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How I Learned To Drive
by Paula Vogel

January 14 - February 5, 2000
Directed by Rhonda Clark

A wildly funny, surprising and devastating tale of survival as seen through the lens of a troubling relationship between an young girl and an older man. HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE is the Pulitzer Prize winning story of a woman who learns the rules of the road and life from behind the wheel.


Li'l Bit and Uncle Peck played by Linda Coldwell and Steve Vann

The play unfolds like a family album that hold's a woman's memories (and family secrets) of growing up in the Sixties in rural Maryland. We see her as a fatherless girl, nicknamed Li'l Bit by her family, who gets more than she bargains for when her Uncle Peck gives her driving lessons.

As the scenes shift back and forth in time, we see how Uncle Peck's obsessive love for her grows over the years. Ever the courtly gentleman, he uses tenderness and authority to manipulate his niece.

As Li'l Bit, CST newcomer Linda Coldwell must slip from age 35 to 11, and several ages in between, in the blink of an eye. Steve Vann (last seen onstage in the critically acclaimed CONVERSATIONS WITH MY FATHER) plays the doting uncle.

Playwright Paula Vogel uses a "Greek Chorus" of three people who play multiple characters in Li'l Bit's life story, and these characters bring much of the humor to the play. Making their CST debuts are Juliann Kershen, Greg Burns, and Katy Christie.

Ms. Vogel is head of the well-respected playwriting program at Brown University and grew up in suburban Maryland. Because of the play's setting and depiction of family secrets, she has often been asked if HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE is autobiographical. Although it is not, she says, "Taboo subjects always interest me." Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita is her favorite book that she has read over and over again, and she says, "The eroticizing of children is so prevalent in the culture yet so seldom acknowledged."  

Vogel's writing is never "politically correct," but she did have concerns that women in the audience who have been sexually abused as youngsters would be put off by her sympathetic treatment of the abuser. "The play is in fact a love story, admittedly troubling, between a young girl and her uncle. He gives her the tools, ironically enough, to protect herself from him. I hope the play is cathartic for women who've been through this kind of experience, and makes it possible for them, like Li'l Bit, to move on."

 

 THE CAST

HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE received the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for drama. In 1997, it garnered the Obie, Drama Desk, NY Drama Critics Circle, Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel awards for "Best Play".

Other plays by Ms. Vogel include THE BALTIMORE WALTZ and THE MINEOLA TWINS.

Li'l Bit

Linda Coldwell

Peck

Steve Vann

Greek Chorus

Greg Burns
Julianna Kershen
Katy Christie

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 THE CREW
Director Rhonda Clark
Set Design &
Technical Direction
Tom Harrington
Light Design Steven Gillmore
Set Construction Tom Harrington
Melody Harrington
Steven Gillmore
Kyle Watson
Costume Design & Construction Mary Freeh
Sound Design Joe Daleo
Rhonda Clark
Stage Manager &
Light Operator
Bob Bates
Assistant Director Bob Cross
Sound Operator Kimberly Moore
Running Crew Tom Gibson
Genger Gibson
Stacia Roybal
Lighting Assistant Kyle Watson
"Doo Wop" Music Consultant Marcellus Hankins
"The Voice" of Driver Education Scott Meek
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 SPECIAL THANKS TO

Tuxedo Specialists - OKC Traffic Management Division - Jon Womastek - Lysandra and Scott Meek - Renee Preftakes - Doobie Potter - Nacy West - Robert Perry


Produced by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc.

Buy the script from Amazon.com or visit the CST Bookshop for other works by Paula Vogel.

 

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