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How I Learned to Drive


Tue 14 May 2013, 8:00pm–10:30pm
Wed 15 May 2013, 8:00pm–10:30pm
Thu 16 May 2013, 8:00pm–10:30pm
Fri 17 May 2013, 8:00pm–10:30pm
Sat 18 May 2013, 8:00pm–10:30pm

Where: Mechanics Institute, Corner of Sydney & Glenlyon Roads, Brunswick, Victoria

Restrictions: 18+

Listed by: kris17

A wildly funny, surprising and devastating tale of survival.

Mockingbird Theatre Company Members Sarah Reuben and Scott Middleton feature alongside Jason Cavanagh, Juliet Hindmarsh and Andrea McCannon in the richly poetic but harrowing memory play, How I Learned To Drive, by US playwright Paula Vogel. Winning the Pulitzer Prize For Drama in 1998 it is directed by Mockingbird Theatre Artistic Director Chris Baldock and opens at Brunswick Mechanics Institute Performing Arts Centre, on Friday 3 May 2013 at 8pm.

Vogel tackles a controversial subject with conviction and surprising humour. The play powerfully and honestly deals with the taboo subject of paedophilia against the backdrop of rural Maryland. In 1962, Li'l Bit is 11 years old and is given her first driving lesson by her Uncle Peck during which time he molests her. Li'l Bit is too young to understand what has happened but over the years there are more driving lessons and more advances. Eventually, the relationship between Li'l Bit and Uncle Peck becomes more complicated as Li'l Bit begins to fall in love with him. She recognizes in him a kindred spirit - an individual outside the normal family unit and someone who fulfils her emotional needs. She keeps his love by being compliant to a point but understands there is something inherently wrong in this. The play traverses Li'l Bit's life from childhood to adulthood and brings us her story from a first person narration as harrowing as it is uplifting.

"This is a beautiful play on many levels even though the subject matter is quite distressing and, very sadly, a reality of life for many", says Director and Company Artistic Director Chris Baldock. "I feel it an important work and a story that should be told. Strangely, and perhaps incomprehensibly for some, Li'l Bit does come out of the darkness a better person, a person who is able to find forgiveness in her heart. In her adult life, she questions the demons that affected Uncle Peck's behaviour. So she doesn't assign blame - she seeks to uncover cause and therein lies her salvation. The strength of the play lies here as well - it is a very human story, harrowing yes, but inherently human."

Chris Baldock is a highly respected director and actor in the Melbourne theatre scene. He directed the acclaimed production of The Laramie Project at Chapel off Chapel which won the 2005 Victorian Green Room Award for Best Independent Production. He revived the production last year to critical acclaim as the inaugural production for his own company, Mockingbird Theatre. He also received critical praise for his productions of Love! Valour! Compassion! for Midsumma and the Australian premiere of Shining City for Hoy Polloy. Chris also recently directed Mockingbird's second offering, the multi award winning British play Blue/Orange, to rave reviews.

Paula Vogel is an American playwright and university professor whose work often examines controversial themes such as sexual abuse, prostitution and homophobia. Her Obie Award winning AIDS-related play The Baltimore Waltz, was a dedication to her brother Carl who died of AIDS in 1988. She has said: " I only write about things that directly impact my life." Other works include: Desdemona, A Play About A Handkerchief (1979); The Oldest Profession (1981); And Baby Makes Seven (1984); Hot 'N Throbbing (1994); and The Mineola Twins (1996). Carl was also the inspiration for the Carl Vogel Centre in Washington, D.C., which is a service provider for people living with HIV. Vogel is married to Brown University professor and author Anne Fausto-Sterling.
Cast: Sarah Reuben, Scott Middleton, Jason Cavanagh, Juliet Hindmarsh and Andrea McCannon.

This production proudly supports Child Wise