When I first read To Kill A Mockingbird as a 14-year old back in 1969, it touched me so deeply that I have never been without a copy of the book since. I have re-read ‘Mockingbird’ at least once every five years since 1969, and in doing so during these different stages of my life and maturation, I have gained new insight and life lessons from the story each time. This is something I wanted to share.
What are you trying to accomplish with the telling of this play?
In my opinion, To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the greatest American stories ever told. It is a timeless story of coming of age, small town southern life during the Depression, and the ever prevalent struggle of Black Americans. I believe that as a country we are still struggling with many of the situations depicted in this story.
What were the challenges as a director?
I believe my biggest challenge is doing justice to the story Harper Lee bequeathed to us through the adaptation provided to us by playwright Christopher Sergal. Atticus, Scout, Jem, and Boo are iconic figures in American literature. The challenge is bringing these characters to life on stage while trying to stay true to both Harper Lee’s inspired words and the audience’s preconceived notions of these characters.
What should the audience take away from this play?The basic tenet of To Kill a Mockingbird is to remind us of the harsh realities of life and the discovery that the world is often truly unjust. However, more importantly is that of the inspiration we attain when we see someone who bravely and publicly stands up for what is right, humane, and compassionate. Hopefully, the most powerful lesson that every audience member will take away from seeing this play is one that each of us needs to learn: how to walk around a bit in another person’s shoes.