Pittsburg State University - Pittsburg, Kansas
PSU Home | PSU Search | GUS / Logins | A-Z Index | Campus Map | Contact Info. | Comments | Help

News @ PSU

News and information from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Powerful play explores disturbing issue.

For their next theater production, students in Pittsburg State University’s Department of Communication will stage a Pulitzer Prize winning drama that addresses the disturbing but important issue of pedophilia. "How I Learned to Drive," by Paula Vogel, will open at 8 p.m. on March 2 in the PSU Studio Theatre in Grubbs Hall. The play will run nightly through March 4. A matinee performance will take place at 2 p.m. on March 5.

"How I Learned to Drive" won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for drama. The bittersweet comedy tells the story of a Maryland girl called “Li’l Bit” who is taught to drive and at the same time is seduced by her much older uncle.

"It's a walk down memory lane, as we say in one scene," Vogel said. "The play progresses in a series of flashbacks and flash forwards in the mind of the narrator, Li'l Bit. It's, in many ways, a love story between Li'l Bit and her uncle, Uncle Peck, and it’s also, I think, a play about healing, forgiving and moving on. And I should also add it’s a comedy in places."

Paula Vogel is head of the Brown University Graduate Playwright & Workshop. Vogel, one of the most influential forces on contemporary American playwriting, has written numerous plays, all of which challenge her audience to view the world in new ways. Vogel says she uses theater as a means of empowerment.

"Theater is all about community," Vogel said. "It's a communal activity. In these days of increasing isolation, where we watch small screens in the dark or huddle around the computer, theater gives us a spiritual bread not offered by any other art form. Theater gives us the chance to gather together in public to look at parts of our lives and as a community think and feel about these issues, which touch us all. Only communal response changes our world."

PSU's production of "How I Learned to Drive" is directed by Gil Cooper with scene and light design by Dan Williams. Costumes are by Lisa Quinteros and Karen Franklin. Members of the cast are: Li'l Bit: Daley Leintz; Uncle Peck: Greg Shaw; Male Greek Chorus: Ty Davis; Female Greek Chorus: Kim Anderson; Teenage Greek Chorus: Lucy Miller-Downing; and Driver's Ed. Narrator: Eric Hyde.

The script and production are structured to take advantage of the theater setting itself, thereby emphasizing the idea of watching and viewing. The concept underscores the play’s multiple perspectives on the issues surrounding pedophilia.

Following each performance, the cast and the director, along with representatives from the Children’s Advocacy Center and the Pittsburg State University Counseling Center will host a post play discussion for interested audience members.

Tickets for the play are $8 for the general public, $6 for PSU faculty and staff and $5 for persons under 17 and over 65. PSU students with valid ID are admitted free. Group rates are available. Tickets may be purchased from the PSU Ticket Office, 620-235-4796.

For more information, contact Gil Cooper at 620-235-4714, gcooper@pittstate.edu.

---Pitt State---