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Passage of time highlights LCT's 'Driving Miss Daisy'

It's hard to dictate the passage of time  time is a facet of life we cannot control.

We grow older each day, and no matter how stubborn we are, time moves at its own rapid pace and we follow suit  aging against our will. And it's not only our physical bodies that are moving along with time, but other people and society are shifting too, some moving faster than the other.

When you're a child, you don't think about growing older. Your innocence allows you to enjoy your childhood without fear of the future. And death is a facet of life you don't quite understand but can comprehend  at one moment grandma is there, and then she's not. There's simplicity in innocence that we lose once we grow older.

When I graduated from college, I started to notice how rapidly time moves. In those two years since, I've noticed my parents getting around a lot slower and my grandparents telling me they hope they'll be around for great-grandchildren. I've particularly noticed time's wicked game with my great-grandmother.

Two summers ago, we moved her out of her farmhouse and into town. And last week, my father decided it was time for her to stop driving since she can't get out of her car by herself. I've never seen my great-grandmother like this, a strong, stubborn, salt-of-the-earth woman being told she cannot do something and submitting without arguing. She understands the truth  she's too old to do what she once could.

I saw a portion of my great-grandmother in Cynthia Kent's portrayal of Daisy for Lawton Community Theatre's production of "Driving Miss Daisy." The drama centers on Daisy after she crashed her car outside her Atlanta home in 1948. Her son Boolie (Rob Harper) decides to hire her a chauffeur, but she'll have none of it. Making an executive decision, Boolie hires Hoke (Armour Brown), an African American man. Daisy reluctantly gives in but stays true to herself  a crotchety and dignified Jewish woman. Despite their differences and prejudice, Daisy and Hoke form a bond.

"Driving Miss Daisy" is a classic story, mostly known by its 1989 film adaptation of the same name featuring Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman. The name itself should draw in patrons, but Friday's premiere saw a thin crowd, which was possibly due to the fact it was Good Friday. The few audience members in attendance saw a one-act play that moved at a glacial pace while slowly tugging at their heart strings.

Kent's Daisy was a bit bland at times but was a spitfire when delivering her quick-witted retorts. It was when Daisy aged that Kent seemed to fully come into the character. As Daisy loses her memory and moves into assisted living, Kent slowly brought the character to full circle.

Harper received the most laughs from the audience with Boolie's side eyes towards his mother and the faces he made behind her back. Yet his affection for his mother seemed detached, which may have been how the character felt towards a stubborn mother. But his interactions with Hoke were insincere as well, although it may be impossible to have sincere friends when you have them on your payroll. The characters appear to put that fact behind them, but it didn't stop them from bringing it up.

Brown's Hoke always had a smile on his face, which put a smile on audience members' faces, too. Brown was pure joy as Hoke. He laughed and laughed and laughed, but not so much that the tough times weren't without sincerity. When Hoke was preparing to take Daisy to temple but the temple was bombed, he let Daisy know that although their skins are a different color, they have the same haters. "It don't make no difference to them folks. A Jew is a Jew to them. Just like light or dark, we're all the same Negro."

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