Light Rail Diaries: Meet Charlie

Charlie is an adult artist paired with Colt, youth artist.


“Riding the Light Rail is very different from driving a car.  When I’m driving a car the only time I pay attention to other drivers is when I think they’re doing something stupid; you know, going too fast, not going fast enough, changing lanes without signaling, or talking on their cell phone and being oblivious to everyone else.  On the Light Rail we are all travelling together and have time to see and watch and think about each other.  It’s easier to remember they are humans, and not just metal containers that are in my way.

Our piece is based on a boy. My writing partner and I rode the train several times, watching many, many people.  We both thought he was the most interesting person on the train.  We each made this decision independently, and only found out about each other’s opinion when we talked later.  I am not as up-to-date as my younger writing partner, and I didn’t know how to classify the boy.  To me, an old dude, he looked sort-of-but-not-quite like a punk rocker.  His hair was kind of wild, in an almost Mohawk, and he had a huge winged heart tattoo on his chest, along with some piercings and chains.  My writing partner said instantly, with great authority, that he was a “scene kid.”  “What does that mean?” I asked.  “He wants to be part of a scene.”

For two weeks my writing partner and I have imagined our “scene kid” in all sorts of scenarios.  We have written multiple short plays where he is himself, where he is cleaned up and looking for a job, where he is working and trying to get promoted, and where he has ran away from home.  In the process we have thought about his girlfriend, breaking up with her, arguing with parents, ambition, lack of ambition, and hanging out.  None of the pieces seemed right.  They all revealed too much about him; too many details that we were forced to invent.  Finally we developed a scenario where he pulls a scam of sorts.  Only it’s not quite a scam, because the “victim” sees what’s happening, and actually gets something out of it.  In a weird way it’s sort of magical.  And it could never, ever, ever have happened if they were driving cars.”

LightRail_CharlieColt2  LightRail_CharlieColt1

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