Walden Theatre announces the production of To Kill a Mockingbird by Christopher Sergel, directed by Walden Theatre Artistic Director Charlie Sexton and adapted from the celebrated novel by Harper Lee.
“This is a seminal novel that most every school child will read in school,” said Charlie Sexton. “And dealing with an issue like social justice is an exercise that’s unfortunately always necessary.”
The novel is an undisputed American classic first published 50 years ago to nearly instant fame, and it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1961. The novel’s protagonist Atticus Finch has become a beacon for tolerance and integrity in the face of adversity, and his intrepid daughter Scout remains among the most beloved young characters in literature with her pluck, smarts, and willingness to understand the perspectives of others.
Ryan Seals, a North Oldham senior who plays Atticus, explained his character this way: “Atticus is just that unlikely person for Alabama 1935. He was way ahead of his time. Even though he grew up around this cultural phenomenon of racism, he stood out and said, ‘This just isn’t right. I’m going to protect what’s right.'”
As the play makes evident, though, the consequences of taking such an ethical stand can prove troubling, even dangerous.
“This isn’t the only play we’ve done that deals with difficult social, historical, or political issues,” Sexton said, “but it’s a learning experience every time. The dramaturgical work that you do throughout the rehearsal process is very much a history lesson. As a director, you just tell the actors the truth, you tell them the way it was, and you confront it.”
In addition to public performances, Walden Theatre will perform a special sold-out student matinée for area schools at the 1400-seat Brown Theatre in downtown Louisville on February 3, 2011. Special performances like this are a unique opportunity for student actors to perform before a large crowd, as well as for student audiences to see their peers engaging adeptly with difficult material and, indeed, bringing it to life.
Public performances of To Kill a Mockingbird are at Walden Theatre’s recently-updated Nancy Niles Sexton Stage at 1123 Payne Street.
January 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 at 7:30pm
January 22 and 29 @ 2:00pm.
Student Matinée at the Brown Theatre: Feb 3 @ 10am (Sold Out)
Tickets are general admission, and all performances are fully accessible. Call to reserve 502-589-0084. Evenings: Adults $15, Students/Seniors $10. Matinées: Adults $10, Students/Seniors $8. Group Rates: Please contact the administrative offices.
This is the novel’s 50th anniversary (first published July 11, 1960), and numerous national and local news outlets have discussed the lasting importance of To Kill a Mockingbird in literature, education, and in the perception of the Civil Rights era. Click here for links to stories concerning the novel’s 50th anniversary.
February is Black History Month, so Walden Theatre’s student matinée performance of To Kill a Mockingbird on February 3 is a great entry point for families and groups to discuss of the myriad dimensions of American History and Civil Rights issues that the play explores.