How I Learned to Drive

By Paula Vogel
October 11-21
Studio Theatre

 

CAST

Li’l Bit                                                                                      Keely Craig

Peck                                                                                         Liam Hofmeister

Female Greek Chorus                                                          Alyse Clinton

Male Greek Chorus                                                              Ben Harris

Teenage Greek Chorus                                                        Katya Forsyth

 

CREATIVE TEAM

Director                                                                                   Dani Snyder-Young

Intimacy Director                                                                    Claire Warden

Scenic Designer                                                                       Janie Howland

Costume Designer                                                                  Rachel Padula-Shufelt

Lighting Designer                                                                   Oliver Wason

Sound Designer                                                                       Kyle McCrosson

Dramaturg/Projection Supervisor                                       Jamez Anderson

Stage Manager                                                                          Jen Fedus

 

Asst. Director                                                                          Hannah Levinson

Asst. Stage Manager                                                               Rose Mancuso

Prop Master                                                                              Rebecca Morris

Costume Shop Design Assistant                                             Tiffany Yu

Master Electrician                                                                     Ansh Kewalramani

Asst. Master Electrician                                                          Maren Flessen

Deck Run Crew                                                                        James Miller

Arielle Greenspan

Wardrobe Run Crew                                                               Sam Krot

Ashley Lyon

Light Board Operator                                                              Tierney Banco

Sound Board Operator                                                            Kaitlyn Mangalinkx

Projection Board Operator                                                     Erin Solomon

 

How I Learned to Drive is a Pulitzer Prize winning feminist classic about desire, consent, and power.  Paula Vogel has called it Lolita as told from Lolita’s point of view.

Li’l Bit unravels the story of her sexual awakening through a fragmented narrative, plunging the audience into key moments of her relationship with her Uncle Peck as he teaches her to drive.  Fundamentally, the play illustrates the ways in which young women are socialized to understand that their power comes from being an object of desire.

Li’l Bit and Uncle Peck have a complicated relationship.  Uncle Peck mostly seems like a really good guy.  Ok, a really good married guy who has an inappropriate amount of chemistry with his underage niece-by-marriage.  As the details of their relationship are revealed to the audience, we are asked to take a good hard look at the gendered power dynamics we accept as “normal”, examining how and why we normalize oppressive systems and relationships.

Through it all, a chorus of three actors plays the family and the community surrounding Li’l Bit and Uncle Peck, instilling and maintaining a set of gendered sexual norms, putting on blinders so they don’t have to look at uncomfortable truths.  They do this in a heightened theatrical world saturated with humor, 1960s pop music, and nostalgia for a mid-20th century white bread suburban America.

 

CRITICAL PRAISE FOR THE PULITZER PRIZE WINNING PLAY

“This is, quite simply, the sweetest and most forgiving play ever written about child abuse…” – The Village Voice

“With subtle humor and teasing erotic encounters, Vogel addresses the dangerous intersections of teenage temptation… The play is a potent and convincing comment on a taboo subject, and its impact sneaks up on its audience.” – Variety

“The play is steeped in a gentle lyricism we associate with nostalgic portraits of American youth. The tone, the setting, the characters seem at first so familiar, so, well, normal, that it’s only by degrees that we sense the poison within the pastels. By then we feel both locked into, and complicit with, this portrait of a warping relationship.” — New York Times

 

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT

Paula Vogel has written HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE (Pulitzer Prize, New York Drama Critics Award, Obie Award, Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and many more.)  Other plays include A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS, THE LONG CHRISTMAS RIDE HOME, THE MINEOLA TWINS, HOT ‘N’ THROBBIN, THE BALTIMORE WALTZ, DESDEMONA, AND BABY MAKES SEVEN, and THE OLDEST PROFESSION.

Her plays have been produced by Second Stage, New York Theatre Workshop, the Vineyard Theatre, Roundabout, and Circle Repertory Company.  Her plays have been produced regionally all over the country at the Center Stage, Intiman, Trinity Repertory, Woolly Mammoth, Huntington Theatre, Magic Theatre, The Goodman Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, Dallas Theatre Berkeley Repertory, and Alley Theatres to name a few.  Harrogate Theatre and the Donmar Theatre have produced her work in England.

Her plays have been produced in Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand as well as translated and produced in Italy, Germany, Taiwan, South Africa, Australia, Romania, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Poland Slovenia, Canada, Portugal, France, Greece, Japanese, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Brazil and other countries.

John Simon once remarked that Paula Vogel had more awards than a “black sofa collects lint.”  Some of these include Induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame, Thornton Wilder Award, Lifetime Achievement from the Dramatists Guild, the William Inge Award, the Elliott Norton Award, two Obies, a Susan Smith Blackburn Award, the PEN/Laura Pels Award, a TCG residency award, a Guggenheim,  a Pew Charitable Trust Award, and fellowships and residencies at Sundance Theatre Lab, Hedgebrook, The Rockefeller Center’s Bellagio Center, Yaddo, MacDowell, and the Bunting.

But she is particularly proud of her Thirtini Award from 13P, and honored by three Awards in her name:  the Paula Vogel Award for playwrights given by The Vineyard Theatre, the Paula Vogel Award from the American College Theatre Festival, and the Paula Vogel mentorship program, curated by Quiara Hudes and Young Playwrights of Philadelphia.