As a playwright, Paula Vogel doesn’t practice defensive driving. Her plays are fearless and stealthily aggressive, with violence lingering just below the fluid, lucid surface. She never leans on the proverbial horn, but she keeps her foot firmly on the gas pedal, and she likes to swerve unexpectedly. No matter what the posted signs say, Vogel doesn’t yield. In her Pulitzer Prize–winning drama How I Learned to Drive, now revived at Second Stage and starring Norbert Leo Butz and Elizabeth Reaser, teenaged Li’l Bit studies for her license and absorbs other adult lessons courtesy of her Uncle Peck. The discomfiting, morally ambiguous play, directed by Ruined-helmer Kate Whoriskey, moves back and forth in time as it limns sex, power, desire, and struggle, all behind the wheel.
Sat., Jan. 28, 8 p.m., 2012