How I Learned to Drive

Middle Tennessee State University
Deborah K. Anderson Studio Theatre
October 2017

Direction by Halena Kays
Costume Design by Tommy Macon
Lighting Design by Darren E. Levin
Projection Design by Erin Moore
Scenic Design by Scott Boyd
Sound Design by Jon Gill
Stage Management by Shelby Latham

How I Learned to Drive is a cinematic style script that follows a young woman as she navigates growing into her own body and sexual experiences.  The show deals with very challenging subject matter surrounding sexual behaviors, presenting the material in a respectful yet frank manner.  As it follows her life, an expansive amount of time (almost 30 years) is covered in the 90 minute show. 

The concept of the lighting came from two sources.  Angle and intensity were pulled from extant black and white photography from the 1950’s – 1970’s.  The color inspiration is inspired from pin up, murals, and advertisement artwork of the 1950’s – 1970’s.  Systems of unsaturated light in pastel blue, amber, and lavender were utilized as the key light for the production.

The upstage wall became a key focal point in the design. The expanse of color in the renderings on the wall allowed for the show to be a study in color mixing.  I utilized a system of LED units with texture to allow the wall to ebb a flow indicating time of day and emotion throughout the show.  These units have a seven color LED engine which allow for me to dial in very specific color tones to allow the wall to pop and recede throughout the show. 

A great challenge of the production is the restrictions of the theatre.  The space is only equipped with 32 dimmers.  Therefore, strategic instrument placement and ganging was of the utmost importance.  To achieve the isolation present in the show, I utilized a system of back template that emulated the pattern on the upstage wall.  I also utilized a system of color scrollers and LED side light that provided the intense saturate coloration motivating the transitions.