Tuesday, April 1, 2014

UIS Theatre presents "How I Learned to Drive"

The Theatre Program at the University of Illinois Springfield presents the Pulitzer Prize-winning play How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel, opening Friday, April 11. Six performances will be presented in the Studio Theatre, on the lower level of the Public Affairs Center at UIS - on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, April 11, 12, and 13, and Thursday, Friday, Saturday, April 17, 18, and 19. All shows will begin at 7:30 p.m., except the Sunday performance (April 13), which will begin at 2 p.m. UIS Associate Professor of Theatre Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson directs the play.

How I Learned to Drive takes an un-flinching look at "the gifts we receive from people who hurt us,” according to Vogel. The play’s protagonist, Li'l Bit, "received the gift of how to survive," from a surprising source. Through a non-linear series of emotional, and often times funny flashbacks and recollections, Li’l Bit takes the audience on a ride that explores how a family, a culture, and a society contributed to an inappropriate relationship. This thrilling ride has been described by Dramatists Play Service as “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.”

Elizabeth Ingram plays the role of Li’l Bit and Tom Hutchison plays the role of Peck. Ingram and Hutchinson are both UIS alumni. The play involves a “Greek Chorus” of actors, who play multiple roles. The “Greek Chorus” includes UIS students Liza Torrence, Christina Craig, Emily Hartney, Blake Barnes, and Robbie Quance, along with Lincoln Land Community College student Carys Fritz.

Dathan Powell, UIS assistant professor of theatre, is the scene designer/technical director. Community member Allaina Blackwell is the stage manager and UIS students Meghan Milewski and Angelina Russo are the assistant stage managers. UIS faculty members Carrie Switzer and Sheryl Reminger are co-costume designers, with UIS visual arts faculty member Brytton Bjorngaard providing projections and images. The lighting designer is UIS student David Hecht, and sound research/design is provided by UIS student Chip Deiss.

Ticket prices are $14 for adults; $12 for senior citizens (65 or older with a picture I.D.); $10 for UIS Faculty/Staff; $8 for UIS students (and all other college-level students) with a valid, current i-card or college I.D. card; and $6 for 17 and under. Please note that a service charge, not included in the prices above, from Sangamon Auditorium will be added to each ticket price, at the time of purchase. To avoid a higher service charge, buying tickets in person at the Sangamon Auditorium ticket office is highly recommended. You may also purchase tickets over the phone by calling 217/206-6160 or online at www.uis.edu/SangamonAuditorium/.

Following the April 13 and April 17 performances, there will be post-show discussions as part of the UIS ECCE Speaker Series. All audience members are invited to stay for the talk-backs.

For more information on the production, contact Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson at 217/206-8307 or mthom1@uis.edu, or visit www.uis.edu/theatre.

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