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Play Review: How I Learned to Drive


Fri, May 24th, 2002
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Monday, April 22, 2002

It would certainly be convenient if lifes toughest questions came in black and white, with villains and victims clearly labeled. Surely there would be fewer obstacles.

Yet, with no obstacles, there would be nothing to overcome. No struggle, no survivors, no heroes. How I Learned To Drive, which opened April 12 at the Commonweal Theater in Lanesboro, reminds audiences just how inspiring the story of a survivor can be.

The survivor in this play is Lil Bit, a thirty-four year old woman whose obstacle is the incest she experienced at the hands of her Uncle Peck. The scenes of the play travel further and further back in time as Lil Bit bravely attempts to face her history. Most surprising in this Pulitzer winning drama by Paula Vogel is that a play with such heavy subject matter manages to be at times as humorous as it is poignant.

What is painful for Lil Bit, and therefore the audience, is that she loved her uncle and sought solace from him in her dysfunctional family. The audience would like to be able to hate Uncle Peck, but theyre only given brief glimpses of him as the slick pedophile. For the most part, we see him as Lil Bit likely saw hima somewhat pathetic, sensitive man who has surely been abused himself. At one point in the play, Lil Bit wonders aloud who "did it" to her uncle.

Adrienne Krocheski, in her second season with Commonweal, plays Lil Bit with depth and sincerity. She allows the audience to feel the pain and confusion of her character, but also aptly conveys her characters lively, often wry, sense of humor. It is clear how Lil Bits early life in her dysfunctional family helped set her up to be a victim of incest. In scenes like the one where Lil Bits developing body is dinner table conversation, the audience sees how she had no privacy, no "ownership" of her own body.

Even her name, Lil Bit, sounds like an affectionate family nickname, until the audience learns that she, as well as Uncle Peck, were nicknamed by their own family for reasons thatwont be discussed in a family newspaper.
Hal Cropp delivers a brave performance as Uncle Peck, refusing to let the audience dismiss Peck as purely evil, but instead as a probable victim himself who is perpetuating a horrendous cycle. In a press release, Cropp, a Commonweal Core Artist in his eleventh season, said that hes "proud to be doing the area premier of this play, and I look forward to motivating some compass .....
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Foods Weekly Ads

"Emperor of the Moon"

Fri, May 24th, 2002
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Monday, May 27, 2002



Like that first, cold lemonade of summer, the play "Emperor of the Moon" pleases with its combination of sweet laughter and tart humor. But there's another aspect to this play that calls for a different comparison: lik ..... 
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Book Review: Recently released Minnesota books

Fri, May 24th, 2002
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Last month I attended the annual convention of the Upper Midwest Bookseller Association in downtown St. Paul, a gathering of authors, publishers and independent booksellers.

I was impressed, as I was last year, by the number of fine books of ..... 
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Rushford Library looking at expansion

Fri, May 24th, 2002
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Monday, November 20

To build or to remodel? That is the question a Library Taskforce has been considering for the past couple months in the city of Rushford.

The existing public library in the Tew Building, located near Rushfords cent ..... 
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Gateway Towns

Fri, May 24th, 2002
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Austin


Greetings from Austin, Minnesota! Located on I-90, visitors from the west will come through this major city located on the Cedar River.

Austin is the home of the Fortune 500 company -- Geo. A. Hormel & ..... 
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Northeastern Iowa

Fri, May 24th, 2002
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Northeast Iowa shares much of the same topography of Historic Bluff Country. Limestone bluffs, meandering rivers, springs, and rolling hills in the east and softly rolling hills with rich prairie soil in the west. Minnesota and Iowa also share the sa ..... 
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Anytown, MN

Fri, May 24th, 2002
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Nestled in a deep valley of the Root River is the unique city of Anytown. This quaint townsite of less than one thousand residents, located in the state hardwood forest reminds one of the many hillside villages in Norway.

Strolling down the ..... 
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Not in my backyard

Fri, May 24th, 2002
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Monday, June 26, 2000

In the usually quiet burg of Spring Valley, the hot topic of conversation has switched as of late. While recent flooding has left the community with much to contemplate, another issue is sizzling to the forefront. Whats ..... 
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Wykoff, MN

Fri, May 24th, 2002
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When you visit the heart of Bluff Country, take the drive on MN Hwy. 80 and you will find Wykoff, "The Gateway to Forestville."

Our limestone karst region is dotted with "sink holes" which indicate caverns below ground. You can visit one of t ..... 
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