Theatre Thursday: Driving Miss Daisy, An Unlikely Friendship

driving-miss-daisyI walked into the theatre with that relaxed, happy feeling that only a glorious day of sunshine can bring. The first day of spring perhaps? Bill Millerd even commented on the lovely Vancouver day, right before a gentlemen running late walked right in front of him addressing the opening night audience. A humorous interaction ensued between them, to the amusement of the watchful crowd, prompting a playful energy before the production commenced…

The curtains parted and the play started with the accompaniment of lovely, soft and romantic music from decades past. This music continued at intervals throughout the play and was one of the personal highlights for me. I later discovered from reading the program that one of the lead actors (Brian Linds) was the sound designer for the play and a regular Arts Club Sound designer! Both a fun fact and a testament to the multi-talented man. The set beautifully complemented the music , framed by beautiful greenery and comprising mostly wood. In essence- a pleasant and cheerful mood emanated from the opening… soon to be shot to hell by the indignant and impudent Miss Daisy.

Quite the character isn’t she? Lovable but stubborn as hell- after all, as stated in the play, It took her six days to give in to her sons request of allowing herself to be chauffeured around, the same time it took God to create the earth! There are so funny moments such as these, and the hilariously infuriating interactions at times between Miss Daisy and Hoke her chauffeur are wonderfully entertaining.

For it is the characters that shine in this play, only three of them, their differences exemplified in the contrasting qualities of each individual. Daisy and Hoke certainly make for an odd couple of best friends (a contrasting one to The Arts Club’s other currently running production!), but best friends nonetheless. Theirs is a friendship that has matured throughout many years, one based on mutual trust and understanding, patience and respect.

Miss Daisy could be your grandmother, your uncle, your partner. She is that frustratingly stubborn person who refuses to let anyone help her, let alone help herself. She accepts no favours and doesn’t acknowledge the ones she grants. Though cold, frigid and seemingly strong from the outside,  she reveals more than she knows at times, showing glimpses of a sweet, caring and loving interior.

The production was a truly touching one, something familiar and yet fresh, animated and captivating, the three actors encompassing the stage and the action. It was remarkable how in quite a large space as the Granville Island Stage, those tiny interactions, facial gestures, and emotions could so easily be transmittable to the audience, so clearly expressed and experienced throughout. It left me teary eyed and I’m sure I was not the only one.

Spend an evening with Daisy and Hoke and witness for yourself how sometimes the most unlikely of pairings can blossom into the most compatible of comrades.

As a theatre blogger for GVPTA, my ticket was provided free of charge to this production. That being said, opinions and statements made are my own. This is not a review, but a post meant to promote discussion  within the Vancouver Theatre Community. GVPTA supports its member companies.

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