Authenticity Theater opened its 2023-24 season this month with Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, “How I Learned to Drive.” Performances begin Oct. 12, and will run through Oct. 15 at 7 Stages Backstage Theater on Euclid Avenue in Little Five Points.
Using the metaphor of driving lessons as a lens to dissect issues of sexual abuse, manipulation, and infidelity, “How I Learned to Drive” focuses on the troubling, conflicted relationship between Lil’ Bit and her Uncle Peck. The play follows Lil’ Bit from pre-adolescence into adulthood, while a Greek chorus of three brings to life the other personalities surrounding the pair – including school peers, family members and onlookers.
According to Sasha Keefer, executive and creative director, “I selected this show because it provides a unique perspective about a topic relevant today – power, inappropriate relationships and the trauma that’s involved. The cast has created a space of support for each other as they continue to grow as an ensemble. They are mesmerizing to watch as they bring this performance to life.”
Other shows scheduled for the 2023-24 season are “The Whale,” scheduled to run Jan. 18-21; a reading of “The Diary of Anne Frank,” scheduled to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance on Jan. 26-27; and “4,000 Miles” on March 14-17, in collaboration with Conyers-Rockdale Council for the Arts Inspiration Theater Program.
“The Whale,” recently made into a movie, tells the story of a 600-pound obese man who hides from the world in his apartment. The show examines his eating addiction and his complex relationship with his estranged daughter. “The Diary of Anne Frank” is based on the true story of the young Jewish girl who wrote her diary in hiding from the Nazis. And “4,000 Miles” focuses on the newfound relationship between a grandmother and her grandson after his bike ride across the country.
Other shows currently under consideration as potential additions for the season include “The Glass Menagerie,” by Tennessee Williams, and “Bad Jews.” Considered one of Williams’ greatest works, “The Glass Menagerie” is a drama that is set in the late 1930s and deals with memory, mental illness, and family dysfunction. “Bad Jews,” written by Joshua Harmon and originally produced by Roundabout Theatre Company, is a contemporary, dark comedy where cousins not only fight over a family heirloom, but also about their religious faith, cultural assimilation, and the validity of each other’s romances.
Authenticity Theater is a non-profit, semi-professional theater company founded by Sasha and Scott Keefer in 2021. They chose the name as a representation of their tag line, “Real Life, On Stage.” The company seeks to present shows that contain subject matter spotlighting some of life’s biggest challenges such as mental illness, sexual abuse, addiction, and overcoming trauma. As part of their mission, Authenticity Theater seeks out charitable organizations to partner with for each show to help create more awareness and action for these crucial causes. To date, the theater has supported The Giving Kitchen and The Powerful Project.
Tickets for “How I Learned to Drive” and other upcoming shows are available through Authenticity Theater’s website, www.authenticitytheater.org. Details on how organizations and individuals may get involved to help further the theater’s mission may also be found on the site.
- Debbie Diamond
- Authenticity Theater
- Paula Vogel
- pulitzer prize
- How I Learned to Drive
- 7 Stages Backstage Theater
- Sasha Keefer
- The Whale
- The Diary of Anne Frank
- Holocaust Remembrance
- Conyers-Rockdale Council for the Arts Inspiration Theater Program
- The Glass Menagerie
- Tennessee Williams
- Bad Jews
- Joshua Harmon
- Roundabout Theatre Company
- Scott Keefer
- The Giving Kitchen
- The Powerful Project