Preview: To Kill a Mockingbird

Art will imitate life as racial inequality is examined when Los Angeles Pierce College Theater presents To Kill a Mockingbird, which opens on Friday May 1.

The Pulitzer Prize winning novel written by Harper Lee will be the first performance on the Mainstage since the completion of the theaters renovation.  Director Rozsa Horvath thinks that the play is a great choice to christen the stage.

“We are reopening this theater, and I think it’s a great play to try out in it,” Horvath said. “It’s very timely with all the stuff that is going on in the news right now.”

The book was published in 1960, it was adapted into a highly acclaimed film, and has graced the stage of many theaters in the world.

The story is set in Alabama during the Great Depression and is told through the memories of a young girl named Scout.  Life changes when her father, a lawyer,  is asked to defend a black man for the rape of a young white girl, which doesn’t sit well with people in their small town.

Set designer Gene Putnam said there was a lot of research done on Alabama towns in the 1930’s. The use of railings in the set scenery is to remind the audience of the courtroom, because it is a central scene in the show.

“ The set is kind of expressionistic in that it’s fairly realistic down where the actors are and then disappears,” Putnam said.  “ Much like a memory would, because the story is a memory of a little girl.”

Natasha Wells, stage manager, thinks the play is always a good show to put on. She also recognizes the parallels between the show and the existence of racism.

“It’s a well-known novel and everybody loves it,” Wells said. “Unfortunately I think racism is always going to be relevant, and a show like this can always speak to people.”

To Kill a Mockingbird is considered  to be one of the great classics of American literature.

“It’s very Americana, and it’s a beautiful heartfelt story.” Horvath said. “It teaches tolerance, and it makes us examine our past.”

Most people read the book in school according to Horvath.  She recommends that people read it if they haven’t had the chance to do so. She believes that with advances in technology people aren’t reading enough books, and encourages people to read more.

“Librarians recommend the Bible first as a book that everyone should read before they die, and the second book they recommend is To Kill a Mockingbird,” Horvath said.

The play will run for two weekends, May 1-3, and May 8-10. Performance times for the shows on Friday and Saturday are 8 p.m., and on Sunday at 2 p.m. for both weekends.