Several years ago, it seemed like Theatre Guild Valdosta drove “Driving Miss Daisy” everywhere. The show played outdoors on the amphitheatre stage in Saunders Park, at Mathis City Auditorium, the King of the Road; it traveled out of town on occasion.
The Guild took the show everywhere it seemed but never parked “Driving Miss Daisy” at home.
This week, Theatre Guild Valdosta rectifies that.
For the first time, “Driving Miss Daisy” will be staged in the TGV’s downtown headquarters of The Dosta Playhouse.
With Mary Helen Watson returning as director, the entire original local cast reprises roles in this show. Joanne Griner returns as Miss Daisy Wertham. Dr. John Gaston returns as Hoke Colburn. Robert Hatton is back as Boolie, Miss Daisy’s son.
So, are the themes which still resonate today. As the white Miss Daisy’s iciness thaws toward Hoke, the black man hired to drive her, the civil rights era opens the possibility of new relationships throughout the United States.
“Driving Miss Daisy” is good theatre. Through humor and empathy, it reveals the slow development of an unlikely relationship between two people. Through a small cast, the show creates an intimate setting writ large across the backdrop of mid-20th century events that changed the nation.
With Griner, Gaston and Hatton returning to these roles, and Watson returning as director, audiences should expect performances and staging that does justice to these characters, the story and impact of history.
Theatre Guild Valdosta presents “Driving Miss Daisy,” 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 23, 24; 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25, The Dosta Playhouse, 122 N. Ashley St. Ticket: $10. More information: Visit theatreguildvaldosta.com