Directed by George Dunster
Van Wert Civic Theatre has a history of staging shows from wide-ranging genres that include comedy, farce, mystery, thriller, drama, children’s theatre and musicals. Our largest audiences tend to gather for our musical productions. Our audience members tend to leave the theatre with a spring in their step and a smile on their face after every farce or comedy. Audience members have frequently been heard to say that the reason they come to the theatre is to laugh and be entertained. It is, however, more often than not, the more dramatic productions that are most frequently recalled by audience members as being the most memorable or the most powerful.
Driving Miss Daisy is from the drama genre and Van Wert Civic Theatre’s production, with three fine actors and the acclaimed director, George Dunster, at the helm, is poised to become one more powerful memory for our audience members. The central relationship in Driving Miss Daisy is between Daisy (Jan Miller) and Hoke (Everett Collier), though Daisy’s businessman son Boolie (Joe Warnament) is a caring presence throughout. It’s Boolie who insists his 72-year-old mama stop driving after she wrecks yet another almost-new car, and it’s Boolie who hires the experienced Hoke to be her driver. Set in Atlanta during a twenty-five year time span, the journey that Daisy and Hoke take together involves the gradual deepening of the relationship between this elderly Jewish widow and her black chauffeur. This story poignantly explores different kinds of prejudice, the loss of autonomy that comes with aging, and the beauty of an unlikely friendship.