How I Learned to Drive and €¨How our Sociological Normality Has Perpetuated Assault
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AuthorLoftus, Caroline E.
Term and YearFall 2021
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThe play How I Learned to Drive uses the story of Lil'Bit, her family, and her Uncle Peck to show how the sexualization and manipulation of young women by society and individuals allows for them to be taken advantage of at an extremely high percentage, both historically and to this day. I wanted to use the combined knowledge from my theatre education and my sociology minor to find the most genuine way to bring this piece of theatre into the modern world. When it was first done in 1997 some critics found themselves empathizing with Uncle Peck. We felt it was extremely important to do this text now and expose how deep-rooted these issues truly are. One of the top priorities in this show was to bring it into the modern age and clarify the levels of consent. We have seen through historically implementing public policies and sociological factors that we as a society affect the way that woman, specifically young women carry themselves in our world. We culturally police female bodies more than any others, dictating what is acceptable to wear in school through strict dress codes, lack of adequate sexual education, and unrealistic beauty standards. This play shows the long-term effects that this can have on young females. As a result of the MeToo movement, society has shifted the way that we view consent, power, and assault. It seems we are trying to shift away from the patriarchal mindset and into a more modern progressive one, where we believe victims and take action against perpetrators. Doing this piece was an inspiration to help the SUNY Purchase community to see that the danger can be anywhere, and it's important to advocate for victims of assault. Although this play was some of the most intense material I have worked on, it forced me to find new ways to both connect and separate myself from this character. Working on such intense material and age shifts required a new level of focus and maturity. It was so important for me to find the complex dynamics, but the simple honesty in her story, the moments of confusion versus clarity, and how power affects assault. With the exposure of recent sexual assaults from many high-ranking officials in politics, film, and many other powerful industries we have seen countless people get away with crimes because they have power and money. Putting this piece up in 2021 on a college campus felt like an important statement that we need to continue to make. Telling our stories is important, and powerful, and through doing so we can make a change and make it more acceptable for more people to tell their stories in the future.