Molestation and pedophilia may not be topics you want to be faced with on a Saturday evening at the theatre. However, the MU Theatre Department took on the challenging play How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel and presented the effects of a taboo subject. The play tells the story of a girl and how the abuse from her uncle shaped who she would become as a young woman. The script itself deals with a very serious societal issue with both humor and grave seriousness.
Despite an extremely difficult subject, the cast of this showed the human side of molestation. Tammy Mullins (Li’l Bit) showed the torn spirit of a young girl who has been molested by someone she trusted her entire life. Mullins constantly had pain and comfort equally reflected in her eyes when Li’l Bit was with her abuser. She truly trusted him and cared for him but at the same time knew what was happening was wrong. While Mullins gracefully and realistically portrayed the journey of a victim of abuse, the actor that showed the most range was Kristen Brody (Female Greek Chorus). Brody played both the funniest and the most heartbreaking characters. She played the drunk mother of Li’l Bit giving her lessons on how to drink like a lady. She stumbled around the stage and slurred her words while speaking about proper etiquette. Brody also played Aunt Mary, the wife of the abuser. Her heartbreak at the knowledge of what her husband has done grappled with her belief that it was not truly his fault. That powerful performance reminded the audience that there is always more than one victim when it comes to sexual abuse. This production of How I Learned to Drive brought forward the harsh realities of pedophilia and its reverberating effects.