By Sheena Barnett
CORINTH – Continuing its theme of Southern tales, Corinth Theatre-Arts brings Miss Daisy, Hoke and Boolie to life in its production of “Driving Miss Daisy.”
The play focuses on the three main characters: Miss Daisy (Myra Byrnes), an elderly Jewish woman; her son, Boolie (John Petty); and Hoke (Benny Southward), a black man working as Daisy’s chauffeur. Daisy and Hoke form a friendship over a 25-year span in mid-century Atlanta, learning from each other and overcoming prejudices.
“(Daisy) doesn’t think she’s a little bit racist, but she faces racism, being Jewish in the South,” said director Cristina Skinner. “It’s touching to look at the relationship dynamics in the play.”
There are moments of humor and sadness in the play, which was made into a film in 1989.
Southward played Hoke in a different theater’s take on the play about 17 years ago.
“I actually knew a lot of people similar to Hoke,” he said. “I try to think of what he would think. (Hoke) was driven to accomplish a goal, and the play really transcends and opens up racial barriers.”
Daisy undergoes many changes throughout the play, Byrnes said.
“Maybe she thinks being old, she doesn’t have to change anything about herself. Her friends have passed away, and (Hoke) was the closest person to her outside of her son. She comes to realize he’s her best friend,” she said.
For Petty, who stars as Daisy’s son Boolie, he can relate to his role and the play on a personal level.
“My mother’s 86 and I’m 51, so we have a very similar relationship (to Daisy and Boolie’s),” he said. “Everyone has a mother.”
Audiences will find humor, a few tears and thought-provoking moments in “Driving Miss Daisy,” Petty said.
“It’s good, solid entertainment,” Byrnes said.
• What: Corinth Theatre-Arts presents “Driving Miss Daisy”
• When: 7:30 p.m. tonight-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday
• Where: Corinth Theatre-Arts
• Cost: $12/adults, $6/students
• Info: (662) 287-2995, corinththeatrearts.com