Thursday, July 9, 2020
‘How I Learned to Drive’ a Painful Examination of Sexual Exploitation
Page Klune, right, was among the stars in The Spot’s “Dido of Idaho.”
Thursday, June 27, 2019


It’s a mess of things but one that won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

It shocked audiences 20 years ago with its examination of pedophilia. And now Paula Vogel’s big Greek-like drama has run head-on with the #MeToo era.

Sawtooth Productions will present a free reading of Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “How I Learned to Drive,” at 7 p.m. Monday, July 1, at the Argyros Performing Arts Center in Ketchum.

It will be the first performance in the upstairs Bailey Studio, which boasts such great views of Baldy that crowds may be torn between that and the stage.

The cast will feature Courtney Loving, Richard Rush, Natalie Battistone, Page Klune and Chris Carwithen.

Free wine and cookies will be served.

The story revolves around a young woman named Li’l Bit, who is surrounded by a dysfunctional family that includes an alcoholic mother and a misogynist grandfather who claims her buxomness will take her further than an education.

Then there’s Uncle Peck, a man who is hiding behind his own pain. He exercises control and manipulation over his niece, using the ploy of teaching her how to drive as a vehicle for sexual exploitation.

 How it happened is revealed step by step, similar to the step-by-step nature of a driving manual as it talks about reverse gears and other mechanisms.

 “The work begins with a comic blitheness and detachment that immediately disarm. Then before you’re even aware of it, you’ve fallen into dark, decidedly uncomfortable territory, and it’s way too late to pull back,” said a review in the New York Times.

“How I Learned to Drive” premiered Off-Broadway in 1997 and was awarded the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It also received a host of awards and nominations from others, including the Drama Desk Awards, Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and New York Drama Critics Award.


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