How I Learned to Drive
Immerse yourself in Paula Vogel’s incredibly smart and twisted narrative that takes audiences on a rollercoaster ride of memories and emotions!
why you should watch how i learned to drive
Shortly after it premiered at the Vineyard Theatre Off-Broadway in March of 1997, How I Learned to Drive won Vogel a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The play is centered around the ideas of manipulation, sexual deviance, incest, pedophilia, and misogyny. The entire story is presented in a non-linear fashion, with the protagonist’s memories arranged in a seemingly random order. The play was inspired by Vladamir Nabokov’s famous work – Lolita.
This year’s production of How I Learned to Drive will premiere at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre with a stellar cast consisting of Tony Award winning actress Mary-Louise Parker and Drama Desk Award-winner David Morse of The Iceman Cometh fame.
The play follows the story of a young woman nicknamed ‘Li’l Bit’ who struggles to overcome a sexually abusive relationship that she shares with her Uncle during her early teenage years. As a ‘memory play’, the sequence of events is thoroughly muddled, but this adds its own degree of depth to the story. A Greek Chorus functions as all the remaining characters in the play. The first scene is set in a small parking lot somewhere in the Maryland countryside. In this memory, Li’l Bit is seventeen. As Uncle Peck unhooks Li’l Bit’s brassiere through her shirt, she begins to feel uncomfortable. She tries to talk about graduation and college, but her uncle pays no heed; choosing instead to admire his niece's body. The rest of the memories are a series of incidents during the girl’s childhood that led to this moment. The audience is shown how Uncle Peck, being a child predator, groomed his prey over the years by teaching her how to drive. The process of learning how to drive is presented as an analog to Uncle Peck’s paedophilic advances.
Fans of Paula Vogel | Adult Audiences
“Vogel guides you step by excruciating step through the relationship, creating a how it happened reflection by sardonically mimicking the tutorials of driving manuals.”
- The Washington Post
know before you go
Suitable for ages 12 and above. No entry for children below age 4.
The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre has a seating capacity of 622.
Strictly prohibited. If you'd like to grab a meal before or after the show, check out our guide to the 30 Best Restaurants in the Theater District.
Smart and casual wear is recommended. Keep in mind, the theater is air conditioned throughout the year and can get a bit chilly.
Your e-tickets can be exchanged for physical tickets with our uniformed Headout hosts outside the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.