Here's the review..
Subtlety drives powerful 'Daisy'
By Pat Craig
Contra Costa Times
Article Launched:10/23/2007 03:04:25 AM PDT
The movie version of Alfred Uhry's Pulitzer Prize-winning "Driving Miss Daisy" is so fondly remembered and loved, the original theatrical version is rarely produced.
Seeing a beautifully rendered production of the play, however, particularly the production that opened over the weekend at Walnut Creek's Crossroads Theatre, quickly reminds you just how powerful and immediate the work is.
The story is about the quarter century after World War II, seen through the eyes of Daisy Werthan (Scarlett Hepworth), an aging Jewish woman and lifelong Atlanta resident; her chauffeur, Hoke Coleburn (Darold Francis Holloway), a decade-younger black man who has spent much of his career as driver for wealthy Atlantans; and Boolie Werthan (Ray Renati), Daisy's son, whose feet are planted firmly in the moral certainty and obligations of faith and the changing dynamics of Atlanta's contemporary business and social scene.
These changes, which swept through the Jim Crow South following WWII, are chronicled along with relationship between Hoke and Miss Daisy from 1948 to 1973, with little effort on Uhry's part to hammer home any message.
It is simply the fact that all of this change is going on (and that many things are remaining painfully the same) that makes the play so compelling. That there are no wildly emotional outbursts or eloquent proclamations of injustice is what makes the piece so challenging for actors.
In fact, the most anger seen is when Hoke growls a bit at Miss Daisy when they are running late and he must use the bathroom. It's hardly a triumphant pronouncement of newfound freedom and equality, but the simple, charming scene speaks volumes on how things have changed.
Hepworth, Holloway and Renati all deliver masterful performances, giving Uhry's words an understated strength as they capture the nuance and subtlety of their characters. The intimacy of the Crossroads Theatre certainly helps create the warmth of the play, but most of the credit for the success of the production must go to the actors and the direction of Marilyn Langbehn, who moves her characters gracefully across a set where three elements -- Daisy's house; Boolie's office; and the car, represented by two stools -- are onstage nearly throughout the play.
One of the keys to making the story work so well is a subtlety in all things. The characters age quite subtly over the years; long-held attitudes change subtly over the years; and the relationships among the characters, particularly Daisy and Hoke, change subtly over the years.
The Hoke/Daisy relationship becomes a love story of sorts; not in the romantic sense, but in the growing fondness and respect the two strong souls gain for each other over time.
Reach Pat Craig at 925-945-4736 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT: CTA Crossroads Theatre Company presents "Driving Miss Daisy," by Alfred Uhry
WHEN: Thursdays through Saturdays, through Nov. 17
WHERE: 1277 Boulevard Way, Walnut Creek
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
HOW MUCH: $29
CONTACT: 925-944-0597, http://www.ctacrossroads.org