Ever imagine you’d find yourself utterly engrossed in a story about incestuous pedophilia? Well, sure, we all have. But if a Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about a WWII veteran molesting his 11-year-old niece isn’t seductive enough to lure you to your nearest experimental college theater, then the premise of student director Gerome Olona’s adaptation of Paula Vogel’s 1997 smash hit—that empathy requires intellect, bravery and love—should be. Anyone familiar with Vogel knows that theatrical seduction is imminent in spite of, or perhaps because of, the taboo subjects she treats. Whether it’s AIDS, prostitutes, pedophiles or incest, Vogel makes audiences swoon not for her troubled characters’ untouchable novelty, but rather for their intoxicating realness and humanity. Before you know what’s up, you’re invested up to your eyelids and can’t peel them from the disaster unfolding on the stage, no matter how hard you scrape.
Set to an improvised Motown score on a rotating stage with breakable props, SCRAP Productions’ experimental version of How I Learned to Drive, opening Friday, Feb. 27, at 7:30pm in UNM’s Theatre X (in the basement of UNM’s Center for the Arts, Redondo and Cornell NE), promises to make you care. Tickets are $8-$12 at the UNM box office (925-5858) or unmtickets.com, and the show runs through March 8. ( )