Paul’s Pick of the Week: “Driving Miss Daisy” at Centre Stage, June 13-30.
Why you should go: Alfred Uhry’s 1987 play is a modern classic, the story of an unlikely friendship between an elderly Jewish woman, Daisy, and her African-American chauffeur, Hoke.
It’s a heartwarming, poignant, and gently humorous drama.
Set against the tumultuous backdrop of the civil rights era in Atlanta, the three-person play explores changing times and the power of friendship.
It also looks at the subtle prejudices that can mar even the best of relationships. Both Daisy and Hoke are outsiders, but Daisy, though well-meaning, has blind spots regarding race.
“Sometimes we’re blind to what we really believe,” said Myra Greene, who plays Daisy and directs the play. “That prejudice lives inside, and we sometimes don’t recognize it. The play deals with subjects that are sometimes taboo as far as race relations and bigotry.”
“Driving Miss Daisy,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1988, charts the lives of Daisy and Hoke from 1948 to 1973.
Clark Nesbitt, who plays Hoke, performed the play with Greene in 2017 at the Greenwood Community Theatre.
“Being Southerners, we feel like we know these characters and feel close to them,” Greene said. “I’ve known Daisy my whole life, and Clark feels the same way about Hoke.”
Bruce Meahl plays Daisy’s adult son Boolie, who also is on the receiving end of prejudice as a Jewish business owner in Atlanta.
“There are so many levels and layers to this show,” Greene said.
Many may know “Driving Miss Daisy” from the memorable 1989 Academy Award-winning film adaptation, starring Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman.
Daisy, feisty and sympathetic, is one of the great roles of the stage, Greene said.
“It’s one of those characters you wish you could play for the rest of your life – a fabulous role,” Greene said. “I first saw the play in my 20s, and I put the role on my bucket list. It’s been a great journey for me.”
If you go
- What: “Driving Miss Daisy,” by Alfred Uhry
- When: 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday; June 13-30
- Where: Centre Stage, 501 River St., downtown Greenville
- Tickets: $15-$30
- Info: 864-233-6733 or centrestage.org