It is a tale that was relevant in the 1930s, in the 1960s and still rings true today.
This timeless element is one reason director Bob Franklin chose “To Kill A Mockingbird” for Aiken Community Playhouse’s upcoming production.
This tale was first written in 1960 by Alabama author Harper Lee.
Lee’s award-winning classic was adapted for the stage in 1970 by playwright Christopher Sergel.
This month, the Playhouse will present Sergel’s version.
The show will run Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., April 18, 19, 25 and 26 at 8 p.m. and April 27 at 3 p.m.
Tickets are $20 for adults; $17 for seniors; $12 for students and $7 for children younger than 12.
This show contains adult themes.
Set in Alabama in the 1930s, the plot centers around the Finch family.
When black man Tom Robinson is accused of a crime, the town’s sheriff Heck Tate calls up the town’s attorney Atticus Finch.
The “principled” Finch accepts the case, according to Franklin.
During the trial, the morals of this small Southern town cause it to divide, Franklin said.
This shift particularly impacts Finch’s young children, Jean Louise or “Scout” and her brother Jem.
“She’s this girl who doesn’t know much about the world but still loves it,” said Maggie O’ Leary on her character Scout.
The audience will get to see firsthand just how much young Scout is affected by this controversial period.
Beth Ansede will narrate as adult Jean Louise, or “Old Scout.”
“It’s a wonderful part,” Ansede said.
While she is not an active character, adult Jean Louise comes in and out to comment on what is happening.
“It just how Lee wrote it,” Ansede said.
Lee wrote her novel in the upheaval of the Civil Rights Movement.
However, Franklin declares the play’s themes as “timeless.”
“I like plays that make people think,” he said. “There will always be weakness and strength, prejudice and conflict, evil and good and principle and compromise ...
This play says things that need to be said.”
For Ken Hendricks, who plays Atticus, this story is a personal favorite.
“It’s a beautiful story,” he said. “Every character in the story is huge, no matter how many lines they have.”
Hendricks has been with the Playhouse for around eight years.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said.
Age doesn’t seem to matter, either, when it comes to the cast’s background knowledge of this story.
Teenage Nathan Noel came across this book when he was in the third grade.
“My mom bought it for me,” he said. “She said, ‘When you are in high school, your class is going to read this, and you are going to need this book.’”
Noel didn’t make it to high school before he read this classic.
He was in the sixth grade when he finally picked up his preparatory gift.
“There was nothing else to do,” he recalled.
It just took one reading.
“I just fell in love with it,” he said.
Also in the cast are Blair Sims as Dill; Camille Hunter as Calpurnia; Sally Bradley as Maudie Atkinson; Beth Hollingsworth as Stephanie Crawford; Michele Kellrooney as Mrs. DuBose; William Crowder as Nathan Radley; Jerry West as Arthur “Boo” Radley; James Crider as Heck Tate; Bob Rollins as Judge Taylor; Jimmie Morgan as
Rev. Sykes; Minna Heaton as Mayella Ewell; David Stinson as Bob Ewell; John Fowler as Mr. Gilmer; Quintin Roland as Tom Robinson; Kiara Johnson as
Helen Robinson and Steven Murphy as Walter Cunningham.
Franklin with Dave Engelman oversaw set design, while West manages the props.
Haley Hughes is the show’s stage manager, with Maureen Woltermann as her assistant.
Anne Ateca handles the lights, while Mike Mottsey does sound.
Chris Martino switchs between light and sound control.
EmilyA nn Raynor is over costumes.
Mike Dansevicus and Lisa Fountain are also helping with items like light and set design.
“This is a story for the times,” West said. “No matter what ethnicity you are, it’s about how you really have to look pass what someone looks like and see who they are.”
Aiken Community Playhouse is at 126 Newberry St. S.W.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.aikencommunityplayhouse.us or call 803-648-1438.
Staff Photo by Haley Hughes Scout Finch (Maggie O'Leary) sits on the lap of her father Atticus Finch (Ken Hendricks) during a rehearsal for Aiken Community Playhouse's upcoming "To Kill A Mockingbird."×
Staff Photo by Haley Hughes Ken Hendricks as Atticus Finch, front left, and James Crider as Heck Tate in this scene from the upcoming "To Kill A Mockingbird." Pictured in the back are, from left, Camille Hunter as Calpurnia, Maggie O' Leary as Scout Finch and Nathan Noel as Jem Finch.×
Staff Photo by Haley Hughes In "To Kill A Mockingbird," Atticus Finch (Ken Hendricks), center, tries to teach his children Scout (Maggie O'Leary), left, and Jem (Nathan Noel) long-lasting life lessons.×
Staff Photo by Haley Hughes Atticus Finch (Ken Hendricks), right, is called upon to defend Tom Robinson (Quintin Roland) in Aiken Community Playhouse's upcoming "To Kill A Mockingbird."×
Staff Photo by Haley Hughes Blair Sims plays Dill in Aiken Community Playhouse's upcoming production of "To Kill A Mockingbird." Dill becomes good friends with central character Scout Finch played by Maggie O' Leary.×