BSC theater production sheds light on seriousness of sexual assault

 Dec 07 2017
BSC theater production sheds light on seriousness of sexual assault
Bismarck State College presents Paula Vogel's Pulitzer Prize winning drama “How I Learned to Drive” Dec. 7-10 under the direction of former BSC Professor of Theatre Daniel Rogers. The production brings awareness to the sexual assault and the struggles of its victims. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Sidney J. Lee Auditorium.
 
“How I Learned to Drive” is the story of a girl who learns the rules of the road and of life from behind the wheel. It explores the complex relationship between a young woman and her uncle, as she progresses from innocence to something much more dark and troubling. Told with surprising humor, this dark comedy is an often-funny and ultimately devastating tale of survival. 
 
How I Learned to Drive” is an unforgettable journey through L'il Bit's memories as she struggles to come to terms with the abusive legacy of sexual assault perpetrated upon her,” says Rogers. “It has always been my contention that theatre provides a safe place to encounter and contemplate difficult issues. The stage is a laboratory where we can witness, ponder, and judge human behavior and do so from a safe and enlightening distance.”
 
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center reports that 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 6 boys will experience sexual abuse before they turn 18.
 
“With the current revelations of sexual harassment and assault sweeping the country, Vogel’s brilliant play could not be more timely or relevant. With each new revelation, there is a new call for dialogue, education, awareness, and action. I believe theatre can help,” says Rogers.
 
Currently and throughout the play’s run, BSC’s Theatre and Visual Arts departments, BSC Title IX committee and the Adult Abused Resource Center is collaboratively hosting The Closeline Project on campus. The Closeline Project, which originated in Massachusetts in 1990, is a display of t-shirts created by survivors of violence or created in honor of someone who experienced domestic or sexual violence. The t-shirts will be on display directly outside the Sidney J. Lee Auditorium.
 
This production marks the first directorial return of Rogers to the Sidney J. Lee Auditorium stage since his retirement in 2015.
 
“It’s like visiting a house you used to live in that you don’t anymore,” says Rogers. “It’s been a delight to work with a group of enthusiastic, brave and fun college actors approaching a difficult and very challenging play.”
 
Cast members are BSC students Breanna Sailer (Hazen) as L’il Bit, Niccolle Mickelson (Bismarck) as Female Chorus, CeCe Carlson (Bowman) as Teenage Chorus and Nelson Abrego (Bismarck) as Male Chorus. Bismarck-Mandan community member Max Rebhun joins the cast as Uncle Peck.
 
This play is produced by BSC Assistant Professor of Theatre Danny Devlin. Dean Bellin, associate professor of theatre, handles scene design as well as technical direction and design. Lighting designer Carly Willoughby (Bismarck), sound designer Alyssa Engel (Hutchinson, Minn.), stage manager Tim Bjugstad (Mandan) and assistant stage manager Hannah Hertz (Carson) round out the crew.
 
Reserved seat tickets can be purchased in advance at bsctheatre.com, by calling the box office at 224-5677 or visiting the BSC Campus Information Center in the Student Union on campus. Tickets also can be purchased on performance days at the box office in Schafer Hall.
 
“How I Learned to Drive” is recommended for mature audiences.