Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird” will be presented by The Playhouse Tulsa on Feb. 12-14 and 18-21. The Pulitzer Prize-winning story is adapted for stage by Christopher Sergel, and directed by ORU theatre professor and The Playhouse Tulsa Artistic Director, Courtneay Sanders.
The inspiring “To Kill A Mockingbird” tells the timeless story of courage in the face of skewed justice and hateful racism through the eyes of Scout Finch. The tomboyish young girl experiences the wisdom of her father Atticus Finch, as he fights hatred with compassion in their small town.
“This is not a period play. It’s not something limited to 1935,” said Sanders. “The things that were the ‘big deal’ were literally because a black man was accused of raping a white girl. It wasn’t the act, but the color of his skin and he didn’t even do it.”
Sergel’s version of “To Kill A Mockingbird” isn’t traditional in a book sense. Sanders is adding a contemporary style which differs from the realism most plays offer to their audience. All of the actors stay on stage throughout the length of the play.
“There is an idea that the community is telling the story, and everyone is involved by using two continuous scenes with one intermission between them,” Sanders said. “The audience will watch actors turn into other characters right before the audience’s eyes by simply changing a hat or adding a sweater. It is really important to me that they are always present because the community is telling the story.”
There are three children in the play. Scout is played by Elle Kalcik, Jim is played by Tate Silver, and Dill is played by Benjamin Lee. Sanders loved getting to work with the children because of the innocence they bring to a story where they experience a “horrific” event caused by the “hate” of some of the adult characters.
“I really love the last moment at the end of the play,” said Sanders. “The way it’s structured and what the actors bring into the moment make it my favorite of the whole play. We also added a black female choir, and they sing periodically throughout the show. At one point (the man who was accused of raping a white girl) Tom Robinson’s wife sings ‘Precious Lord, Take My Hand’ as a transition, and it’s beautiful and filled with hope.”
“To Kill A Mockingbird” will be performed at the Performing Arts Center at 110 E 2nd St. in Tulsa. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 (in advance) for stu- dents and $10 for student rush (with a valid student ID). Tickets are on sale for Feb. 12-13, and 18-20 at 7:30 p.m., and also Feb. 14 and 21 at 2 p.m. For more information call (918) 569-7111 or visit tulsapac.com.
Story by Emerald Dean, Photo by Wyatt Bullard