weaving through traffic...
Why don't you take it,Crash? You got seniority.
I hate those tin cans. I tried em. You can't swerve, half the
time you can't stop em...
Nine accidents in three months! That's how he got his name.
Shakey, how about doing me a Charles River?
Can I give you a rain check? I got a great hand here.
Send the little lady.
I'll do it for you, brother. I kind of like it out there, today.
No cars, no hassles, and for once the people are really glad to
see you coming.
Oh yeah? Well I was full clear to the roof, two girls on my lap
and another one draped over my shoulder, kids hanging out the
door: I try to pass up a stop and this fat old guy with a cigar
in his mouth stands in the middle of Centre St. and beats on the
windshield with his umbrella cause I'm not gonna let him on. No
O.K. Honey, it's your turn. Now there's a semi jackknifed in Mattapan
Square, so your regular run is dead for now. You'll be doing a
combination Dedham Line-Charles River; we're detouring around
the hill outside Rozie Square...
If you don't know the route, you tell em in the office and make
em give you a pilot.
It's easy, go like a Charles River until you...
Back of the Square, straight out Belgrade to Harvey Chevrolet...
Sure, you got time to go to the bathroom.
You'd better go wee wee first. You ever driven on ice and snow
before? It's some sensation, going downhill with forty foot of
bus and you're doing it sideways! You want to start that with
an empty bladder.
Why don't you get together with the other girls and complain about
the shit house? How can you stand it? It's a disgrace: trash all
around. You can smell the toilets from ten feet outside the door.
They never listen to us, but if you girls make a fuss maybe they'll
get on the janitor's tail.
You got the route straight? Go like you're doing a Charles River.
It's not all the porter's fault, though. These men are pigs! Look
at the way they just toss their garbage. Some of these guys have
homes worth thousands of dollars; furniture, lawns - all immaculate.
Then they spend twelve hours a day here chasing overtime, like
pigs in a sty.
Want me to check out the john for you? All right, you guys, wash
up and get out of there - the lady has to pee!
Weren't you just in there? If you've got to go that often, you're
gonna need a private stall - or some Pampers.
Don't let 'em get to you, kid. I go after every trip myself. All
that jolting does a job on the kidneys.
Will you hurry up?
(DRIVER 3 comes out of the john.)
(DRIVER 1 and Lady head for it)
All right, all clear! Hey, where're you going?
I thought she might need some help. Do you need some help, sweetheart?
DRIVER 4 (she's gone into the john)
Don't fall in.
Don't get lost.
STARTER (calling through john door)
You can't miss it, right out Belgrade back of the Square...
As long as you keep your sox dry...
Have you done Wren St.? Never mind. Just follow the snowplow up
to Dedham Circle, go around the rotary and head back...
One time I did a Needham Industrial - two hour run, zigzags to
hell and gone.
STARTER(with toilet paper)
Hey, I'll draw you a map!
I had no idea where it went--
Whose sox are there on the radiator?
I had to do my first East Walpole in a snowstorm. That's an easy
run, right? A straight run, Washington St. all the way. But it's
long and the snow is coming down and by the time I get through
Norwood all I've got left is one woman on the bus. I come to that
intersection right outside Norwood, and I ask her which way to
go and she sends me to the right, down 1-A. Pretty soon I've got
a good idea I'm on the wrong road, so I says to her "Are you sure
this is the way the bus goes?" So she says,
WOMAN 3 (as PASSENGER)
Well, maybe we took the wrong turn, but don't worry, there's a
road coming up; hang a left and you can get back on Washington.
So I turn where she tells me and I go a little ways down and she
Stop here- this is where I live! You go down to the end of the
street now, and turn right.
Down to the end of the street it's a dead end! I try to turn the
bus around, but there's not enough room. Never trust a passenger!
I went into a ditch somewhere past Dedham. A kid came out from
the house where I'd used the phone with some hot chocolate and
cookies his Mom sent me. The truck showed up, in about three hours,
brought me back. But I bet it's two weeks before they can haul
out that bus. I never seen such snow!
I picked up one of the guys who operates a front loader. At first
I thought he was dead drunk, the way he staggered. He'd been scooping
snow for 27 hours straight.
BOSTON FINALE: during this sequence the DRIVERS add overcoats,
mufflers, etc. and segue into PASSENGERS
My daughter's a nurse's aide. She did four straight shifts at
Slept on a wet bench. Woke up in the morning and thought I was
blind paralyzed: two foot of snow'd blown in over my head, and
my long johns was froze to the bench.
