“Helping people to see is the transformative power of theatre” – Benny Sato Ambush, director, Driving Miss Daisy

Lindsay Crouse as Daisy Werthan and Johhny Lee Davenport as Hoke Coleburn
photo Gary Ng

I’ll bet there are many people, who read GMG regularly and have not seen any of this season’s plays at Gloucester Stage.  If you’re one of those people, you’ve got until next Sunday (9/22) to rectify that situation.  And it’s the perfect week to do so because Driving Miss Daisy is the best production of this excellent season.

Let’s start with the play itself.  “Driving Miss Daisy” was written by Alfred Uhry, who is the only playwright ever to win an Oscar, a Tony, and a Pulitzer Prize.  Perhaps you saw the 4-time Oscar-winning movie starring Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy and Dan Aykroyd.  If you haven’t, I suggest you wait until after you see the play at Gloucester Stage (get tickets here).  The play is much more powerful.

Gloucester Stage’s production of Driving Miss Daisy stars Academy Award nominee Lindsay Crouse (who has appeared in dozens of films, including 3 of my favorites: The Insider,  Being Human and The Verdict),  Johnny Lee Davenport and Robert Pemberton — all of whom give stellar, riveting performances.

We saw the play on Sunday with our ten-year-old son, John.  He was skeptical.  While reading the playbill before it began, John complained that it couldn’t be interesting with only three characters.  “But I loved it!” he exclaimed after it was over.  “It’s a great life lesson.”
  “What lesson would that be?” I asked.
   “Don’t be mean. You’ll regret it.”

We stayed for the “Talk Back” with the actors and director, during which Lindsay Crouse profoundly elaborated on that very concept, describing her character, Miss Daisy, as struggling to forgive herself after having pushed blame off onto others in her life.

Near the end of the Talk Back, director Benny Sato Ambush responded to a comment from the audience about how the characters faced their fears by noting the root of the Greek word for theatre is θεάομαι (theáomai, “to see”) and seeing the root of your fears helps you overcome them, saying “Helping people to see is the transformative power of theatre.”


Whether you’re 10 or 100, seeing Driving Miss Daisy at Gloucester Stage will be a transformative experience for you.  And if you live on Cape Ann, you can get half price tickets on Wednesday & Thursday.  Call the box office 978-281-4433!

2 thoughts on ““Helping people to see is the transformative power of theatre” – Benny Sato Ambush, director, Driving Miss Daisy

  1. For a ten year old to grasp this life lesson is not only a good to hear (having been clueless at 10 myself) but a great reflection on your parenting skills. It must be quite rewarding to know your child is so receptive of these issues in life and society. I’m sure you are very proud of him and his response.


    1. Thank you, Hilary, for your kind words. We’d love to think his awareness reflects our parenting, but John has been unusually tuned in to how people feel since the day he was born. If he picked this up from the play, imagine what he knows about us!


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