Meet Kadira Coley who is in the ensemble in LTA's To Kill a Mockingbird.
Tell us about your character.
As a member of the African American ensemble during the court scene, I envision my character as a neighbor of Tom Robinson. The community we live in would have been close, given the oppression of the south and depression, so we are deeply affected by the trial and goings on. Thus, we are extremely invested in the trial and its outcome.
What were some challenges you faced while working on this show?
It is still hard to hear some language used in the play, including the racial slurs, or to watch the clear social divide that is so evident in this literary piece. But one good thing about the harshness of the language is that the natural visceral reaction that is evoked makes acting and reacting in the scene quite natural.
How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on?
It is exciting to be working on a literary classic. I think given the popularity of the book and the movie, most people are quite familiar with the story. It's also exciting to see a classic take on a new life by acting it out on stage. Most of the theater I have done previously has been musical theater so I am getting used to doing straight plays. Even now and then I miss the singing and the dancing but do really enjoy the opportunity to focus on character which can get pushed to the side during the musical process.
How long have you been acting?
I have been acting for about ten years. I have been a theater lover for ages an can remember my dad taking me to see many theater productions as a little girl. I loved them so much and it was always my dream to simply carry a parasol across the back of the stage. The first theater production I auditioned for was Ragtime and I was so blessed to be offered a role. After that, I was bitten by the theater bug and try to fit in a show each year, when I can.
How did you get involved with LTA?
My first opportunity working with LTA was also my first opportunity working behind the stage. A good friend of mine was directing a one-act play for LTA's and NVTA's one-act festival and they needed a stage manager. I also had the honor of doing my second run of Ragtime with LTA a couple of years back, where the director made my lifelong dream come true and let me carry a parasol across the back of the stage! I am excited to experience yet another first with LTA and to add my first design credit to my theater resume as co-hair designer for To Kill a Mockingbird. From my perspective, LTA is a top-notch theater company and I am so honored to be working with them again.
What advice would you give others who want to get involved in theatre?
Jump in with both feet! You will love it. And don't hesitate to get involved doing some tech stuff. It really gives you an interesting perspective when performing on-stage once you learn more about how things work behind the stage.