How cold was it?
Headlights 'd turned to solid ice: had to thaw the beams with
a propane torch to get out of the yard.
I loved it after the blizzard, it was like back in my old home
town. Whole streets getting together to dig out. Nobody seemed
to be in a hurry: - there wasn't any work to go to!
I did worry about getting food, but my neighbor came over and
offered me some of hers, and by the time that was gone the busses
were running. I walked very carefully along the edge of the road.
While we were waiting at the stop one of the college kids started
singing a Christmas carol, just joking...
COLLEGE KID SINGING (tune: Deck the Halls)
"Deck us all with Boston Charlie
Walla Walla Wash and Kalamazoo
WOMAN 2 (simultaneously)
But pretty soon the others joined in
"Nora's trailing on the Trolley.."
OTHERS (con't as Deck the Halls)
fa la la la la la la la la
Don we now our gay apparel ..etc.
Skiers. Did you ever think in the middle of town there'd be skiers?
Skiers and buses, that's all there was in the street.
And when the bus came... Hi there, you look like a hero to me.
You want to help me lift this grocery bag?
Are they getting through now?
Is there some way I can get to Park St.?
In the center of town it was winter wonderland. Trees like Xmas
cards, just big sculpture mounds where the cars were buried. People
laughing and rolling snowballs, pulling their little kids on sleds
down the middle of Boylston St.! Where'd the sleds come from?
Where'd the kids come from? Downtown, frown town, hundreds of
strangers were talking and smiling and celebrating they'd survived.
I walked out to get a paper. It was full of pictures of people
like me walking out to get a paper.
I went down the subway to see if the trains were running.
They were, but just part way. So I went part way, and then I walked
all over town. In the Back Bay it was like a different century.
So peaceful. On Newbury St. the shop windows glittered like jewels.
The blue blue sky, the Statehouse's golden dome...
Amazing what a little clean air and some time off will do!
It was like seeing Boston for the first time. It is a small town!
You can walk across it in less than an hour. With the traffic
all still, the Esplanade's pure Currier and Ives.
You say to yourself, I won't forget this. When the noise and the
rush and the garbage in the gutter is back again, I'll travel
through my city like a tourist. Give the old girl the attention
Take a steetcar, into Boston,
Grab a bus, a cab, or fly!...
Meet me here, in Old Back Bay,
We can spend our sunny day
at a quaint sidewalk cafe.
By that cafe, musicians play,
They play your song for you--
Then down to the river this warm summer night,
Where the gulls and the sailboats glide by-
The willows are whispering, "O what a sight"
While the sunset is painting the sky!
Living in Boston: Oh, you know why!
Take a streetcar to the swan boats,
Take a train to City Hall...
Promenade where the river rolls
We can take an Old World stroll
through the North End, while church bells toll.
On the Freedom Trail, worries pale,
Drown in the sparkling sea---
Come down to the city some cool autumn night,
When the Common has torches for trees--
Park Street's the heart of it, glowing with light,
The Hub of wheeling sights!
Whatever your pleasure, Boston's just right!
BREAKING IN ON TROLLEYS (setup like the beginning of ACT I,
except that there is also a veteran TROLLEY DRIVER regaling the
audience with his experiences)
Now your trolley is a different kind of animal entirely from your
bus. The habits you learned with a private automobile aren't going
to help you here. You have to brake sooner, and you can't swerve
to get out of the way...
TROLLEY DRIVER (CLANGING BELL)
You've got to understand steel on steel. A heavy snow or rain,
that's fine, the rail's clean; but a drizzle rain, or even some
mist, and the oil on the rail forms a coat, giving you what we
call a "black rail condition." The car just takes off, and the
brakes have no effect at all. It's like a sled, or an ice skate
on a pond.
Lost my air at the top of Summit hill, slid all the way to Harvard
Ave. clanging the bell and saying my prayers!
He went right past my stop! Wouldn't let me off! He did it on
purpose, you all do. Some day we're going to get even!
The PCC car was designed in 1933 by the President's Conference
Commission-- the PCC-- to be a standard model that would replace
the several types of car in use by American Street Railways...
OLD WOMAN 2
I trusted the old cars. They're like my husband, slow but sure.
OLD WOMAN 1
You can have your smelly busses. I know they're faster, but I
wait for the streetcar.
