By Paula Vogel
FEBRUARY 18–MARCH 9, 2014
This Pulitzer Prize-winning play takes audiences on the journey of a young woman’s struggle to break free from her troubling relationship with an older man. It’s a wildly funny coming-of-age story and a shattering tale of survival, all at the same time.
“One of the most discomfiting love stories to emerge from the American theater.”
Ben Brantley, The New York Times
“With subtle humor and teasing erotic encounters, Vogel 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.
(Sarasota, Florida) FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training presents How I Learned to Drive, Paula Vogel’s compelling play about a woman’s drive to freedom through an obstacle course of dark memories, February 18-March 9, 2014, at the Cook Theatre in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets are $29 evenings; $28 matinees. Students receive 50 percent off with advance ticket purchase. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Asolo Rep’s box office at the FSU Center for Performing Arts; 941-351-8000. Pay What You Can Night: On Tuesday, February 18, 7:30 p.m., audience members are invited to attend a production of How I Learned to Drive and pay whatever they can afford for their ticket. These special tickets are available on the day of performance only.
In this Pulitzer Prize-winning play, the character Li’l Bit is behind the wheel, learning the rules of the road and life at the same time. Along the way, she dodges an obstacle course of memories. Her radio, blaring with the top-40 hits of the 1950s, can’t quite overpower them. Happy memories (driving lessons with her uncle) give way to disturbing ones (seduction that’s all in the family). There are choices children aren’t old enough to make and a choice she has to make now. The journey Li’l Bit takes to make that decision is unforgettable.
This FSU/Asolo Conservatory production will be directed by Jesse Jou, a freelance director based in New York City, and performed by second-year acting conservatory students. Jou says he’s always loved Vogel’s writing and feels, “so fortunate to have the chance to work on one of her plays with these talented students.” According to Jou, How I Learned to Drive, “asks a lot of relevant questions about how we perceive women and men—without giving us any easy answers. It’s a play that brims with humor and compassion while tackling a tough subject matter. It takes audiences and our student actors on a journey they’ll always remember.”
How I Learned to Drive runs February 18-March 9, 2014, at the Cook Theatre in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Productions are Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.; Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $29 evenings; $28 matinees. Students receive 50 percent off with advance ticket purchase. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Asolo Rep’s box office at the FSU Center for Performing Arts; 941-351-8000.
About the Director
Originally from Houston, Texas, Jesse Jou is based in New York City, where he works primarily as a freelance theater director of new plays. His favorite recent projects include The Betrothed by Dipika Guha and Neighborhood 3: Requisition Of Doom by Jennifer Haley (Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, Cape Cod, MA); The Netflix Plays (Ars Nova, New York, NY); and The Arabian Nights by Mary Zimmerman (Theatre Fairfield, Fairfield, CT). Jou’s work has also been seen at the Omaha Theater Company; the Lark Play Development Center; HERE Arts Center; the New York International Fringe Festival; The Kitchen Theatre Co. (Ithaca, NY); and the Yale Cabaret. He was the artistic director of the 2010 Yale Summer Cabaret and served as the staff repertory director of The Acting Company. Jou was a Fellow of the Drama League’s Directors Project, a member of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and a member of the Civilians R&D Group. MFA, Yale School of Drama.
About The Conservatory
The FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training is a celebrated three-year graduate program culminating in a master of fine arts degree. For more than 35 years, tens of thousands of actors from across the continent have auditioned for admission. A maximum of 12 students are admitted each year. In their second year, the students perform in the Cook Theatre, a 161-seat space designed to create an intimate experience for the audience and actors. Third-year students are seen on the Mertz Stage working with the Asolo Rep’s professional actors in exciting and significant roles. For more information, visit www.asolorep.org/conservatory.