Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

October 2, 2008

KRT presents ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’

By GINA KINSLOW

GLASGOW — Kentucky Repertory Theatre will present Christopher Sergel’s “To Kill A Mockingbird” Oct. 3 through Nov. 15.

Sergel’s play, which is based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer prize-winning 1961 novel by the same name, is set to open Friday night at 7:30. A reception will be at 6:45 p.m.

It has been 10 years since the play was featured at the theater.

Robert Brock, artistic director of the theater, said there are two reasons for bringing the play back.

“I think it deals with something that is not cleaned up yet. There’s still a lot of prejudice that is hanging on. That certainly is a big part of this story,” he said.

The second reason is because the play is based on a classic novel and Brock said it is time to introduce the story to a new group of young people.

The play is set in 1935 in Macon, Ala., and is about a young black man who is accused of raping a teenage white girl. Representing the defendant is attorney Atticus Finch, whose children learn to accept Arthur “Boo” Radley, a recluse who, at first, seems odd and scary to the children.

“The whole idea that we fight a battle that we know we’re going to lose because it’s the right thing to do is something that every generation can learn from,” said Evelyn Blythe, director of the play.

Reading Lee’s book is good background for the show, she said.

“The book is just something that is incredibly rich and the play tells the same story,” she said, adding that the play can’t go into the detail the book does.

While Lee’s book tells the story through the eyes of Scout, the young daughter of Finch, the narrator is Miss Maudie, who lives next door to Scout and her brother, Jem.

The cast is composed of 17 people — three who are younger than 14 years. Josh Meador plays the role of Gill. Chloe Harkins is Scout and Jamie Anderson is Jem.

“We’ve got some really wonderful actors in this play,” Blythe said.

Portraying Miss Maudie is Donna Freeburn, who said Miss Maudie has a sense of humor about her and a sensitivity to the children and what’s going on in the town.

The message of the play is what makes the story so intriguing for Freeburn.

She pointed out that Scout has a line where she is talking about Boo Radley and says, “You know, he’s really nice. He’s not what I expected. He’s really nice once you get to know him.”

Atticus replies: “Most people are.”

“I think the idea of justice and fair play and looking out for each other is what attracts me to the play,” Freeburn said.

Brock plays the role of Finch, which he says is a “daunting thing, because Gregory Peck won an Oscar for that role.”

“We’re not doing the movie, so I have to go about it as I see it,” he said. “I think it’s a great role. It’s very powerful.”

He, too, likes the message of the play.

“There is sort of a live and let live and can’t we all get along (message),” he said.

He quoted a line from Finch where he says, “What Mr. Radley does may seem peculiar to us, does not seem peculiar to him.”

The play’s set is not elaborate, according to stage manager Angela Grimaldi.

“It’s three homes, just the front porches of three homes,” she said. “It’s supposed to be a tired old town.”

As stage manager, Grimaldi’s job is to make sure the play remains the same from one performance to the next. Sometimes that can be tricky. The trial scene is difficult, she said, as well as one where one of the children is involved in a fight.

Several schools have already scheduled trips to see the play, Brock said.

For ticket information and reservations, contact the box office at (800) 342-2177 or (270) 786-2177, or visit the theater’s Web site at www.kentuckyrep.org.