Following his productions of The Crucible and Lord of the Flies, Artistic directors Timothy Sheader gives the seminal story by Harper Lee, an airing (ahem), in the open-air theatre at Regents Park. If the storyline of this 1960s deep-south book is a mystery then, firstly, where on earth have you been? And secondly, let me explain…
Often described as a semi-autobiographical tale (the similarities between Lee’s life are, at times, surprising), the book follows Scout, the daughter of Atticus Finch, a lawyer who is appointed to defend a black man, accused of raping a white women. Set in the years following the 1930s Great Depression, in the tired town of Maycomb, the trial highlights the many racial injustices that enveloped society then. Seen always through the innocence of 6-year-old Scout’s eyes, the story also examines the transition from childhood to adulthood and the unlikely rapport between her and her reclusive neighbour, Boo Radley.
To Kill a Mockingbird won the Pulitzer Prize on publication and was, and is, a huge best seller. Its impact even led to Harper Lee being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009: the highest award available to citizens in the USA. But, despite this, the novel has received little academic analysis and Harper Lee, famously, refuses to speak about its themes. In Sheader’s production, Atticus Finch will be played by Robert Sean Leonard (yes, from Dead Poets Society Fame!) alongside tgree different Scouts and Daniel Tuite as Boo Radley. So the roaring success of Sheader’s past productions will make this new addition to the open-air theatre billing an unmissable event this month. (Words: Laura Thornley)
On until June 15th. For more info, visit: www.openairtheatre.com/production/to-kill-a-mockingbird