Custom Made Theatre Co. Stages Paula Vogel's HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE

Custom Made Theatre Co. Stages Paula Vogel's HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE

Custom Made Theatre Company opens its 2017-2018 season with Paula Vogel's Pulitzer Prize-Winning How I Learned to Drive, a wildly funny, surprising and devastating tale of survival as seen through the lens of a troubling relationship between a young girl and an older man. Directed by Katja Rivera ("Three Tall Women", "Eurydice") Starring: Gianna DiGregorio Rivera, Valerie Fachman, Amanda Farbstein, ERic Reid and David Schiller. September 7-October 7, Custom Made Theatre, 533 Sutter Street, San Francisco 94102.

One of the most discomfiting love stories to emerge from the American theater, How I Learned to Drive follows the strained, sexual, romantic relationship between Li'l Bit and her aunt's husband, Uncle Peck, from her childhood through her adolescence and into adulthood. Set mostly in rural Maryland, Vogel's provocative play begins with Li'l Bit taking the audience through several decades of her life, going as far back as when she was eleven years old. Rather than following a chronological plot, Vogel has purposely rearranged the order of events to reflect the mysterious way that memories work. Three actors act as a Greek Chorus in the play, by way of Motown in director Rivera's vision, and play all the other family members in Li'l Bit's life, who we learn were often named for their distinguishing sexual characteristics.

The much-heralded How I Learned to Drive won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1998) and the Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, as well as Best Actor (Mark Brokaw) and Actress (Mary- Louise Parker.) It also won an Obie, and the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and New York Drama Critics Circle awards.

Cast and Creative Staff

Starring: Gianna DiGregorio Rivera, Valerie Fachman, Amanda Farbstein*, ERic Reid, and David Schiller. Creative Staff: Cat Knight*, Stephanie Dittbern*, Maxx Kurzunski*, Tom O'Brien, Kathleen Qiu, Katja Rivera, and Ryan Lee Short*

* Member, Custom Made Theatre Company

Playwright

Paula Vogel A productive playwright since the late 1970s, Paula Vogel first came to national prominence with her AIDS-related seriocomedy The Baltimore Waltz, which won the Obie Award for Best Play in 1992. She is best known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning play How I Learned to Drive (1997), which examines the impact and echoes of child sexual abuse and incest. Other notable plays include The Oldest Profession (1981), Hot 'N Throbbing (1994), and The Mineola Twins (1996).

Although no particular theme or topic dominates her work, she often examines traditionally controversial issues such as sexual abuse and prostitution. Vogel says, "My writing isn't actually guided by issues.... I only write about things that directly impact my life."

Vogel, a renowned teacher of playwriting, counts among her former students Susan Smith. Bridget Carpenter, Obie Award-winner Adam Bock, MacArthur Fellow Sarah Ruhl, and Pulitzer Prize-winners Nilo Cruz, Lynn Nottage, and Quiara Alegría Hudes. Her teaching career includes two decades leading the graduate playwriting program and new play festival at Brown University, Chair of the playwriting department at Yale School of Drama, and the Playwright-in- Residence at Yale Repertory Theatre. She is currently the Eugene O'Neill Professor of Playwriting at Yale School of Drama and playwright-in-residence at the Yale Repertory Theatre.

Learn more & buy tickets at (415) 798-CMTC (2682), http://www.custommade.org.

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