Trinity’s theatre department has commenced performances of their new production, “How I Learned to Drive,” a play that shares the story of a woman reflecting on her adolescence and the relationships she developed in her life. The play touches on difficult subjects, including rape, in an effort to encourage the audience to think about the effects of such traumatic events have on those affected.
A wide range of other topics of controversial natures are discussed in the play as well.
“The story is a recount of the unique relationship formed between Lil’ Bit and her Uncle, uncle Peck, spanning from her early teenage years all the way to her mid-thirties. The play deals with key issues such as misogyny and pedophilia and sheds light on how blurred the lines of what a loving relationship is can be,” said Dallas Atkins, a senior physics and theatre student.
Performers hope that productions of “How I Learned to Drive” will educate the audience.
“Society is still learning to deal with these issues and others like them, and we are in the midst of trying to redefine American culture from passive to active when dealing [with] or hearing about the situations. This play brings these issues out into the spotlight and forces the audience to witness them first hand, while bringing sympathy to all parties involved,” Atkins said.
Each student involved with the production has been working diligently to prepare for the show. From performers, to stage managers to directors, everyone has put in hours of time and effort to make sure the production is a success.
“I am the production stage manager, the student in charge of the technical side of the show,” said Olivia Ochoa, a senior theatre major. “I have been working on this show since early December. I have been at almost all the rehearsals since we got back from break. As the PSM, during rehearsals I coordinate communication between the designers and the director, help with scheduling and keep track of all the actors’ blocking and lines, as well as props, costumes and sets.”
Those involved have been modifying the production in order to ensure it has the greatest impact possible.
“Performances are going to be exciting because this show is in the Attic Theatre, a much smaller performance space than the enormous Stieren Theatre that we normally use for mainstage shows. The intimate space is going to be a really different and cool experience for people who are used to seeing shows in bigger theatres,” Ochoa said.
Some students have had multiple roles in the production, allowing for them to have a greater range of opportunities in improving its performances.
“I’m the assistant director, [the] dramaturge, and I’m pretty active in the social media marketing of the show, so I have a few different angles on it. I really think behind the scenes is more where I belong. I’m an observer. I don’t really like being in the spotlight but it’s a great feeling to help build something like this,” said Ruth Banks, a junior theatre major.
With varying responsibilities, ranging from analyzing and coaching the performers’ performances to promoting the play via social media, Banks has exerted great effort to ensure the show is as moving as possible; the stage has been set up to incorporate every effort into the audience experience.
“This is going to be an incredibly powerful show. We have the seats divided into two groups on either side of the stage, so they are facing each other. The actors have audience members on either side of them, trapping them within the world of the play, and the audience is able to look right across the stage and watch other audience members experiencing this powerful show,” Banks said.
Performances will run from Feb. 19-21 and Feb. 24-27. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for seniors, Trinity faculty and alumni, and $6 for students. There are only 75 seats in the attic, so patrons are encouraged to reserve tickets online or purchase them at the box office by calling (210) 999-8515.