USI Theatre opens its 2010-11 season Thursday, October 7, 2010, with Paula Vogel's Pulitzer Prize-winning How I Learned to Drive,. Directed by Elliot Wasserman, the production is USI's entry in the annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF).
The play focuses on an abusive relationship between a young girl, Lil' Bit, played by Michele Rose, and her Uncle Peck, played by Paul Mindrup. Other characters in their lives are played by a Chorus of three: Becky Fortner, Alex Hellenberg, and Chris Thompson.
"How I Learned to Drive is not the play I expected about evil attempting to subvert all that is good," Wasserman said. "It does not so simplify its subject. Instead, this play is about the relational dynamic in which aberrant behavior can flourish."
The play will be staged at 7:30 p.m. October 7-9 and 13-16 and 2 p.m. October 10 and October 17 in the Mallette Studio Theatre in the lower level of the Liberal Arts Center.
A reviewer for The New York Times wrote, "The work begins with a comic blitheness and detachment that immediately disarm. Then before you're aware of it, you've fallen into dark, decidedly uncomfortable territory, and it's way too late to pull back."
New York Newsday's reviewer wrote, "A sweet play about pedophilia? Intrepid playwright Paula Vogel carries it off."
The artistic team for How I Learned to Drive includes USI Department of Performing Arts faculty members Robert Broadfoot as scenic designer and Michael P. Frohling as lighting designer and USI students Anna Kysar as costume designer and Daniel Kopp as sound designer.
USI Theatre's next production, John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, runs November 11-21, 2010.