Thursday, 05 April 2018 07:26

Driving Miss Daisy steers onto Rosebud stage

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A story of unlikely friendship twenty-five years in the making, between a cantankerous widow of wealth, and her patient (albeit wry) chauffeur, Driving Miss Daisy is a timely comedy-drama that makes issues of social justice accessible with its charm and intimate power.

The play begins in Atlanta, Georgia, 1948. It’s the same year nineteen-year-old Martin Luther King Junior would be ordained a minister, and graduate with a degree in sociology, marking the start of his calling to a public life spent advocating for the civil rights of African Americans. Daisy is Jewish. Her chauffeur, Hoke Coleburn, is black. Both are privy to prejudice - both as recipients and perpetrators.
Has society become more tolerant? Are prejudice and discrimination voices of a bygone era, or are they still as present today as they were in mid 20th century America, where a backdrop of violence set the scene for a nation struggling to birth a new age of equality for all people?
“You can't ignore the time that this play is set in,” Director Morris Ertman says of Driving Miss Daisy, and continues, “Significant events happened and are still happening. There’s an “Us vs. Them” mentality that exists to this day. It’s a kind of tribalism. We bind to the people we that are most like us, for safety, for familiarity.
This play puts two seemingly different people side by side. It doesn’t let them stay in their tribe. Then, we see what happens.”
The play encourages us to look for the things that are common to us all, such as the aging process.
Tom Pickett, who is set to play the role of Hoke for the third time in his acting career, laughs as he shares, “The first time I did this show, I was in my fifties. I’ll be seventy-years-old in August. I get to look at this from a whole different perspective - a deeper view I can appreciate now that I’m of that age. Grace is one of the results of aging. You get tired of fighting.”
Ertman adds, “As age breaks things down, good things can and often do unfold. We find out we’re more alike than different. As a theatre audience watching such a story, we get to feel the issue, and then think about it with some heart-level perspective.”
Written in 1987 by Alfred Uhry, Driving Miss Daisy went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in Drama the following year. Its tale remains relevant in our current social climate where, fraught with discord, varying voices speak out their perspectives. Some articulate, and informed. Some hasty and brash. Spliced diatribes of personal opinion posted on Facebook walls and to the comment sections of news articles and YouTube videos.
Perhaps there is some solution to be found in friendship. What does day to day, face to face interaction afford a rich old white woman and poor old black man? What is there to be gained from life shared not via screens, but rather in person? In the car. In the kitchen. At the grocery store. The regular, seemingly mundane moments of daily living provide opportunities for growth. For levity and grace. Fuel for friendship.
Rosebud Theatre presents Driving Miss Daisy, April 6 to May 19 at the Opera House in Rosebud, Alberta. Each performance includes a delicious buffet meal prior to the show. Show times: Matinees Wednesday-Saturday at 1:30pm; Evening shows Saturdays, and select Fridays at 8:00pm.
BOOK NOW at or by calling us at 1-800-267-7553.
Box Office Hours: Monday-Saturday 8:00am-4:30pm.

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