PULLMAN, Wash. — The 36th season of Summer Palace at Washington State University opens with the Pulitzer prize winning “Driving Miss Daisy” July 5-7 and 12-14.
Directed by Dr. George Caldwell, “Driving Miss Daisy” is about two disparate personalities who break through prejudice and bias to form a remarkable friendship. During the course of 25 years, an ornery old widow, Daisy Wertham, comes to love and appreciate her skeptical chauffeur, Hoke. Daisy’s businessman son, Boolie, acts as the middleman to his mother and Hoke, taking care of insurance, hiring Hoke and trying to keep his mother in check. Weaving their way through the turbulent period of the civil rights movement in the Deep South, the audience follows the journey of our unlikely odd couple as they spat, argue, laugh, cry and eventually love one another.
“Driving Miss Daisy” stars Cristofer L. Davenport as Hoke, Kristofer Barber as Boolie and Teresa Wolf-Spencer as Daisy.
This is Davenport’s first leading role at WSU and he could not be more excited. He is using many techniques to prepare himself for the role. “I need to know why my character is saying certain things and how he’s feeling,” says Davenport regarding Hoke. “I also need to understand what he’s gone through that makes him feel that way.”
Wolf-Spencer has not been in Summer Palace since 1998’s “The Mikado.”
It feels really good to be back out on stage again,” says Wolf-Spencer. “I don’t want to let another three summers go by without acting again.” Along with costuming for shows during the school year, she keeps busy teaching the acting classes during the fall and spring semesters at WSU.
Caldwell and the cast are researching the show by bringing in Georgia natives David and Sylvia Hutton to describe the social dynamics and the geography of the Deep South in the mid 1900s. “We’re not as aware of the traditional class society here in the Northwest,” Caldwell says. “Acting is more than just talent. It takes a lot of research to paint an accurate picture, to discover the truth of life and bring it out.”
“Driving Miss Daisy” is showing at Daggy Hall’s R.R. Jones Theatre on the WSU campus. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for all shows are $8 for adults, $6 for senior citizens, and $4 for students. Season ticket Dramacards can be purchased at the Daggy Hall Box Office, 509/335-7236. This summer the school will also be performing the musical “Winnie the Pooh” on July 19-22 and Stephen Stondheim’s “Company” on July 26-28 and Aug. 2-4.