The Last Toll-Taker: A Golden Gate Bridge Confessional by Jonathan Curiel

This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent

Character: Debbie, a Black woman in her 70s who is anonymous until the play’s last minutes

Setting: The toll-taker’s living room.

At curtain: She’s recording a video on her laptop that she plans to put on YouTube.

TOLL-TAKER (setting up her camera)
There. That should work. Testing, testing.

(adjusts the volume)
TOLL-TAKER (continued)
OK. Here goes. It’s 1230 pm, and I’m going to tell you a story about love, fate, desire, ambition, and expectations. It’s also a story about global connections and the human condition. And about humanity itself. That’s right. And if you’re thinking that this story is almost Biblical in nature — that it incorporates the most compelling ingredients of an epic struggle — you’re right!

(takes a sip of water)
TOLL-TAKER (continued)
And if you’re thinking that this story takes place in an epic place, like a great World War II battlefield . . . well, you’re also right. But my battlefield was a small booth that’s not much bigger than a priest’s confessional. And that’s what my story is: A confessional. It’s the story of my life in a toll booth. Not just any toll both. Nope. This toll booth was on the Golden Gate Bridge, which is the most famous bridge in the world. Millions of people traipse across the bridge every year, and I’ve seen many of them. Said hello to many of them back in the day — back when the Golden Gate Bridge had people like me collect drivers’ tolls.

(takes a sip of water)
TOLL-TAKER (continued)
Are you with me so far? (Pauses.) Well, great. But here’s some advice: Pay close attention to what I say. I'm going to drop clues to something you can win. Come on. I know today's generation wants everything to be "fun." And there's fun in this video if you know where to look for it. Yes, I know I have a slightly crabby side. But lots of people like crabs – especially here in San Francisco, where it's a delicacy. That's me: I'm a real delicacy!

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