New Jersey Stage

Friday, January 28, 2011

ROWAN STAGES VOGEL'S ACCLAIMED HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE


(GLASSBORO, NJ) -– Paula Vogel's emotionally gripping drama How I Learned to Drive comes to Rowan University's Tohill Theatre on February 11, 12, 18 and 19 at 8 pm and February 13 and 20 at 3 pm.

Directed by Dr. Elisabeth Hostetter, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play presents the complex memories of a woman struggling to keep her charismatic uncle's sexual attentions at bay. Uncle Peck claims to have loved his young niece since the day she was born and expresses his affection by teaching her to "drive like a man." But stepping into his 1956 Chevrolet Bel Aire sports coupe comes with strings attached and Li'l Bit has to carefully define the boundaries to avoid being victimized by her Uncle's seductive power.

The Department of Theatre & Dance includes the play in its season to honor the work of one of America's most celebrated contemporary female playwrights.

"The strength of the play lies in the balance between the male and female characters," Hostetter states. "Paula Vogel is masterful in presenting the vulnerability and strength of both the uncle and the young woman. She tells the story of survival but avoids reducing the female character to a mere voiceless, pitiful victim."

Rowan senior Carly Dufford, of Jackson, portrays Li'l Bit opposite professional Philadelphia-based actor Christopher Fluck, as Uncle Peck.

Regarding the challenges of playing a woman who has been deeply scarred by her dysfunctional family, Dufford notes," "This role has been a challenge yet an incredible learning experience. I am learning about issues that I, thankfully, never had to deal with growing up. It is interesting that a person like Lil' Bit could really be anybody and we can all learn from her because she uses her scars to come out stronger."

The cast also features the ensemble performances of Jessica Evans of West Creek, Jenna Garrison of Middletown, Michele Mizeski of Califon and Jimmy Quartuccio of Avenel. The design team includes Stephanie Nichols (costumes), Robert Thorpe (lights), David Cimetta (sound), Anthony Hostetter (projections) and Rowan junior Justine Curran (set).

Tohill Theatre is located in Bunce Hall on the campus of Rowan University, Route 322 in Glassboro, NJ. Tickets are $10, general admission; and $5 for seniors, non-Rowan students, Rowan staff & alumni. Rowan students are admitted free with valid ID. For tickets and information, visit www.rowan.edu/theatredance or call the box office at (856) 256-4545.