By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette
The Warehouse Living Arts Center is hosting auditions for To Kill a Mockingbird, directed by Aimee Kasprzyk with Barbara Kelley as assistant director. Auditions run from 7:30 p.m. Monday, August 9 to Tuesday, August 10 on the WLAC main stage located at 119 W. Sixth Avenue. Callback dates and times will be announced by the directors to those auditioning. For further information, visit www.theWLAC.com.
Originally produced for the WLAC stage in 1991 as a collaboration with Navarro College and directed by David L. Evans, To Kill a Mockingbird was among the highest selected shows patrons chose in a poll to come back for WLAC’s 50-year anniversary.
Kasprzyk is no stranger to the stage, recently seen on it as M’Lynn in the Warehouse’s well received Steel Magnolias, and last in the director’s chair for 2019’s production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. This will be Kelley’s first time directing.
When asked what drew her to directing To Kill a Mockingbird, Kasprzyk shared that she had always loved the book.
“I have always loved the book and saw the Tony Award-winning Sorkin version with Jeff Daniels as Atticus a couple of years ago on Broadway,” Kasprzyk said. “As a result, it was fresh on my mind and an important and relevant story to be told. It’s still so present and can teach so much to our society that mere news stories or history classes struggle to impart.”
“It’s a huge and exciting challenge and a bucket-lister for me. Helping to be the change-agent we need in infusing more diversity at WLAC is truly a passion of mine.”
When asked what she was hoping to personally achieve with working on this show, Kelley responded.
“As a first time Assistant Director, I hope to show the community the possibilities of theater and hope to help bring in some diversity to the Warehouse,” Kelley said. “I want our audience to leave the play with the conversation of moving forward as a community.”
Kasprzyk shared Kelley’s sentiment.
“I told Barbara the other day that I feel Tom Robinson was sort of the original literary iteration of the actual person and similar situation of people like George Floyd and the BLM movement currently, so I think there is not a more well-known from our collective past and currently-relevant story we could tell,” Kasprzyk said. “The idea of metaphorically walking around in someone else’s skin is so important to getting us all to a place of empathy for and understanding of one another.”
“I’m honored to be entrusted with such an important piece. I am equally excited and honored that Barbara has agreed to co-direct because I think having her voice and experience in the mix as a person of color will be incredibly valuable for providing an authenticity I, alone, would not have been able to provide.”
While such a poignant piece requires the talent to properly portray the story, the WLAC takes its role seriously as a community theater, welcoming everyone to the stage regardless of having performed in the past or not. This is a mission that Kasprzyk takes seriously.
“Everyone who has ever been in an auditioned show has dealt with nerves, fears of rejection, and the simultaneous stress and elation from being cast in any role, so I won’t devalue those feelings by saying you should ignore or get over them,” Kasprzyk said. “However, Barbara has never directed, but she’s along for the awesome ride, so you can jump on board as well, even if you’ve never auditioned or acted.”
“We’ll take care of you,” Kasprzyk added. “I’m a teacher, so I’ll make sure you understand every step of the journey and give you as much or as little help as you need. Plus, teaching acting is a specialty of mine. Come on and help us tell this beloved, heartbreaking, and gorgeous story. You’ll be glad you did.”
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