‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ leaves some unsatisfied

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The Erie Playhouse stage presented “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Saturday at the Erie Playhouse.

Based on of the novel by Harper Lee, executive director Almitra Clerkin put on a rather good, shortened version of the story.

Although it was a rather small performance and had its flaws, it had its qualities that made it an extremely well-run show.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” takes place in a small town of Maycomb, Ala., in 1935. The town is suffering as it goes through the Great Depression and deals with racism because it is a large problem in their society.

The three main characters are the Finches: Scout, Jem and Atticus. Scout is the younger sibling to Jem and is a tomboy who tries to be tough. Jem, her older brother, is supposed to be looking out for her but seems to be swayed into letting her do what she wants because of his own curiosity. Their father Atticus is a lawyer in town but is hated by many because of his willingness to defend a black man in a trial – a man who is charged with raping and beating awhite girl.

During the show, I was overly impressed with one actress, Amy Gilewicz. Gilewicz played Mayella Ewell, the girl who was allegedly raped by the character Tom Robinson. Her character was a very shy and awkward girl who was pushed around by her father. She was obviously abused and scared of him.

Gilewicz put on a real show when she was acting as Mayella. You wouldn’t think much of her quiet character at first, but when it was her time to shine, all eyes were on her. She was very believable when she spoke. I actually had chills as she yelled across the courtroom in one scene.

Not all actors were as good as Gilewicz. I found Carter Houston’s performance as Jem to be disappointing. Although he knew his lines and did not appear to mess up at all, it was lacking reality. I was not convinced.

Houston tried too hard to act as a stubborn, little kid would. He looked like a big, little kid pretending to throw a temper tantrum. His lines were funny, but his acting was mediocre. It was not believable and I was not impressed.

The simple set suggested the simple times of the Great Depression. Most of the show took place only with a few front porches of houses in the neighborhood.

Times were different then and that was easily picked up by the audience. With a set that didn’t change often, it allowed for the swift movement that it needed to tell the whole story because the book was originally much longer.

Overall, the audience enjoyed the show. Laughs were shared by most of the audience at parts.

It was a very good interpretation of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Some of the acting was less than satisfying and the stage was a little bit small for any show that demanded a larger performance. However, there were actors that made the whole show better simply by how believable they were.

If you have ever seen the movie “To Kill a Mockingbird” or read the book, I recommend that you also see this play. The book is always best, but the Erie Playhouse put on a very good, shortened interpretation of it.

 

KAT SHINDLEDECKER

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