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How I Learned to Drive

How I Learned to Drive
Your Price: $18.95 CDN
Author: Paula Vogel
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 60
Pub. Date: 1997
ISBN-10: 08222162310
ISBN-13: 9780822216230
Cast Size: 3 female, 2 male

About the Play:

How I Learned to Drive has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Female Monologues, Male Monologues, and Female/Male Scenes.

How I Learned to Drive is a full-length comedic drama by Paula Vogel. An unflinching portrait of the darkest of family secrets, with a young girl's uncle-by-marriage teaching her to drive but intent on getting much more from his niece. How I Learned to Drive is the story of a woman who learns the rules of the road and life from behind the wheel.

How I Learned to Drive is set in rural Maryland, "before the malls took over." From behind the wheel of a 1956 Chevy, a young girl named Li'l Bit, from a tightly knit lower-middle-class family, navigates the tangled boulevards of her adolescence, reflecting on her complex and troubling relationship with her family. A fragmented memory play, as told by the 40-year-old Li'l Bit looking back on her teenage self, the old secrets and fresh discoveries abound as she struggles to accept her past and the demons that live there. An artful, surprising, and often-funny memory play that explores how we are shaped by the people who hurt us, this Pulitzer Prize-winning play chronicles one woman's journey to break the cycle – and silence – surrounding her sexual abuse at the hands of a charismatic uncle who impacts her past, present and future life. A story of boundaries, personal agency, and how hindsight is not always 20/20, How I Learned to Drive has earned its place in the contemporary American theatre canon and achieves a powerful new resonance in the era of #MeToo and #TimesUp.

How I Learned to Drive opened in 1997 in New York and ran off-Broadway for 14 months. The play won several awards including the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, an Obie, a Drama Desk Award and a New York Drama Critics' Award. The Broadway premiere of Paula Vogel's Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece was in 2022 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and is regularly performed in regional and college theatre productions.

Cast: 3 female, 2 male (flexible casting)

What people say:

"Ms. Vogel has written a lovely, harrowing guide to the crippling persistence of one woman's memories." — New York Times

"…How I Learned to Drive is a tremendous achievement, genuine and genuinely disturbing…This is, quite simply, the sweetest and most forgiving play ever written about child abuse…Vogel's delicate tactic makes sense not only as a way to redouble the dramatic effect, but as a representation of reality, a perfect case of the form fitting the subject." — Village Voice

"With subtle humor and teasing erotic encounters, Vogel addresses the dangerous intersections of teenage temptation. She also paints a richly poetic and picturesque landscape…The play is a potent and convincing comment on a taboo subject, and its impact sneaks up on its audience." — Variety

"…How I Learned to Drive turns out to be a most compelling ride." — BackStage

About the Playwright:

Paula Vogel is an American playwright and university professor. One of the most widely produced and honoured playwrights writing in the English language, her work has garnered numerous awards and prizes including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Susan Smith Blackburn Award, New York Drama Critics Award, Obie Award, AT&T New Plays Award, among many others, as well as fellowships from the Pew Charitable Trust, National Endowment for the Arts, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. She is currently the Eugene O'Neill Professor and Chair of the Department of Playwriting at Yale University.

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