Driving Miss Daisy March 12th, ’13

theatre misc

I think I am a very lucky person. I also think I saw theatre history being made. I watched Angela Lansbury, who is 87, and James Earl Jones, a spritely 82, cover the span of almost 30 years on stage and not one second did I not believe what I saw.

It’s in comparison a short play, about 90 minutes and without an interval, that tells the story of hardheaded Miss Daisy, 72, who crashes her brand new car and is therefore given a chauffeur – her son insists. It takes her six days (the time the Lord needed to create the world, so Hoke, her driver) until she accepts the help – not very gracefully at first. But over the timespan of 30 years those two headstrong, opinionated people evolve – not only to friends who respect each other but also to politically aware people who see the change in America even though change took a while longer in the southern states.

There’s also subtle changes in how Lansbury and to a lesser degree Jones succumb to their age – Lansbury taking longer down the stairs, then needing a cane. And finally – after having a stroke and being confined to a care home – a shift in her facial muscles and a little slur to her speech. But still these two people have their dignityas dignity isn’t something that can be taken away from them – it’s within them.

standing ovation. rightfully so.

It’s a tour the force and both – plus Boyd Gaines as the son Boolie – are very obviously having a lot of fun delivering their biting lines. I know there’s a very popular movie with Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman, but I really would start any petition known to man to have this play in this cast being filmed.

One tiny thing that both drove me bonkers and made me smile: the glossy program that’s really brilliantly done, has a very embarrassing error in the message of the producer, John Frost: he writes about James Earl James, not Jones. So I point this out to some important guy in a suit and it turns out – the program had been produced like this since Brisbane and nobody had picked up on the error. seems I’m quite good at my job… LOL

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