Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre – To Kill a Mockingbird
Tuesday September 9th 2014 2:15pm
A few friends and I sat in our seats at the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park, London as the stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, written by Christopher Sergel was about to begin. Centre stage was completely clear save for a single tree on the right upper corner; a bed and several chairs lining both the right and left sides of the stage’s edge.
The final bell rang, the crowd fell silent and a narrator began reading the first page of the book. That’s when I realized that the narrator was seated amongst the audience. When she finished her piece a second narrator from the opposite end of the audience continued… and on the ball rolled from one end of the audience to the other, we looked for where the story was being told; A domino effect of expression, voice and the art of the written word. The introduction was over and the strumming of a guitar began while the cast made their way from their seats to the stage. Chalk in hand; they collaboratively drew the set as though childishly sketching out the town map across the entire blank slate of a stage. And there you had it: the complete set. Houses, roads, signs pointing in the directions of the school and church and flowers adorning the front porch of Atticus’s home.
The minimal nature of the stage could only be so magically affective when paired with the talented actors on stage who delivered the story flawlessly and with lots of soul and emotion. Director, Timothy Sheader, and co. did a wonderful job laying out the American classic on stage. They clearly had the vision of ‘less is more’ while putting this tale together. I am a big fan of minimalistic style especially when the end results are as wonderfully delivered as they were on that stage.
As far as the acting goes: the play would not have come together so beautifully if it hadn’t been for the actors serving their hearts on a silver platter while performing. I commend their talent and dedication to their craft, especially Ava Potter (Scout), Arthur Frank (Jem) and Connor Brundish (Dill) . It is extremely hard to believe that this was Miss Potter’s debut performance! Ava, I am utterly blown away by your talent. I take my hat off to you young lady. You were fantastic!
To my readers: I very highly recommend that you see this. A performance truly deserving a standing ovation! Follow this link to view UK tour dates and schedules: To Kill a Mockingbird