A Pulitzer Prize-winning coming-of-age drama will be staged by the Department of Theatre & Dance at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Feb. 8-10 and 13-16.
“How I Learned to Drive’ will be performed in the Studio Theatre in the Noel Fine Arts Center, 1800 Portage St., at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 8 and 9, and Wednesday through Saturday, Feb. 13-16. A 2 p.m. matinee will be performed Sunday, Feb. 10.
Admission is $17 for adults, $16 for senior citizens and $12 for students. Tickets are available at the Information and Tickets Office in the Dreyfus University Center, http://tickets.uwsp.edu, or by calling 715-346-4100 or 800-838-3378. Due to adult content, the show is for mature audiences only.
Set in rural Maryland in the 60’s, the play tells the story of Li’l Bit, played by Kate VanderVelden of Belgium, and her relationship with her Uncle Peck, played by Jordan Krsnak of Moorhead, Minn. Other students perform as part of a Greek chorus.
“Playwright Paula Vogel’s ‘How I Learned to Drive’ is an intentionally discomfiting play,” says Laurie Schmeling, an associate lecturer of English serving as a dramaturg for the show alongside the director, Assistant Professor Jeffrey Stephens. “Through a series of scenes flashing back and forth in time, Li’l Bit recalls and reveals the nature of her relationship with Peck, her uncle by marriage. Vogel has described it as a play about ‘the gifts we receive from the people who hurt us.’ “
The play is sad, irreverent, provocative and often surprisingly funny, adds Schmeling, and it repeatedly wrong-foots the audience emotionally as it presents what appears to be an even-handed and sympathetic portrayal of both the abused and her abuser.
“In the process, Vogel seduces us into riding along, taking a journey we wouldn’t ordinarily take,” said Schmeling.