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The Production of To Kill a Mockingbird Theme

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To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee at the Broadway and featuring a script by Oscar and Emmy winner Aaron Sorkin. The novel To Kill a Mockingbird is set in 1935 in Alabama, a story about knowledge, racism, innocence, and bravery. In the beginning the main character, Scout, starts out to be a very naive child not knowing the prejudice times around her, but as she matures she gains knowledge of the reality by kids around her accusing her dad of being a ‘nigger lover’ which is a poignant racial insult. The word “nigger” is said a lot in the play — most often by white people. Her father was defending a black man being falsely accused of raping a white girl. Her father, Atticus, is a criminal defense attorney trying to do his job and not discriminating because of skin color. The line in the book ‘Shoot, all the blue jays you want, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird’ is referring to the black man in the story, Tom. He symbolizes a mockingbird because all mockingbirds do is sing for our enjoyment and stay out of harm’s way, so if you kill them it’s a sin. He is the mockingbird in the story who keeps to himself and is falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit; and in the end is eventually found guilty by a bias jury and is shot trying to escape from prison.

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One of the most vital parts of putting on a play is a director who will provide an understandable, and watchable performance. This play was a much easier play to put on as it is based on a classic novel by Harper Lee. From the audience’s point of view, the director clearly understood the novel. He gave a very well adapted stage version of the book; however, he didn’t rely on the audience having read the book, he also created a whole new story through different techniques and fresh ways of telling a story. As a person who has read the book and was a fan of it, and Harper Lee, I personally thought that he did its justice and filled some large boots. The director employed very subtle and yet effective staging techniques during certain scenes that required a different atmosphere. Examples of these techniques were during the scene between Scout and Atticus near the beginning of the play. Here the staging was very central, this provided a sense of a close relationship between the characters.

The actors combined perfectly with the set changes and were very believable in their reactions. A performance can have the best director, design and venue, but a show will be nothing unless it has skilled actors that can carry the story and provide an entertaining experience for an audience. This show had exactly that. They really gave the audience the chance to empathies and develop a connection with the characters, this was very important for me as what is the theatre without the opportunity to really believe you are in another world. They did this in a variety of ways throughout the performance. At certain points in the play the actors spoke directly to the audience and treated the audience as characters within the show, for example as the jury during the court scene. This really made the audience feel involved and really kept our attention.

I believe that the use of projected film in the play was inspired and it was effective at marking certain moments in the play. At times, it was overused, but the play looked clearly rehearsed and professional. Overall, I think that the director did a good job with this play, and he definitely made it his own, but I also believe that he overused certain aspects of the performance, such as the use of film.

On a slightly more positive note I do feel that the way the actors connected with their characters and truly allowed themselves to sympathies and empathies with them was very impressive. A big standout were the costumes which were very adequate for the time period and represented each character and their professions and different social classes. The design of the set, the stage, props and lighting help the viewer understand the emotions the characters are portraying. The story takes place during the 1950’s throughout a rough climate for racism in this country, the stage was set to show that time period. This was effective as it gave the audience a sense of where the play was set before any speech had taken place, it also made the audience feel as though they were in that place, and in that time. It really captured the essence of the book.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed the production of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird theme.’ It contained a lot of elements that made it a very effective, and entertaining performance such as the subtle scene changes, and the use of film, even if over-used. The directing, design and acting all synced perfectly to where it kept the audiences’ attention. The play was a very entertaining and educative way of extending the book to an audience that has not read the book. When I was in middle school, my teacher claimed it to be a timeless classic, I thought otherwise. For this essay, I’m glad I was able to finally read the play and with a more mature mind understand the play from a whole different point of view. I can’t help but think about how much this book and play can relate to now. Times like now, we look back to our past and we’re shocked of how much our country is falling back to the terrible times of the past.  

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