Wednesday, March 30, 2016

To Kill a Mockingbird - meet cast member Melissa Dunlap

Meet Melissa Dunlap playing Jean Louise Finch (adult Scout) in LTA's To Kill a Mockingbird.

Tell us about your character.  If you could describe her in one word, what would it be?
Jean Louise is Scout as an adult. She is reflecting on her childhood, sharing her thoughts and experiences, all while trying to make sense of what happened and how those events shaped her and those she loves. The word I would use to describe her is “remember.”

What were some of the challenges you faced while working on this piece?
Jean Louise has many monologues so there’s a lot to memorize! My primary scene partner is the audience, while our conversation is a bit lop-sided! I am interacting more with the audience than with the other actors. Thus, my scene partner won’t even shop up until our first performance. At present, I am talking, quite literally, to the wall.

What do you hope the audience takes away from this play?
I hope the cast and crew are able to transport the audience to Maycomb, Alabama in 1935. I hope that they can see the events through the eyes of the characters and explore what it means to stand in someone else’s shoes.

How long have you been acting? How did you get involved with LTA?
I started in community theatre of 20 years ago, with a break while my kids were young. I got back into it when my family was stationed at SHAPE (NATO headquarters) in Belgium. The army had a fabulous community theater program so I auditioned, got cast, and was hooked. I got connected with LTA just a couple of years ago. I auditioned for Frank (To Kill a Mockingbird director) on a whim and he cast me in The Games Afoot.  Since then, I’ve also been in Laughing Stock at LTA and now, To Kill A Mockingbird.

What advice would you give others who want to get involved in theater?
Go for it! Risk an audition, offer to help with painting, props, ushering, wardrobe, etc. Theatre people are fun! I love just being at the theatre. There is always a need for help so even if there aren’t many on-stage roles, there is plenty to be done behind the scenes. Make some connections, make some friends, figure out what you like to do and then offer to do it.

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