Kelly’s first year of high school theater has come to an end this past weekend. The Burnsville Theater Guild performed, To Kill A Mockingbird and our very own Kelly was cast as Scout, one of the main characters in this play. Neither Nate or I had read this book in high school, but many parents our age have. When Kelly announced that she got this role, Nate quickly read the book and I opted for watching it on Netflix, starring Gregory Peck. We both enjoyed it and were now familiar with Kelly’s character.
Jean Louise “Scout” Finch is the narrator and To Kill a Mockingbird is told by an adult Scout who often comments on how she could not understand something at the time but now can appreciate it. The adult Scout is played by Kelly’s friend Sofia.
Scout is considered bright for her age and loves to read. She is a 6 year old tomboy and spends most of her time with her brother Jem and best friend Dill.
If you’re not familiar with the story, To Kill A Mockingbird…it is a novel by Harper Lee, published in 1960. It was immediately successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and characters are loosely based on the author’s observations of her family and neighbors, as well as on an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936, when she was 10 years old. The novel is renowned for its warmth and humor, despite dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality. The narrator’s father, Atticus Finch, has served as a moral hero for many readers and as a model of integrity for lawyers.
In the movie, Gregory Peck plays Atticus Finch, Scout’s father. For the play, Atticus is played by August, a Senior who is about 6’5. He was a very convincing Atticus and made Kelly look like an 8 year old girl when she stood next to him. Atticus Finch is a well-known white Maycomb attorney. He is a wise and caring father. Atticus is nearly fifty. His children call him “Atticus” rather than “Dad”. Atticus demonstrates great character throughout the book, strives to set a good example for his children, and teaches Jem and Scout to treat everyone equally. Atticus’ beliefs and strong moral compass lead him to defend Tom Robinson, a black man, from baseless charges of rape.
A little about the author: Born in 1926, Harper Lee grew up in the Southern town of Monroeville, Alabama, where she became close friends with soon-to-be famous writer Truman Capote. Lee has said that To Kill a Mockingbird is not an autobiography, but rather an example of how an author “should write about what he knows and write truthfully”. Nevertheless, several people and events from Lee’s childhood parallel those of the fictional Scout. Lee modeled the character of Dill on her childhood friend, Truman Capote, known then as Truman Persons. Just as Dill lived next door to Scout during the summer, Capote lived next door to Lee with his aunts while his mother visited New York City. Like Dill, Capote had an impressive imagination and a gift for fascinating stories. Lee was a scrappy tomboy who was quick to fight. Sadly, she just passed away this past February at the age of 89.
Lee’s father, Amasa Coleman Lee, was an attorney, similar to Atticus Finch, and in 1919, he defended two black men accused of murder. After they were convicted, hanged and mutilated, he never tried another criminal case.
Down the street from the Lees lived a family whose house was always boarded up; they served as the models for the fictional Radleys. The son of the family got into some legal trouble and the father kept him at home for 24 years out of shame. He was hidden until virtually forgotten. In the play, Scout finally meets Boo Radley at the end and discovers, he’s a nice person after all and not scary or creepy as they thought from all the rumors.
Lee had a brother named Edwin, who—like the fictional Jem—was four years older than his sister. As in the novel, a black housekeeper came daily to care for the Lee house and family. In the play, the housekeeper’s name is Calpurnia, played by Eggie, who is a fabulous actress.
This play has a tough subject surrounding it, but was such a powerful play and these actors and actresses did such a great job in their roles and were so serious about putting on a realistic show based on a time period where racism was present.
We had to thank the director for giving Kelly this opportunity to play a significant role. Amy was Kelly’s Language Arts teacher in 9th grade and also was the gal who casted her as Princess Jasmine in Aladdin. She is transferring to the High School next year and we are hoping she will continue in the drama department so Kelly and others can enjoy her for the next two years of their high school theater.
Many of Kelly’s family and friends came to see her once again. We tried to get pictures of them all, but missed a few, especially on of her biggest fans…her godmother, Shelly. Nate, Megan & I have gotten really good at working the concession stand during the performances as part of our volunteering. We’re starting to make friends with the “big guy” who watches over us. Hopefully by Kelly’s senior year, he’ll trust us enough to walk away.
Mrs. Kegley has always been one of Kelly’s favorite people. Rene & I worked together for many years at Hidden Valley and she and Kelly seemed to be in the same classrooms a lot, so they got to know each other and Kelly would always be a great friend to our ASD kids.
Another big fan is her Aunt Terry. We took so many pictures this night that I’d use up an entire page on my blog if I put them all in! haha. Terry knew nothing about the storyline as well and would’t let me tell her anything about it. She said she just wanted to watch and enjoy it the would give her review. Glad to announce, she liked it. I think she may have given Kelly two thumbs up.
We got some fun group shots this time. This first one is of all the kids who went to Hidden Valley together…kind of a “let’s get the group together again.” The gal in the picture is our science teacher, Pat Mosey. She came to see her former students. So nice!
Thank you Burnsville High School for entertaining us all year long. I can’t wait for next year!