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May 17 through June 9, 2024

Showtimes are

Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8:00 PM
and Sunday at 2:00 pm

(Single tickets: $28 for adults)

Death of a Driver Playbill

Fri., May 17, 8:00 p.m. Opening Night
Sat., May 18, 8:00 p.m.- Student Night!

Sun., Ma 19, 2:00 p.m.
Thu., May 23, 8:00 p.m. - mask required

Fri., May 24, 8:00 p.m.

Sat., May 25, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., May 26, 2:00 p.m. 

Thu., May 30 8:00 p.m. - mask required

Fri., May 31, 8:00 p.m. 
Sat., Jun. 1, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Jun. 2, 2:00 p.m.
Thu., Jun. 6, 8:00 p.m. - mask required

Fri., Jun. 7, 8:00 p.m. 
Sat., Jun. 8, 8:00 p.m.

Sun., Jun. 9, 2:00 p.m.

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THEATRE NOVA PRESENTS 

Death of a Driver

by Will Snider

Michigan Premiere

Can two friends from different worlds try to make change before their worlds tear them apart?

Sarah is an American engineer, and Kennedy is an East African driver. When Sarah moves to Kenya to build a highway, they strike up a friendship with a shared mission to transform rural Kenya. However, a local election dispute tests their alliance, and they clash over the realities of doing good abroad.

Directed by Shelby R. Seeley, “Death of a Driver” by Will Snider features Sarah Stevens and Jalen Wilson-Nelem. The production and design team includes scenic designer Amanda Bates, lighting designer Jeff Alder, costume designer Michaella Victoria, sound designer Kennikki Jones-Jones, properties designer Carla Milarch, accent coach Lynnae Lehfeldt, intimacy coordinator Kat Walsh, and stage manager Briana O’Neal. Production photos by Sean Carter Photography.

All Thursday performances will be mask-required to provide a safe space for our immunocompromised patrons and those who want a higher level of risk mitigation. 

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PULP: ARTS AROUND ANN ARBOR
CULTURES COLLIDE IN THEATRE NOVA’S PRODUCTION OF "DEATH OF A DRIVER"

"Two fine actors bring this story to life, under the direction of Shelby R. Seeley.

Sarah Stevens plays Sarah from an over-eager and hard-driving engineer and entrepreneur to a disillusioned and shattered mature woman. She flirts, drinks, and shares her dreams with this person she thinks she knows. Stevens plays Sarah as game, ready to take risks, and tough enough to stand up to a harsh government. But as things change, she plays Sarah stoically, self-righteous, and still an outsider to the ways of Kenya.

Jalen Wilson-Nelem plays Kennedy, the driver. Nelem has the more flamboyant role, and he makes the most of it. He gives Kennedy a richly musical accent (as Sarah notes, it's a bit of Africa and Oxford). He gives orations, his arms are always in movement, and he finds humor in everything. Wilson-Nelem’s Kennedy is a person who you immediately like, and that’s important for what follows. When things go wrong, Wilson-Nelem draws on the inner rage that has always been lurking in the way Kennedy presents himself. 

The scenes near the end are powerful, and the actors face off with two very divided emotional responses that encapsulate their relationship.

The small, intimate Theatre Nova stage is perfect for this play. A mostly spare space serves as both the low-rent bar where their relationship blossoms over several strong beers and a dank, dark jail cell.

 

Snider’s play reminds us that the unsettling wars in Israel and Ukraine and the ongoing skirmishes in Africa are complicated and determined by the histories, cultural expectations, and often ancient rivalries. 

 

-Hugh Gallagher

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

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