Archikulture Digest

To Kill A Mocking Bird

To Kill A Mocking Bird

By Harper Lee

Adapted by Christopher Sergel

Directed by Frank Hilgenberg

Starring Dean Walkuski, Amanda McRea, and Will Barbara

Theatre Downtown, Orlando Fl</strong>

In a land of ringworm and racism, it’s tough to get justice in any shape or form. White trash Bob Ewell (Barbara) charged field hand Tom Robinson (Kevin Lang) with the capital crime of Raping A White Woman. No matter Bob was interested in his daughter Mayella (Amy Campione) first, but this hopeless defense assignment falls to high minded Atticus Finch (Walkuski). We hear the story from Atticus’s daughter Scout (McRea), her brother Jem (Noah Schnacky) and the other town children. They have trouble understanding what the trial is really about, just as they are intrigued by the unseen Boo Radley (Robert DelMedico) and his history of insanity. Allowing Tom a defense of any sort deeply offends the citizens of Maycomb, Alabama, and Atticus uses the abuse heaped on him to teach his children tolerance, understanding, and other skills that won’t endear them in their home town later in life.

Mocking Bird relies on the children’s view point to tell most of the story, but it’s hard to follow as these kids had trouble projecting while they blasted through their lines. Fortunately, the adults doubled up on the exposition, so you never loose the story even if you didn’t catch all of Scout and Jem’s banter. Walkuski projects a calm dignity and always looks professorial even as the bumpkins bounce off of him. Barbara’s Bob Ewell was particularity effective as the cocky man out to raise his social status by taking down Robinson, a man clearly better and more useful than himself. Lang’s Robinson always knew the answer to his trial, and looks to Atticus with the eyes of an animal knowingly on its way to slaughter. Other standouts were Marion Marsh as Mrs. Dubose and Harold Longway as Sheriff Heck Tate. This is a big show with big production values – eighteen actors on another one of Tom Mangieri’s knock out sets, and a Gospel concert as a warm up preshow.

The adult world is always strange to a child. Whether the odd relative that smells funny and gives you socks for Christmas or the strange stories Dad tells about work, decoding adults gives you clues on how to behave when you arrive yourself. While Scout seemed precocious and a minor expert on courtroom procedure, her real project is dragging Boo Radley out into the sunlight. That’s exactly what Atticus attempts when he seeks justice for Tom Robinson. You can lead the world to reason, but expect it to kick and scream all the way there, and then spit on you for your trouble.

For more information, please visit http://www.theatredowntown.net


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