Experienced cast brings ‘Mockingbird’ to life at Theatre Macon

lshirley@macon.comOctober 18, 2013 

“To Kill a Mockingbird” was staged in Theatre Macon’s first season 27 years ago, when productions were put on at what was then Macon State College, and director Jim Crisp has been waiting to re-create the show ever since the theater moved to its downtown location.

“We were the first theater in Middle Georgia to do ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ and it was a very, very special experience,” Crisp said. “It was our second to last production of the season, and we just packed the people in.”

The downtown location provides a larger, deeper stage that has enabled Crisp to re-create the neighborhood where the main characters live, even using the porches as part of the courtroom scenes. Another change Crisp incorporated was the inclusion of a gospel choir as a Greek chorus.

“The sound of those black voices is very important to the place and time of the story,” Crisp said, adding that the choir began with the Total Praise Singers and a few other performers were added. “They provide the very first sound you hear and recur during pivotal moments, and the very last sound you hear is a gospel hymn. I wanted all the music to be live, and have even incorporated a harmonica player to bridge from scene to scene. It all adds a rich texture and color to the production.”

Terry Minyard plays Atticus Finch, and Nick Nelson and Anna Buckroth play his children, Jem and Scout, respectively.

“Nick goes to Jones County High School and plays football and has the athleticism and rambunctiousness of Jem, and Anna is just perfect as Scout: she looks like Scout and she sounds like Scout,” Crisp said.

Anna, an 11-year-old home school student, said she had heard of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and the role of Scout was one she really wanted to take on.

“When my mom told me about the auditions, I jumped up and down, and it took a couple days for me to calm down after I got the call that I got the part,” she said. “I really enjoy playing Scout, with all of the action I get to do and getting to memorize all of the lines.”

Anna has been in several other Theatre Macon productions, but Scout is her first main role.

“I just love getting to play Scout; she is a really cool character. I really like the first couple of scenes, and I have a lot of fun in the attack scene, where Boo and Bob fight, Jem breaks his arm and I trip and fall and get injured.”

Newcomer Dane Reynolds plays the Finch children’s friend Dill, Linda Bentley plays the Finch family cook, Calpurnia, who helps Atticus look after the children.

“It’s a cast of veteran, experienced actors who tell the story beautifully, with great passion, conviction and energy, and I was fortunate to be able to put them together,” Crisp said. “ ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ certainly is an enduring classic that people love, and they will have a very special experience with this play.”

“To Kill a Mockingbird”

When: 8 p.m. Oct. 18-19, 25-26; 2:30 p.m. Oct. 20; 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23-24

Where: Theatre Macon, 438 Cherry St.

Cost: $20 adults, $18 seniors, $15 for students through age 22

Information: 478-746-9485; www.theatremacon.com

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