Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tradin' Paint puts female empowerment in driver's seat

Posted By on Tue, May 5, 2009 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge FAST AND FURIOUS: Coty (Eric Mendenhall, left) and Darla (Veronika Duerr)
  • FAST AND FURIOUS: Coty (Eric Mendenhall, left) and Darla (Veronika Duerr)

Theatre in the Square’s comedy Tradin’ Paint, like the theatrical chestnut Educating Rita, depicts a working-class woman who finds empowerment and confidence through learning. While Rita takes place in a university professor’s office in Liverpool, Paint’s action primarily occurs amid the stock car races of Tennessee's Bristol Motor Speedway.

Written by Catherine Bush, Paint sets a contrast between two women: one who’s in a pit crew, and one who’s just in the pits. Lucky Tibbs (Kate Donadio) runs her racing husband Skeeter Jett's (Chad Martin) pit crew and serves as a completely capable, small-town feminist icon. Meanwhile, Darla Frye (Veronika Duerr) works as an auto parts clerk and suffers from the neglect of her bitter boyfriend, Coty (Eric Mendenhall). Coty shows less appreciation for Darla than for her fried chicken, the bones of which he throws at the track in a speedway tradition. He’s an ignorant boor, who can’t stand KFC, calling Colonel Sanders a “faggot” for wearing a string tie.

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(Photo by MJ Conboy)

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