P A ANNOUNCEMENT: "Cleveland Circle Beacon car loading on the
OLD WOMAN 2
My grandfather built this subway. When he got off the boat from
Italy,they met him with a pick and shovel, put him right to work
on the track. He could drive a truck, but he couldn't read English
good: one time he drove his truck right down into the tunnel here!
It's a funny thing. Most of your riding public, they hate the
system, they hate the equipment, they hate the operators...
You do it on purpose!
But we've got some people out there who are trolley fans. They'll
drive you crazy, ask a million questions you don't know the answers.
MAN IN ENGINEER'S CAP
Is this one of the cars that came from Cleveland?
OLD WOMAN 1
What happened to the Texas cars, the double enders?
OLD WOMAN 2
When are they going to reopen the Watertown line?
MAN I E's CAP
How many of these cars have shoe brakes?
Believe it or not, some of the operators belong to the Trolley
Museum up in Kennebunkport. They spend their vacations restoring
trolleys, or riding the tourists around on the old Type Five.
A real busman's holiday. Sometimes they ship an antique down here,
put it on the line on Sunday and ride around for a party.
They're all antiques!
OLD WOMAN 1
San Francisco and Boston... the only cities worth living in. You
can't tell me it's a coincidence we both have trolleys.
OLD WOMAN 2
They both bought those newfangled LRV's -
MAN I E's CAP
Three thousand parts in the door assembly!
OLD WOMAN 2
I mean, do they look like they're built to last a century? Plastic!
OLD WOMAN 1
What Boston needs is a gimmick like San Francisco's cable cars.
A horse car line! Run it down Newbury Street, past the swanky
shops, people can just step on with their bundles. Around the
Common and then through Downtown Crossing... like the one at Disneyland!
It'd be famous, a tourist attraction; the horse could wear a straw
OLD WOMAN 2
A red sox cap!
MAN I E's CAP
An engineer's !
Earmuffs, so the poor beast won't hear the abuse.
DISSOLVE: the PASSENGERS change hats and characterizations
Does this train go to Prudential?
How do I get to the Government Square?
What stop's the Market?
How much further do I go for the Combat Zone?
You go Kenmore?
Should I get off here?
Is it always this crowded? We're like sardines in here. I can't
believe that you people actually do this every day.
Don't think of it as crowded, think of it as cozy. Cuddle up.
Which way's the bus station?
Ya gotta go two more stops.
This is Park St., isn't it?
Yeah. Ya gotta go to Arlington.
I just came from Arlington Center. They told me to get off at
Park Square for the bus station.
Yup. Park Square for the Greyhound. Unless you want South Station
So which way is it?
It's at Arlington.
My God! You mean I've got to go all the way back to where I started
from over one hour ago?
Look, this is Park St. Park Square is Arlington. Arlington stop,
is two stops down: 's got nothing to do with Arlington Center.
That's how it is.
Can't you do something ?
Hey, I pay taxes, don't I? I live here. Who asked for your two
cents worth? Why don't you go catch a bus or something. Get unlost.
Excuse me... can you tell me how to get to Boston College?
Forget it. They only want Catholics.
Any dumb thing you rookies can think of to do, you can bet somebody's
done it before you. We had one fella, he wasn't too well-funished
upstairs; the first time he went out on his own on an Arborway,
he got mixed up at the switch, and it was five hours before we
found him. He made it back to the yard, but he was so confused
he couldn't even tell us where he'd been. He'd taken himself out
of service and gone "no stops," looking for a familiar piece of
track. The next day we sent him out with a pilot just to be sure,
and explained it all again - coast all the switches, everything
goes left. Out on his own again next trip, damned if he didn't
end up at Boston College! Yeah, he's still driving. Every now
and then he still does something dumb, but he hasn't been lost
Don't think he'll ever make Inspector, though.
ON THE TRACK --Breaking in on Trolleys, rookies on board.
(Sound: "I've been Working On the Railroad" music, segue to "Dry
Bones" chant )
The Orange Line's Connected to the Blue Line, the Blue Line 's
connected to the Green Line, the Green Line's connected to the
Red Line: "Now hear the word of the Lord."
(sound of moving train)
Now this Riverside line is what you call a scenic route. There's
a lot of wildlife in through here. You'll see some of them laying
on the tracks. At night the headlights seem to blind them, and
they give up their little lives. This area here we call the Newton
Riviera. We tell the new men to go nice and slow through this
section, because some of the young ladies of Newton have been
known to go bathing here and to leave their suits at home. Eyes
right, gentlemen! Coming up next is one of our finer golf courses.
