‘Driving Miss Daisy’ at Aurora Theatre
Gets Green Light
Step on the gas to see ”Driving Miss Daisy” at Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville. Just 30 minutes from Atlanta, it’s well worth the drive to see this production, even if you saw it nearly 20 years ago at the Alliance Theatre with Mary Nell Santacroce.
Set in Atlanta from the late ‘40s to the ‘70s, the play touches on race, religion and prejudice. Daisy Werthen (Jill Jane Clements) is a 72-year-old Jewish woman striving to maintain her independence after her son, Boolie (Jared Simon), forbids her to drive after her third recent accident. Boolie hires a middle-aged black man, Hoke (Rob Cleveland), to serve as her chauffeur. Daisy says that is too pretentious and she’d rather take a bus and doesn’t need anyone lurking around her home.
Pursing her lips again and again, Clements portrayed Daisy as one dimensional for the first part of the show, but she did a wonderful job of aging over 25 years and was heart wrenching when Hoke and Boolie visited her in a retirement home. Cleveland, a long-time Atlanta comic and actor, only plays Hoke up until Sept. 28. Then, Geoffrey Williams takes on the role.
Set designer Britt Hultgren Ramroop does a nice job of using a multitude of slides of old Atlanta to set the scenes and time period.
Set in Aurora’s small black-box theater, the play lasts under 90 minutes with no intermission. Seats are general admission.
“Driving Miss Daisy” won an Outer Critics Circle Award and the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The film version, starring Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman, won an Academy Award for Best Picture.
Written by Atlanta native Alfred Uhry, directed by Justin Anderson, “Driving Miss Daisy” runs through Oct. 19 at Aurora Theatre.