TWIN FALLS • The play “How I Learned to Drive,” confronts sexual abuse, molestation and gender roles.
Director Jennifer Miller said she read the script in 2006, but was waiting for the right time to stage the story. The show is being independently produced by Miller. This will be her third show, which she said are more edgy than shows typically shown in the area.
“When is the right time? I feel like our community is ready for this,” Miller said.
“How I Learned to Drive” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through July 26 at Sligar Auditorium at the Twin Falls Center for the Arts. Tickets are $10 and are available at Ooh La La! Fashion Boutique, Twin Falls Center for the Arts box office and at the door. All proceeds will benefit the Crisis Center of Magic Valley.
The main character is a woman nicknamed “Lil Bit,” played by Danielle Billing. The story is told through Lil Bit’s memories of sexual molestation that takes place when her “Uncle Peck,” played by Dusty Blackburn, volunteers to teach his niece how to drive. These lessons are used as an opportunity to take advantage of her. The story of Lil Bit is told in reverse and follows her life from age 11 to 35.
The cast also features Amy West Chambers, Daniel Gardner and Alicia West Melanson. Emily Smith is assistant director and G. Devin Blackburn is technical director.
“The story follows her process in confronting and dealing with sexual abuse,” Miller said.
“How I Learned to Drive” was written by Paula Vogel, who won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Miller said choosing villains and heroes in this show won’t be easy.
“There are no bad or good guys,” she said.
Blackburn described his character as a 45-year-old WWII veteran who was traumatized by his experiences.
“He has never been able to release those demons he found in war,” Blackburn said. “He’s not faithful to his wife, but everyone loves him. It’s a pretty challenging role for me to take because he is so bound by his demons.”
Blackburn said while the subjects of the story are not the most entertaining, it tells “to the marrow, the bone-truth of life.”
He added that the appeal of the show is that the flawed characters are not portrayed as stereotypes, but are presented in an honest light.