Look at those velvet greens. Look close, now. See that golf ball?
Right there, to the left of the inbound track. I want you to take
note of that spot, because on the way back we're going to pull
up the train and get that golf ball. I've got a good use for it
come the weekend.
Turn your lights on, third knob from the left, cause we'll be
entering the subway. What we've got down here is an operator-controlled
switch system. That means it's open to human error as well as
mechanical error. A switch may not function or it may throw over
the wrong way - but the operator doesn't have to go through it.
If you do go through it, you better come up with a pretty good
A couple of years ago I had a three car Comm. Ave. train and I
was rolling through the subway, thinking about who-knows- what,
girls probably, and I come to the switch outside Kenmore, da-da-çda-da-click-click-zing!
and I'm on the outside Beacon rail. How the hell did that happen?
I had to have thrown the switch, but I sure don't remember doing
it. OK, save face: I announce to the passengers "This train is
disabled. I'm taking it out Beacon to the yard. Everybody change."
I give my trailer men the sign and they keep one eye out for the
starter as all the people pile out. The last one out is a blind
woman, and as she goes by me she gives me a little smile and whispers,
Missed the switch, didn't you dear?
I sign up NO STOPS, run straight out Beacon through the yard over
the switch and up Chestnut Hill to B.C. in time for my next trip.
Nobody knows a thing about it - except that blind woman, and she
still giggles whenever she figures out that I'm her driver.
If you come to a signal and it's holding red, you wait one minute
and then proceed with caution at 6 miles per hour.
Don't do like Dimmie. He came on a single red before the Beacon
junction, and he just sat there. They were piled up behind him
clear back to Auditorium. When the Inspector realized the was
nothing coming out we walked up the tunnel and found Dimmie, he
asked him why he didn't get out and pick up the phone.
I didn't wanna leave my vehicle unattended, yuk yuk!
Go nice and slow along here. See that flat piece up there on the
wire? That's a 'cut out, and you got to be careful how you stop
under one of those, because the powers... No! Don't! Give her
a notch, quick!. Kee-rist! I didn't mean you were supposed to
stop! That's a cut out! All right, don't sit there with your thumb
up your ass: get out and push!
RESERVOIR BARN: BREAKING IN
Starter and Drivers are shooting the shit. (Unseen Lady Operator
comes to the door. Trailerman is asleep on the bench.)
One New Year's Eve Screaming Sam lost his pole and took down near
600 feet of wire. Pretty soon there's maybe twenty of us sitting
there and we can tell it's going to be hours before anything moves,
so I goes up and tells the inspector we're all going up to the
Copley bar for a cup of coffee. Let us know when it's operational.
It must have been two thirty a.m. when they got it strung, and
while I won't say we was all shit-faced, it was the one New Year's
Eve out of the last ten where I got to celebrate!
Hi gorgeous! Right on the button for your maiden voyage. This
is a woman who makes every minute count. If she's due here at
3:57 she's here at 3:57, not one second sooner. The company gets
what they pay her for.
Squiffy lost a bet you wouldn't show.
Take 3022 off the sandbox rail.
Ready as soon as we find our trailerman.
Try the Jungle next door.
DRIVER 3 (shaking TRAILERMAN)
Hey, Sport! Fasten your seat belt, we got to break in a new pilot.
TRAILERMAN 4 (up from unconscious)
Wha? Huh? Oh, yeah! How're the men treating you? Good? We've got
a great bunch of guys in this barn. I've been on here for 33 years,
and these men are like a family to me. Just last week I was pallbearer
for Buddy Doyle, sweetest man you'd ever want to know. What a
tenor voice he had ! He sang at all the weddings: him and Arnie
used to be the barn captain, they had a band. ..33 years ago,he
broke me in. If I could just get back to driving...
Hate to disturb your rest, here....
Catch you asleep in the old days, the boys'd give you a hotfoot!
You can catch up in the second car.....
The trailer man is just out of it back there. They told me to
get off the weight, lower my blood pressure. I did it, but they
still disqualified me. Claimed I had a heart attack!
The pressure, the pressure!
I got three doctors to tell them they're wrong, but they still
won't let me pilot. The young guys say they want to ride in the
back, it's like a vacation--
C'mon old timer, ya got to hit the road.
But it's not. It's nowhere.
Yeah, yeah, be right with you.
For six years I've been nowhere.
