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How I Learned to Drive - Acting Edition Paperback – October 1, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

Review

L.A. Theatre Works, a nonprofit theatre and radio production company, deserves a standing ovation for publishing consistently superb work. Most people simply do not have the time or the opportunity to see the many plays written in the last year, let alone the past decade. L.A. Theatre Works has been producing and recording plays for 10 years, and offers an extensive catalog of a varied body of work. I have heard nothing but top-notch acting and production values in the several plays I sampled and the one recording I witnessed. The plays are all about 90 minutes to two hours long. Most cost $18.95, and are available in stores or by calling (800) 708-8863. Recent productions include "How I Learned to Drive" by Paula Vogel. Vogel's play takes a light look at a dark subject, focusing on Li'l Bit, the daughter of a rural Maryland woman whose uncle taught her much more than simply how to drive. She writes of the psyche-scarring, incestuous relationship between the pre-pubescent main character and her grown-up uncle. Her straightforward honesty and unabashed humor offers a remarkably candid view of family disfunction. Glenne Headly, with her youthful-sounding voice, is perfectly cast as Li'l Bit. She effortlessly portrays a confused girl and an older, angrier woman. However, even as her character ages, that tremulous, girlish quality to Headly's voice consistently enriches her performance. --Los Angeles Times --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Dramatists Play Service; Revised edition (October 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082221623X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822216230
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D. Sorel VINE VOICE on May 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
This play has been my favorite contemporary play since I first read it about four years ago. It tells the story of Lil' Bit and her relationship with her uncle Uncle Peck which begins when she is very young and continues until she is in college. Though she is clearly a victim of molestation, the story is much deeper than that of a victim and her perpetrator. Vogel lets to audience into Lil' Bit's dysfunctional family in which her grandfather is over-sexed and her grandmother is at the beckon call of his sexual urges. In addition, Lil' Bit's mother gives her advice on sex and men that is misguided due to her own failing as a wife. The only family member that Lil' Bit can turn to is her uncle who loves her as more than a niece. The two begin a relationship before Lil' Bit even reached puberty. Though Lil' Bit knows that the relationship is wrong, Uncle Peck is her only advocate and support.

The play is told through various scenes that are not chronological. Vogel chose to do this in order to question the audience about at what point does their relationship become inappropriate. She wanted the audience to view a scene and think "is this wrong" and then escalate to a more graphic scene in order to raise the question "now is it wrong". With each scene, Vogel is asking the audience when does the relationship cross the line. While there is not a great deal of action, it is one of the most thought-provoking plays. I cannot give it enough praise!!
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Doug on December 19, 1999
Format: Paperback
Every quarter, for our English class book project we have to read one or two of the titles from the list that our teacher gave us. Being strapped for time, I decided to read a play, and luckily the play that I chose was "How I Learned to Drive" by Paula Vogel. Little did I realize that in reading this amazing piece of literature I would fall in love with it. Now, instead of just spending an hour reading the play, I want to spend a few hours watching it. I want to see how the actors portray the extended metaphor ( of sexual encounters and how it relates to learning how to drive a car ) that is the whole play. Vogel does a great job of creating real life characters who help us see into the sick world of a child molester. Although we naturally hate Peck for doing what he does, Vogel does an amazing job of dropping hints as to why he hurts Li'L Bit( so if you get a chance, read it more than once ). I would definitely recommend this play to any type of person. It is an easy read but more importantly, it tastefully makes you aware of what type of people there really are in this world.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A play lover on March 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
I just went to see my university production of this play, and so I decided to get the book, because it brought out so many emotions many of us have never felt before. This book is so moving and heart wrenching. Lil Bit takes you on an adventure that is so real and so scary, that you can't put the book down. If you get the chance, don't waste it on any other play. This is THE PLAY to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ellie R. on April 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Something is wrong with the way this book is put together. Page 40 and page 41 are not continuous pages. There should be a page in there or something. It's very weird. And I know it's not supposed to be like that because I read this play in school and I liked it, so I got a copy recently. (It's a great play by the way. It's disturbing but very moving at the same time). After I found the misprint I ordered another copy because I thought maybe it was just in that one, but it's in the second one I got too. I'm going to order a different edition of the play.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. D. Cowman on January 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
I saw this years ago and when I was looking for something unique and powerful to direct I ordered this script. I wasn't disappointed. Peck is one of the most fabulous roles a guy could ever hope for. Lil Bit is every bit as challenging part. The staging and approach of this play are far from standard and make for the opportunity for a theater to break from their normal run of box sets and standard play structure. A very worthwhile read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By MAB on April 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
"How I Learned to Drive" is very modern in its presentation, but enormously unnerving. Its use of a Greek chorus and minimal stage props just adds to the eeriness and vulgarity of the story. What is scary and truthful about this play is that in some families, occurrences like this may be happening. The character of Peck will give you goose bumps. I recommend.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
I saw this performed through Perseverance Theatre in Anchorage, Alaska, and Paula Vogel is a great artist when it comes to making beleivable characters. In this play, the child molester, Uncle Peck, is portrayed in a way that you grow to like him. The book by itself is worth buying, and a great piece of humorous and spellbinding literature.
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Format: Paperback
This play was very good but concerned a topic that is repellent - abuse. Sexual abuse by family members. For good measure, there are also versions of the play performed on Youtube. So I am stuck. How do you rate something that was good but about something you do not consider good? I confess I would much rather turn my eyes away from the topic in the hopes that it would just go away. I suppose that is the value of such literature. It puts right in your face that which you would rather not see.
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How I Learned to Drive - Acting Edition
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