Pulitzer Prize-winning play has a powerful new resonance in the #MeToo era

Who: PlayMakers Repertory Company
What: “How I Learned to Drive,” written by Paula Vogel. Directed by Lee Sunday Evans.
When: April 3 to 21, 2019. Opening Night & Press Opening Saturday, April 6, 2019
Where: Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art, 120 Country Club Road, Chapel Hill, NC
Tickets: Start at $15; Students tickets start at $10
Press Packet, Photos, etc

(Chapel Hill, NC, March 15, 2019) PlayMakers Repertory Company is proud to present the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, “How I Learned to Drive” by Tony Award®-nominated playwright Paula Vogel. The production, directed by Lee Sunday Evans, will run from April 3 to 21, 2019.

“How I Learned to Drive” is a heartbreaking, unflinching and unsettling tale that follows Li’l Bit, a sexual abuse survivor, as she unearths and untangles complex and troubling memories of her youth and abuse at the hands of her uncle. Seen through the lens of our #MeToo era, playwright Paula Vogel’s powerful drama is an all-too-relevant reminder of the importance of reclaiming one’s own narrative, but also how uncomfortable that process can be.

“When Vivienne told me she had programmed ‘How I Learned to Drive’ in PlayMakers’ current season, I thought it was a brilliant, timely choice,” said director  Evans. “We talked about what it would mean to create a production of this story now, in the midst of the large-scale, public reckoning with imbalanced sexual power dynamics that’s going on. I have been enormously inspired and influenced by Paula’s writing through the years and I felt this production would be an opportunity to explore how live performance can uniquely create a communal, public space to meaningfully engage with some of the most private, personal episodes in one’s life. We need these public spaces right now—where we are not alone with the raw, uncomfortable, complicated experiences that get unearthed when we start to open up about our personal histories.”

“In this season of shifting ground, it feels very right to close out our 2018/19 Mainstage with a groundbreaking playwright, Paula Vogel,” said Vivienne Benesch, PlayMakers’ Producing Artistic Director. “Paula has never shied away from tackling stories that have been ignored or pushed to the boundaries by other mediums. ‘How I Learned to Drive’ is one of those stories that digs deep into a subject that is messy, complicated, painful, and all-too pervasive, and makes us lean forward and examine our own experiences and perspectives. I am eternally grateful for the amazing Lee Sunday Evans, and our own Julia Gibson and Jeffrey Blair Cornell for taking on this tough and painfully relevant story with such sensitivity and a quiet, true brilliance.”

The Creative Team of “How I Learned to Drive” includes: Lee Sunday Evans (Director), Jan Chambers (Scenic Designer),  Anne Kennedy (Costume Designer),Barbara Samuels (Lighting Designer), Lee Kinney (Sound Designer), Daniel Kluger (Composer), Mark Perry (Dramaturg), Tia James (Vocal Coach), Thiago Felix (Movement Coach), Ilana Khanin (Associate Director), and Elizabeth Ray (Stage Manager).

“How I Learned to Drive”  deals frankly with issues of sexual abuse and incest. We encourage all patrons to use their own discretion in determining the appropriateness of the material.

For information and to purchase tickets, call 919.962.7529 or visit www.playmakersrep.org. Individual ticket prices start at $15, with discounted tickets for UNC students.

Performance and Special Event Schedule:

  • March 25, 7:00 p.m. Durham County Public Library, Southwest Branch — “In the Wings,” a series of conversations in partnership with the Chapel Hill and Durham County Public Libraries. Free and open to the public.
  • April 3–5, 7:30 p.m. — Preview performances.
  • April 4, 6:00 p.m. — “Vision Series—Professionals in Process,” a behind-the-scenes preview with members of the creative team before the evening’s performance, at the Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art. Free and open to the public.
  • April 6, 7:30 p.m. — Opening Performance & Press Opening, with post-show Opening Night Celebration.
  • April 9, 7:30 p.m. — All-access performance for attendees with special needs, with sign language interpretation and audio description.
  • April 9, 7:30 p.m. — Community Night. General admission seating, with all tickets $15.
  • April 10 & 14 — Free post-show discussions with members of the creative team, cast, and community members.
  • April 13, 2:00 p.m. — Open captioned performance, with dialog, stage direction, and sound effects communicated on a “universal access” live caption unit.

About PlayMakers Repertory Company:
PlayMakers Repertory Company is North Carolina’s premier professional theatre company. For more than 40 years, we have produced relevant and courageous work that tells stories from and for a multiplicity of perspectives, and creates transformational impact in our immediate and extended communities. We are proud to be part of a 100-year tradition of playmaking at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. PlayMakers has been named one of the “best regional theatres in America.”

PlayMakers Contacts: 

  • For photos, poster art, and other images related to “How I Learned to Drive,” please see our “How I Learned to Drive” Press Kit.
  • For press information and interviews, contact Diana Pineda, Director of Sales and Marketing, dmpineda@email.unc.edu or 919.962.7114
  • For questions about photos or poster art and other PlayMakers questions, please contact Rosalie Preston, Associate Director of Marketing, rosalie@unc.edu or 919.962.6997