TROLLEY RIDE: IN PASSENGER SERVICE
DRIVER 3 stands beside the operator's seat, PASSENGERS file on,
move down in the car, fade off or exit as others enter, and then
change characterizations and re-enter as more PASSENGERS.
(sound effects :air brakes, motion,etc.)
WOMAN (with Yiddish accent)
Finally, a lady motorman! Thirty-three years ago I was a conductorette
on this line. See my pass? You've got my job! I stand in the second
car, and take the money, and I ring the bell - clang! Clang!(Sound:
They're not gonna move back. Just brush past em. Nobody pays any
attention to that bell, not even our guys,who are paid to. One
time I came into Kenmore and I'm banging the bell cause I've got
trouble with the car. It's a good thing somebody wasn't bashing
me, cause the starter just sat in his booth reading the paper.
Finally I get out of the car and go over to him and he looks at
me and says "Have you got a problem?" No, I says, I'm ringing
the effing bell because I'm an ice cream man. What flavor would
Well, well, look what we've got here?! How'd you get this job,
the job lottery? Must've been - you sure couldn't be experienced.
How'dja like it? I bet work is just play to you, riding around...
(MUSIC;"I've Been Working on the Railway" under dialog)
Which train'll get me to Scully Square?
Where do I change for Dudley?
LOST 1(takes seat behind operator)
Is this inbound?
How do I get to the airport?
How many stops to Boston State?
Do you have to pay to get off at the Museum of Fine Arts?
What stations for symphony? That's what I asked you, Symphony.
Don't get smart with me, young lady. I pay you to answer questions.
This makes four Park St.'s gone by - when're we going to get a
Where are we? Aren't we going to Riverside?
Beacon and Kent.
Aren't we going to Riverside? The sign on the back says Riverside.
Are we going backwards?
Where you been, out having a beer? You oughta get here on time,
the money you make. How much do they pay you to drive these things?
Fifty cents an hour.
Fifty cents! You can't shit me. You make more'n ten times that!
Yeah? Fifty cents is what they pay for driving. The rest is for
putting up with jerks like you.
(DRIVER 3 fades out, re-enters as a passenger)
Is that you humming? No, I like it. And you smile - how'd they
hire you? I thought the T gives a test, disqualifies anybody who
That man you told to put the cigar out ? He didn't! That's awful!
Now he puts it out.. after it's all in our lungs. In that last
train there were four people smoking. Four people!! In the old
days nobody would have dared to light up in the streetcar. Can't
you have them arrested? Then why don't YOU arrest them? They ought
to issue you a badge and a pistol so if they don't obey you, you
can shoot them!
You see that cigar? That cigar is out! It's out now! You don't
have to jerk the car, just because I got a cigar. That's dangerous!
I could fall and injure myself, when you jerk around like that.
I could sue. What's your badge number--? I'm going to report you
How do I get to North Station?
Where can I catch a train for the North Shore?
Is this the Amtrak?
Am I on the right side?
You go Kenmore?
Does this train go by Hynes Auditorium?
When's the next train to Forest Hills?
How long before there's train to Watertown? What do you mean--
Who let you drive this train? Well, they shouldn't'a. I'm gonna
Are you making the train go? What do the men do in the cars behind?
Don't you have to steer it? Where's the gas? How old do you have
to be to get this job? When I grow up, I want to drive a locomotive.
Be an engineer.
(sing: Song of the Female Supporters)
My brother got an electric train
That chugged around the Christmas tree,
My sister Susie loved dollies
So that's what they picked out for me.
It was never what I wanted,
Never what I knew I could do,
Don't let it happen, happen to you.
Don't let them stop us, don't let them stop us.
Get in the driver's seat,
Get in control,
Pouring the power on,
Make those big wheels roll.
So sister, run this subway train,
'N' roll down to carry that load,
Driving thirty tons of metal
Let em know that you're Queen of the Road.
That was always what I wanted,
Always was my hope and my plan,
Why'd they try to keep it, keep it for a man.
Now they can't stop us, don't let them stop us.
CHORUS. Get in the driver's seat... etc..
There's jobs all over this big free land
Reserved for the brave and the strong,
Like miner, surgeon, and president,
And that's where the women belong.
If this world is what they wanted,
If this mess is the best they can do,
The finger on the button should belong to me or you.
They may try to stop us, don't let them stop us.
CHORUS. Get in the driver's seat,
Get in control,
When we've got power too,
Watch this country roll.
End of Act One
Go to Act Two