The Women's Theatre Project's episodic world premiere of Women Drivers explores the harried life of a driving instructor, Erin (Pilar Uribe), and the pupils who consume her life. There's the enthusiastic teenager (Lela Elam, saucer-eyed and hilarious), an accident-prone mother (Jacqueline Laggy), and an elderly woman stricken with Parkinson's (Miki Edelman). Eventually a supernatural element invades Erin's life, turning a comedy of car manners into a meditation on guilt, parenting, and mother-daughter bonds.
Playwright Terry Lawrence's script relies heavily on potentially clunky "driving as life" metaphors, but it has the wisdom to make them resound; Women Drivers is therapy with seat belts and blinkers. The action takes place almost entirely in cars fueled by our imagination: Black office chairs stand in for automobiles, with the actors successfully pantomiming their actions behind the wheel, shuffling their feet this way and that to steer the sedans across the small stage. This sounds silly, but by intermission, you'll be so swept up into the illusion that you'll forget you're looking at rolling chairs.