What are you waiting for? Hurry up, or you'll be late for the "To Kill a Mocking bird" play at the Toronto's Young People's Theater (YPT)! From October 6 to November 2, the successful 1960 classic was turned into a play, by artistic director Allen Macinnis.
"This whole season is about fairness," says director Macinnis, "This play, and all the plays in this season have some idea of fairness. This is a play that's all about that."
The play is set in 1935. It is about a young girl named Scout who, while growing up, learns more about the way of life. She lives with her brother Jem, her widowed father Atticus Finch, and her maid Calpurnia. During the summer, she and Jem befriend a boy named Dill. They all share an obsession with the Radley house, because of a mysterious man who lives there: Arthur Radley, but the kids call him Boo. Soon after, the children's father, who is a lawyer, takes on a difficult case that includes a black man named Tom Robinson, who is accused of raping a white woman. Scout and Jem go on a journey which will teach them about racism, injustices, and simply, the ways of humanity and life.
Macinnis really likes the part where the jury reveals that Tom Robinson is guilty and the children was shocked by the ruling. He loved that because children should be shocked and outraged and that this is what racism can be like. His favourite part of being the artistic director is casting for the show. Macinnis says that trying to find the right people to play each character is difficult, but it’s really fun to do.
The opening night has full house and the theatre is packed with people. The show in my opinion is a very creative, original work of art. I personally liked the setting ─ how they made the beautiful trees ─ because it's extremely unique and imaginative. I also really liked how Scout is both the main character and the narrator of the play. It's really cool that while everyone is acting their own part in the scene, Scout is simply just narrating the story; it's as if the cast pretends she's invisible! The YPT turned the novel into such an amazing play!
"We've come a long way, but there's still a long way to go. And I think that's why this show is important; it's important to teach younger people that racism is still an issue," says Wales.
I also interviewed a younger kid in the audience. 13-year-old Sebastian Dal Belo said that he thought it was a good play and that it was pretty interesting. He said that if he was part of this play, he would want to be Jem, because he is like the leader of the play. Sebastian’s favourite part of the play is also the courtroom scene; because he thought it was the most upbeat part of the play. Belo also said that racism and injustices is bad and unfair.
Last but not least, I interviewed Lisa Berry, who plays the role of the black maid Calpurnia. She
"I love being a part in this play! It’s an important play, with a beautiful message that leaves people thinking about their own lives in a different way." says Berry.
Berry loves being an actress, because she simply loves being an artist. She says it really forces you to get to know yourself more.
"It gives you an opportunity to stop and smell the roses, and appreciates the little things, because you’ll have to play those moments,” says Berry about her life as an actress. “It [Acting] lets you see life from a lot of people’s perspectives because you’re building these three dimensional characters.”
Berry and the rest of the crew rehearsed for 3 weeks, 6 days a week, and 8 hours a day for the play. That’s a lot of work! One of the most challenging obstacles she faced was playing a character that was older than she is. Calpurnia, the character she was playing, is in her 40’s, but the 40’s in our era is different from the 40’s in 1935. Berry’s favourite part of the play is working on the scene where she really takes care of the kids when the mad dog threat happens, because it really shows how important she is in the family, and how important the kids are to her, even though she isn’t blood related to them.
In my opinion, this was a very interesting play to watch! It was a very good experience for me too, to learn what it was like to live in the 1930s, learn what the life of an actor was like, and learn more about racism and injustice! I would love to go back to the YPT and watch more of these plays anytime, and I hope you will feel the same way too!
Hi! My name is Sarah, and I'm 12 years old. I am currently in grade 7, and go to Erin Center Middle School. My favourite colour is yellow, which I think is a very unique colour, because not many people choose it as their favourite. During my free time, I like to read, draw, play video games, hang out with my friends, and write my own little short stories. My favourite sports are badminton and volleyball. I have a 3 year old cat named Lily, and if you've seen her, your heart will melt! I honestly can say, I am very proud of my amazing talent: the piano. I've won multiple awards in many different competitions. In the nationals for piano, I've won 3rd for 2 years in a row, and last year, I won 5th! I've even been to some international competitions, though I don't actually win much outside of the country! Anyways, that's really all you need to know about me so... BYE!