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Driving Miss Daisy a Southern Comfort at the Little Theatre

Kirsten Obadal
By Kirsten Obadal
Posted on Sep 20,2017
Filed Under Entertainment , Local Style,


Photo by Matt Liptak
Daisy (Patricia Kratzer) and Hoke (Kevin Sockwell)

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - In Atlanta, in 1948, folks had manners.  They might have had some racist ideas, but in general they were polite.  Then there was that element of  those who were not so polite….and both kinds are still with us.  Miss Daisy, an elderly Jewish Atlanta matron, needs a driver after crashing into a neighbor’s house with her car.  Enter Hoke, a black chauffeur, to the rescue.  Miss Daisy refuses to rely on his services initially, out of stubborn pride for doing things her own way and because she does not want to seem “rich”.  She finally acquiesces to let him drive her around after he makes himself indispensible in a variety of ways.

Actress Patricia Kratzer portrays Daisy Werthan and told Local Kicks that, “Daisy is a racist, for sure, but soon enough Hoke becomes a friend on whom she knows she can rely.”  This relationship paves the way for the two aging characters to share each others journeys through a maturing South, where segregation is in its death throes and modernity is marching on.  They experience intolerance and share their mutual horror at the people who would do such things.  “It’s always the same ones,” bewails Hoke, deftly portrayed by actor Kevin Sockwell.

Miss Daisy’s son pays Hoke’s salary, to ensure that she cannot fire the driver.  Joel Durgavich is right on cue as a foil between the mother and the driver.  Durgavich is proof that LTA supporters can make their stage dreams a reality and really hold their own on a stage with lifetime actors.  Patricia Kratzer has a long history of acting in local theater, and undermines her natural British accent to capture the melodious cadences of Georgia’s dialect.  Kevin Sockwell as Hoke brings a wealth of experience on the stage.  He has played Hoke twice before on local stages, and works as a director.

Sockwell noted that, “I thought back to the carriage, accent, and behavior of my grandfather and father in trying to get the character just right.”  

Jim Howard directed this production of Driving Miss Daisy, and remembers his own experience of segregation as a white boy attending an all-white school in the South.  LTA veteran Carol Strachan lends her talents as producer.  John Downing’s set design deserves a nod for its versatility and for capturing the look and feel of classic cars.

With recent events in Charlottesville, we can all stand to spend an evening meditating on brotherly love and toleration.  Laura Paez, a theater goer from Alexandria, remarked, “I have seen the movie version several times, and it always brings me to tears.”  The LTA brought the audience to its feet, and that is a sure litmus test of success. Enjoy.

Driving Miss Daisy runs until September 30, 2017; visit

Photo by Matt Liptak
Daisy (Patricia Kratzer) and Hoke (Kevin Sockwell)

Photo by Matt Liptak
Daisy (Patricia Kratzer) and Hoke (Kevin Sockwell)

Photo by Matt Liptak
Boolie (Joel Durgavich), Daisy (Patricia Kratzer) and Hoke (Kevin Sockwell)

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