Review: In To Kill a Mockingbird, Noble Emotions trump Inconvenient Truth

to kill a robin Exist in a world centered on decency. It’s easy to see why Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic novel took off on Broadway in 2018, becoming the most successful straight show of all time. It imagines a society where morality triumphs over prejudice, and the arc of the moral universe always bends toward justice.

That cocky optimism looks hollow in 2022 as Bartlett Scheer’s production begins a national tour amid mounting evidence to the contrary. Scenes of contemporary life, where incidents of racism and intolerance have become not only commonplace, but brazen, are more akin to Atticus Finch’s admonition to the legacy of the Civil War: It’s destined to be “always yesterday.” But drama never exists in a vacuum. It needs to satisfy the present moment.Although this Robin Returning to the public consciousness just four years ago, its message now looks dated and simplistic.

Sorkin doubles down on the white messianism of the source text – an attitude Lee herself even denies in her prequels go set watcher, which was published late in 2015. In the town of Maycomb, Alabama – where half the population claims to be members of the Ku Klux Klan, but we should believe that many are genuinely pure – Atticus (Richard Thomas) zealously Defend Tom Robinson (Yager T. Welch) from accusing him of raping a white woman from one side of his mouth while preaching tolerance and understanding for a malicious neighbor from the other. His adoring children, Scooter (Melanie Moore) and Jem (Justin Mark), find potential hypocrisy in his posturing, only to eventually pass out over his self-righteousness.

Blatantly racist figures – like Tom’s accuser Mayella Ewell (Arianna Gale Starkey, who heroically tries to bring dimension to her character) and her evil father Bob (ridiculous the malevolent Joey Collins) – is portrayed in such a wide range of comics that they finally allow viewers to transfer all their discomfort and disgust to them, without ever questioning in a community that tries so hard to uphold the stubborn old order complicity of other white characters at play. Meanwhile, black characters like Calponia (Jacqueline Williams), the Tom and Finch housekeeper, are largely relegated to positions of stoic dignity, with few opportunities to use their own The voice speaks.

Viewers can still appreciate the crisp rhythm of Sorkin’s dialogue, which sounds familiar West Wing As we go along, many of the most powerful elements of the original stage still shine on the tour. Adam Guettel’s hauntingly melancholic soundtrack, now pre-recorded, is a welcome contrast to the show’s unwavering hope. Miriam Buether’s scenic design, courtroom and front porch, appear to float in the desolation of an abandoned warehouse, while conjuring up images of grandeur and deterioration. Jennifer Tipton’s lighting design is sometimes overt—bathing Atticus in the bright light of truth, and Bob Ewell in the shadowy depravity—but it constitutes A fascinating stage scene. The production has been appropriately tuned for large touring venues, such as the Philadelphia Conservatory I saw.

Thomas was at his best when he made Atticus lose his temper, just as his cross-examination of Mayella Ewell turned into a hostile one. But even an actor like that couldn’t avoid country lawyer Hookham merging into the character. Moore, Mark, and Steven Lee Johnson — who play the gruff Dill Harris, and Lee modeled after her childhood friend Truman Capote — serve as narrators from now on as they look back on their youth. myself, but from now on, none of the trio can clearly draw the line. Still, Mark’s wayward Jem has admirable teenage bravados, and Johnson is really moved when he lets Dier’s mask of precocity fall off.

Mary Badham was nominated for an Oscar at the age of 10 for her role as a Boy Scout in the 1962 film adaptation. Robin, as Mrs. Henry Dubose, a stubborn, obnoxious neighbor who drew the ire of Finch’s children. Her presence on the tour was interesting from a historical standpoint, but she somehow managed to flatten a character that was already one-dimensional. Other actors have had more success in smaller roles – Anthony Natale, a deaf actor who speaks and gestures and brings the Link Deas With human dignity, the town has a surprisingly complex backstory.

to kill a robin Will continue to talk to some listeners. On opening night in Philadelphia, the show’s final line — “All to Rise” — appeared to be an order for a standing ovation. But another line spoken near the end of the performance impressed me even more. Following the events of the trial and its aftermath, Atticus told his children “trying to do the right thing is the right thing”. Maybe it’s a noble emotion, but it sounds wrong in 2022. Just trying is no longer enough.

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