The Surry Arts Players will present “Driving Miss Daisy” this weekend at the Andy Griffith Playhouse, with free student tickets available for opening night only on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
The Surry Arts Council is introducing the opening night offering to encourage Surry County middle school, high school and community college students to attend community theater productions.
Additional performances will be held Sunday at 3 p.m. and Monday at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $15 including tax and can be purchased from the Surry Arts Council at www.surryarts.org or 786-7998.
Students are encouraged to call in advance to reserve their seats.
The Pulizter Prize-winning play, written by Alfred Uhry, spans 25 years, encompassing the civil rights movement in the Deep South.
The 1989 film adaptation starring Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman won four Oscars: best picture, best actress, best adapted screenplay and best makeup.
The play explores and studies the events through one particular relationship: Miss Daisy and her chauffeur, Hoke.
Daisy Werthan is a rich, sharp-tongued Jewish widow who does not want to rely upon a chauffeur; Hoke is a thoughtful, unemployed black man who needs the job.
Despite their mutual differences, Hoke breaks down Daisy’s stern defenses and the two become close friends.
As the years pass and the two become closer, they grow to depend upon one another more than either could have imagined.
Director John Adams is excited about the play.
“It’s more relevant than ever because of everything going on lately in our country regarding race relations,” he said.
“These characters are representations of their times and long-held beliefs, that’s part of what makes the play great.”
Garry Wadell, who portrays Hoke, said the themes of the play are “absolutely” relevant.
“Their relationship, from the beginning, is a culture clash. It’s two different cultures coming together – the Old South and the Old South from the other side of the tracks,” Wadell said.
“It gives a sense of history – old people will remember it and young people should know about it.”
It is not, though, just an examination of race relations in the South.
Wadell pointed out that the relationship between Hoke and Daisy is interesting in part because the two are close in age, so they know how to move in and through their community and they know the rules.
“These characters are great, and it’s also a story about family and community – what brings us together,” Adams said.