Thursday, October 18, 2007

Oct 12 - Nov 10: DRIVING MISS DAISY opens PT mainstage!

The critics love DAISY!

"If you've thought of skipping this particular production because you've seen it before, you're making a mistake. Director Sarah Rodgers and her remarkable cast offer up a fun and easy night of theatre with performances that are subtle, funny, touching, and supremely charming. Scenery designer Kevin McAllister’s ultra-simple set deserves special mention for taking a matronly chair, a bench and a table and creating an entire universe of possibility. Despite my attempts to find fault with something, there wasn’t one wrong note in this one-act.
"Driving Miss Daisy is what it is and nothing more: an honest play by a talented playwright with a talented cast and crew. Sitting in Pacific Theatre, you can almost imagine yourself in the little box theatre where it got its start two decades ago. You may also come to realize that a decent script can transcend the petty skirmishes between film and theatre. Or you could just sit back and enjoy the ride. "
Steven Schelling, The Westender

"Daisy (Erla Faye Forsyth) and her driver Hoke (Tom Pickett) have a sharp dynamism from the get-go."
Michael Harris, The Globe and Mail

"For those of us who must drive across the hell that is Cambie Street to get to Pacific Theatre, who knew that a play about driving could be so heavenly?"
Jo Ledingham, The Vancouver Courier
Complete review

"Erla Faye Forsyth completely inhibits the cantankerous Miss Daisy. Tom Pickett is virtually flawless as the trustworthy Hoke."
John Jane,

And so do I...

Opening night of this one, the show wasn't halfway through before I knew I had to see it again, maybe even a couple more times. It's perfectly calibrated for our intimate little theatre, as warm and friendly and moving a show as you could want to see. Director Sarah Rodgers has paid such close attention to the details of this finely drawn little character study, with intricate, carefully rendered design details from Kevin McAllister (set) and Stephen Bulat (sound) working together to create a beautifully, quietly theatrical world without ever drawing focus from the actor's performances.

And what fine performances these are! Every opening night is something of a "dream come true" for me as artistic director. A script was read long ago, actors imagined in the roles, a match of design and directing sensibilities envisioned, and then - when I'm not involved in rehearsing the show - opening night comes, and the imaginings move into three dimensional reality. But seeing these actors inhabit these characters, something I'd imagined for so long, was truly a memorable experience.

Well, when I first met Tom Pickett (around the time of his stunning performance in MASTER HAROLD... AND THE BOYS at Pacific Theatre), I knew I'd found the ideal Hoke for a production of DRIVING MISS DAISY. Jeremy Tow obviously had the same thought, and staged the show with Tom in the lead role that fall at Chemainus. I didn't manage to see that production, and the years have passed until the time was right to have Tom play the part on the Pacific Theatre stage - opposite PT's resident chameleon, Erla Faye Forsyth. Has ever a forty-ish actress been more astonishingly convincing in a role that starts at seventy-something, then moves through another couple decades?

I was absolutely certain those two would be utterly ideal for the two central roles of this show: I picked the show for them, I could see them in my mind's eye. Paul Moniz da Sa I cast simply on the premise that he's such a strong actor, a terrifically warm presence on stage - and something of a chameleon himself, as we saw in his transformations in our production of THE LION, THE WITCH & THE WARDROBE. But I had no idea just how brilliantly he would fill the role of Boolie in this particular show. Oh my gosh! From the moment he starts munching on pecans (or are those almonds) in the opening scene of DAISY, he had me - matching those other two PT veterans step for step in a trio of truly memorable performances.


Don't miss the Opening Mainstage show of Pacific Theatre's Blockbuster Season, "PT Goes to the Movies"!

October 11 - November 10

Pacific Theatre Gears up For its “PT Goes to the Movies” Season with the
Pulitzer-Prize Winning Play, Driving Miss Daisy

March on Washington. Flower Power. Martin Luther King, Jr. Against a backdrop of triumph and pain is set a story of stubbornness, independence, and the gentle evolution of a most unlikely friendship.

It is 1948 in Atlanta, and an independent, aging Jewish widow – disagreeable as the dull thud of a toothache – reluctantly surrenders the driver’s seat to Hoke Coburn, a proud, soft-spoken black man and a Southern Baptist who, over the course of 25 years, becomes not only her chauffeur, but against all odds, her best friend.

Winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Driving Miss Daisy was adapted for the silver screen in 1989, but has remained vibrant on stages across England and North America for nearly two decades. Pacific Theatre is proud to open its 24th main stage season with this award-winning masterpiece.

Pacific Theatre / 1440 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver

Tickets: 604 731-5518 / / or book online

And don't forget, I'll be hosting the first of our Stage & Screen nights November 6, with special guests Jan Keisser (cinematographer) and the director of our production, Sarah Rodgers!

Artistic Director,

Ron Reed

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