A daisy by any other name
On Stage Van Wert Civic Theatre
Saturday, October 06, 2012 9:00 PM
Thanks so much to all who attended Wrong Window and contributed to its success! The audience reviews were consistently good, and the cast is weary but happy being able to entertain our wonderful Van Wert area audience base again.
The cast list is in for our next production, Driving Miss Daisy! In the title role, director George Dunster has cast Jan Miller, a VWCT veteran most recently seen in The Dixie Swim Club. The role of Hoke Colburn has been filled by Everett Collier, who appeared last year in the compelling show, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Booley, Daisy's son, will be portrayed by Joe Warnement, another VWCT veteran who has also directed here and in Lima at the Encore Theatre, to great acclaim. It looks like a great cast for a great play, one you'll want to see.
The character of Daisy Werthan is rather complex. She is a self-made woman, someone who's risen above her poor beginnings to marry a man of wealth and importance in the town. However, she is not proud of this; rather, she looks upon her days "on Forsyth Street" as her real self-the days when she didn't have two dimes to rub together. Mentioning her being a rich woman makes her see red, and she often corrects people when they talk about her wealth.
Despite the fact that she is a proudly Jewish lady in a largely Gentile society, Daisy is also a product of her times. Although she feels that she is not prejudiced, she occasionally makes unflattering generalizations about African-Americans. When Hoke is accused of stealing a can of salmon, Daisy makes the observation that having black employees is "like having little children in the house. They want something, they just take it. Not a smidgen of manners. No conscience."
The final characteristic that is immediately apparent in Daisy is her fierce independence. When the play opens, we see her at age seventy-two, a retired schoolteacher, who is slowly confronting the fact that she can no longer drive a car safely. Her son makes the decision to take her keys away, and Daisy is abruptly dependent on others to move about Atlanta-to go grocery shopping, to go to the beauty salon, to visit her friends and the synagogue.
When Hoke Coleburn comes into her life, she must learn to graciously accept another's help-and that other is from a lower rung of society and of a different race. Watching Hoke and Daisy circle one another and slowly find a place of peace and acceptance is the message of Driving Miss Daisy. Why can't we all get along? That's what this play asks and answers in a beautiful, moving way.
Driving Miss Daisy opens at Van Wert Civic Theatre on November 8 and runs through November 18. In the next few weeks, we'll explore some of the other themes and characters in this rich chamber piece, so check in every Wednesday!
See you at the show!