Gabriola Players to present The Motor Trade by Norm Foster

J. Marshall Mangan

Gabriola Players

Tuesday, May 16 2017

It’s winter in Ontario, the time of year when nights are the longest and the snow piles up in drifts. Dan and Phil are long-time business partners in “the motor trade” – buying and selling used cars. A blizzard is raging outside on this January Saturday, and the two old friends (played by Dave Innell and Peter ter Weeme) don’t have much to do at the office but talk. Things start out pretty light-hearted, but as the morning wears on – and they are visited by a CRA auditor who has been hot on Phil’s trail for some time (Donna Deacon) and Phil’s recently estranged wife (Heather O’Sullivan) – things become, by turns, hilarious, tense, shocking and touching.

The Motor Trade is a brilliant script by Ontario playwright Norm Foster. As always, his characters are everyman/woman. Each seems to draw upon a personality that we recognize: the rather shallow and profane Phil; the ambitious but frustrated Dan; Gail, the auditor struggling to balance her personal and professional lives; and Darlene, the free spirit searching for love and security. As the play progresses, Dan and Phil reveal some dark secrets that have been haunting them, and not all the loose ends get tied up, any more than in real life. 

This is a play for adults, with some profanity, sexual peccadillos (well, at least some talk about them), agonizing choices, cheating and betrayal. It is richly rewarding in its use of ordinary people to explore some of life’s deepest dilemmas.

Deftly directed by Jean Wyenberg, The Motor Trade will run for four performances, May 26 - 28. 

Tickets are available from North Road Sports, or on-line at