12th Ave Arts MAINSTAGE Jun-7 to Jul-7, 2018 Thu-Fri-Sat 7:30pm, Mon 7:30pm No performance Monday Jun-11 Calendar
Sometimes to tell a secret, you first have to teach a lesson,” confides Li’l Bit in the opening moments of How I Learned to Drive. We first meet her as an adult, but she soon guides us through a series of vignettes from her childhood and adolescence that help us and Li’l Bit herself understand how she became the woman she is. Using the framework of driving lessons she took from her aunt’s husband, Uncle Peck, we soon learn that Li’l Bit is a victim of long-term sexual abuse. Uncle Peck is seductive and manipulative, but also an appealing figure for the young Li’l Bit, who is unsure of her place in the world and in her insensitive family, which assigns humiliating nicknames to its members. His character is meant to confuse us. He appears gentle, loving, and a bit pathetic, but beneath the surface, he is a classic predator. In scenes punctuated by dark comedy, we see Li’l Bit as she maneuvers through the uncomfortable landmarks of adolescence: a sock hop where she is afraid to dance because the boys will see her jiggle, gym class where she’s taunted by her classmates, uncomfortable family gatherings, and the increasingly chilling driving lessons from Uncle Peck.
In a New York Times interview in 1997, Paula Vogel said that she wanted this play “to get the audience to go along for a ride they wouldn’t ordinarily take, or even know they’re taking”. It moves as seductively as Uncle Peck, sliding from the comic into darker, more uncomfortable places, exposing patterns of guilt and responsibility with discomforting shifts of power. Details about the Seattle production soon.
Vogel won the Pulitzer Prize in 1997 for How I learned to Drive. The play premiered Off-Broadway in a production by the Vineyard Theatre in 1997. The play was directed by Mark Brokaw, and featured Mary Louise Parker at Li'l Bit.
written by Paula Vogel (1997) directed by Ryan Purcell
performed by this play is not yet cast
designed and constructed by the team has not been assembled