“I think part of the draw of and certainly part of this shows’ charm is that you’re going to see neighbors and characters you know and recognize,” said Sandra Karas Director of Savannah Repertory Theatre’s latest production Driving Miss Daisy. “It’s small, simple, and funny but it’s also poignant and features a lot of the issues we recognize in life, especially needing one another. It was a very powerful voice for all of these issues when it was first produced in 1988 and I think it still stands the test of time, I think this is a show that can be performed 20 or 30 years from now and still resonate.”
“The piece resonates with me on a personal level as I feel it will with many,” says local actor Chris Bass. Bass, plays Boolie Werthan, son of the aging Daisy Werthan, who finds himself having to navigate the complexities of his mothers waning independence.
“It speaks to me because my own mother has actually recently stopped driving. I haven’t found her a driver yet,” he adds laughing “but she has some great neighbors that take her places. Honestly, though I feel that’s where this play touches the heart for people and brings them into the performance. I think that’s what live theatre is all about, bringing people together with a story, and that’s what this is.”
The casts other co-stars include Tybee Island local Patricia Miller as the ever defiant Miss Daisy and Jacksonville local Patric Robinson as her calm collective chauffeur Hoke Coleburn. “Three regional actors as the stars of an equity house production, where else can you put all of that together in a professional theatre company?” asked Karas.
Savannah Repertory Theatre is Savannah’s first equity theatre company, which means they work hand in hand with The Actors Equity Association, a U.S. labor union founded in 1913, that represents more than 50,000 professional Actors and Stage Managers across the country.
“I think that was a big pull for Savannah,” adds Karas “there’s a lot of professional performance here in Savannah, we have film, television, and SAG members, but for Savannah Rep to open an equity house was not only bold but I think it was needed and I think they’re building it very nicely by using union members as well as local non-union members which is very exciting.”
“From my perspective,” said Bass, “I am the local actor that Sandra speaks of, I am not an equity performer but I get the chance to work with people who have been in the industry as long as Sandra has, as well as longer, so it’s a great opportunity for local performers to get to work with this level of organized experience as well.”
The play will also be donating 40% of the productions ticket sales going to benefit their charity partnership with Hospice Savannah.
Karas, “We choose a charity partnership to benefit for each Savannah Rep performance and we work really hard to try and find an organization that speaks to the themes of the show being produced.”