Review | Play: To Kill A Mockingbird

By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

Most people remember Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird as part of their grade school literature experience. Originally published in 1960, the story focuses on the recollections of 1935-era Maycomb, Alabama, where the Finch children Scout (Jadyn Gillen), and Jem (Carson Hoover), alongside their friend Dill (Raistlin Janeway) watch their father Atticus (Cody Beauchamp) try and save the soul of an accused man in court.

Co-directed by Aimee Kasprzyk and Barbara Kelley, Mockingbird proves its timelessness as the viewing audience becomes part of one of the most known trials in literary history, a case presented that still bears a grim relevancy today.

Presenting a large ensemble cast, Mockingbird is a story of the loss of innocence, and the biases of public perception. Primarily led by a solid young cast, the actors who play Scout, Jem, and Dill are the audience’s continued connection to the events unfolding, providing humor and heartbreak throughout their childhood observations. Scout’s adult recollections (portrayed by Sherri Small) are interspersed throughout the events, supplying the children’s contextual perspective to the impending trial, as well as their feelings towards their father, Atticus.

Beauchamp as Atticus provides a firm but compassionate resolve, with Finch leading his life and parenting by example. That calm allows the audience time to focus on the narrative’s complex and sensitive themes. Calpurnia (played by newcomer Petrina Johnson), delivers an impressive performance by keeping the Finch household in line, a role blending humor, concern, and resolve.

The ensemble cast (listed below) offers the audience a lived-in flavor of Depression-era 1930s Alabama, a time marked with struggle and prejudices. Jay Jones as Heck Tate proves a loyal friend to Atticus. Erin Jones as Maudie Atkinson provides an adult’s perspective and comfort to the children. Jim Maxwell as “Boo” Radley delivers a quiet gentility necessary for that role. Though listing off each cast member’s contributions would take considerable time, the ensemble for this production provides no weak areas or need for suspension of disbelief.

As in the book, Mockingbird‘s courtroom scene is the most pivotal to this story and has to be the production’s strongest point. Irvin Horn plays the accused Tom Robinson with strength and sadness. Jarrett Stampes as Bob Ewell, is mixed with equal parts menace and self-assuredness. This scene is a detailed breakdown of that fateful November night, addressing the audience in a way that allows for being a viewer and a participant. Its end result is moving and powerful.

To Kill A Mockingbird is a reflection of ourselves and various times throughout American history. It asks the questions of value, integrity, honesty, and decency, and those are definitions only the audience can answer for themselves.The story and subject matter are challenging and require discussion, but the Warehouse’s latest production tackles these issues in a meaningful way that will linger in the mind long after the stage lights go down.

The cast of To Kill A Mockingbird. – Photo by Guy Chapman

CAST:

Atticus Finch – Cody Beauchamp
Jean Louis Finch – Sherri Small
Scout – Jadyn Gillen
Jem Carson Hoover
Calpurnia –
Petrina Johnson
Dill – Raistlin Janeway
Heck Tate – Jay Jones
Judge Taylor – Rich Schaufert
Maudie Atkinson – Erin Jones
Stephanie Crawford – Stephanie Robie
Mrs. Dubose – Frances Seidensticker Dodds
Nathan Radley – Jarrod Lampier
Arthur “Boo” Radley – Jim Maxwell
Bob Ewell – Jarrett Stampes
Mayella Ewell –
Morgan Byrd
Tom Robinson – Irvin Horn
Helen Robinson – Latonya Smith
Reverend Sykes – Rev. Paul Redic
Walter Cunningham – Rick Herron
Mr. Gilmer – Timothy Brewer
Bailiff – Stephen Jones
Bruce Gibson – Bennett Robie
Ruthanne Ewell – Charlotte Robie
Nathan Ewell – Diego Monreal
Forest Townsman – Gary Janeway
Ensemble Cast – Manny Vasquez, Lindsay Branch, Samantha Stewart, McKinley McGinnis, Lorelai Stampes, Iantha Coleman

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