East’s theater performs To Kill A Mockingbird

East’s theater department’s rendition of Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird” fall play premiered the weekend of December 3, 2010. Following its first official performance on Thursday, December 2 for Beck and Rosa’s eighth graders, opening night occurred on Friday, December 3, with the red cast beginning at 7:30 p.m. Saturday’s performance, also beginning at 7:30 p.m., was the premiere of the white cast.

“To Kill A Mockingbird” takes place in a fictional town called Maycolmb, Alabama, loosely based off the town in which Lee grew up. The play outlines the Finch family and what they face when Atticus (played by Mike Buono (’12) – red cast and Ian Parker (’11) – white cast) decides to defend Tom Robinson (played by Jorden Edwards (’12) – red cast and Andrew Athias (’11) – white cast), who is a black man accused of raping Mayella Ewell (played by Alexandra Mesh (’14) – red cast and Sara Apple (’11) – white cast). Seeing as though the play is set in the 1930s, the inherent racism of the era contributes to the controversial nature of the play.

After weeks of preparation, members of the cast were thrilled about the success of the show’s first weekend.

“[My favorite part was] when it all came together—the set, the makeup, the cues,” said Michal Kortsarts (’13), who plays the role of Scout for the red cast.

Given the popularity of “To Kill A Mockingbird” as a novel, film and play, members of both the red and white casts went through various methods of preparing their characters.

“To prepare for Atticus, I watched the movie very carefully studying how Gregory Peck portrayed the character, but I also added my own twist on the character that made it my own,” said Buono.

The set for East’s rendition of “To Kill A Mockingbird” features the street on which the Finch family, Mrs. Dubose (played by Riley Lassin (’12) – red cast and Samantha Fine (’12) – white cast), Mrs. Maudie Atkinson (played by Molly Nugiel (’13) – red cast and Samantha Kovnat (’12) – white cast) and of course: the mysterious Radley family (Boo was played by Joey Ciurlino (’13) – both casts), with the tree through which Boo gives Scout and Jem treasures.

“The set was big, but we were able to manage it. Mr. Weaver designed it, and it’s made of plywood, one-by-threes, and Styrofoam,” said Merissa Roth (’11), student technical director. “A lot of detail work went along with it.”

The cast featured several new faces to East’s stage, including a couple freshmen that had significant parts. Max Hoffman (’14) was one of them.

“[Playing Dill in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ was] amazing because it’s my first impression of the [East] drama department,” said Hoffman.

The play certainly reflects Weaver’s hope that the cast, crew and audience “will be able to change our corner of the world by reducing the number of young minds who engage in some form of racism,” in that the overall performance causes the audience to reflect on the play’s application to our lives today when faced with complex issues of justice in society.

Freshmen English classes will be viewing the play on Thursday during the school day, since they read Lee’s novel in their English classes this year.

“To Kill A Mockingbird” will be performed Friday, December 10 and Saturday, December 11 beginning at 7:30 p.m. with tickets being sold at eight dollars for students and ten dollars for members of the community.