MIAMI— Miami Little Theatre will hold auditions at 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday for its upcoming production of “To Kill A Mockingbird”.
Auditions will be held in the MLT building at 117 North Main Street in Miami and participants are strongly encouraged to attend both nights of auditions. The play will be directed by Aaron Smith (“The Shadow Box”) and Phillip Shamblin (“DeathTrap”).
The directors have chosen the revised edition of, “To Kill A Mockingbird.” This is a full-length drama written by Christopher Sergel, based on the novel by Harper Lee. The biggest difference in this version is the added importance placed on smaller roles.
“I pitched this play as part of our selection process,” Smith said. “‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ is an important story today, just as much as it was when Lee wrote the legendary novel. I wanted to be a part of bringing her book to the Coleman stage. For this show to be a success, it needs support from the local black community. Even if you have never acted before, come to auditions. You might be surprised how well you do.”
This will be “closed auditions.” Actors will audition one at a time or in small groups privately with the directors.
“Like most of our previous collaborations, Aaron and I will assist each other in the blocking and direction of the actors, as well as every aspect of the show,” Shamblin said. “There is so much pre-production work that goes into creating these shows. Aaron and I have discussed this show for over a year and now we finally get to tell this story the best that we can.”
The play calls for a cast of 11 males and six females, plus ensemble. Calpurnia, Reverend Sykes and Tom Robinson are lead black roles. Scout, Jem and Dill are lead children roles.
Shamblin and Smith said they will be looking for strong performers.
“The show calls for not only experienced adult actors but also several child actors that can deliver memorable performances,” Shamblin said. “Most importantly, as always, we will be finding that 'magic chemistry' between the characters. This is a drama. Drama is sometimes difficult, but the reward for these actors will be a product they can be proud of.”
Jean Louise "Scout" Finch is a young girl about to experience the events that will shape the rest of her life. She should, ideally, seem as young as nine. Scout is courageous and forthright. If a question occurs to her, she’ll ask it.
Jeremy "Jem" Finch is a few years older than his sister Scout. Like his sister—perhaps even more so—he’s reaching out to understand their unusual and thus conventionally-admirable father. Probably the strongest under-current in Jem is his deliver to communicate with his father.
Atticus Finch is tall, quietly impressive, reserved, caviled and nearly 50. He wears glasses because of the poor sight in his left eye, looks with his right eye when he wants to see something well. It’s typical of Atticus that when he found out he was an extraordinary shot with the rifle, he gave up shooting because he thought it gave him an unfair advantage over the animals. He’s quietly courageous and without heroics, he does what he considers just.
Calpurnia is black, proud and capable. She has raised the motherless Scout and Jem. She’s a self-educated woman, and she’s made quite a good job of it. Her standards are high and her discipline as applied to Scout and Jem is uncompromising.
Charles Baker Harris (Dill) is small, blonde and wise beyond his years. He’s about the same age as Jem. Dill is neater and better dressed than his friends. There’s an undercurrent of sophistication to him, but his laugh is sudden and happy. Obviously, there is a lack in his one home life, and he senses something in Atticus that’s missing from his own family relationship.
Maudie Atkinson is younger than Atticus, but of his generation, she’s a lovely, sensitive woman. Though belonging to the time and place of this play, she has a wisdom and compassion that suggest the best instincts of the South of that period.
Walter Cunningham is a hard-up farmer who shares the prejudices of the time and place but who is nevertheless a man who can be reached as a human being. He also has seeds of leadership, for when his attitude is changed during the confrontation with Atticus, he takes the other with him.
Reverend Sykes is the black minister of the First Purchase Church, called that because it was paid for with the first money earned by freed slaves. An imposing man with a strong stage presence. He should have a strong minister’s voice.
Heck Tate is the Town sheriff and a complex man. He does his duty as he sees it, and enforces the law without favor. The key to this man’s actual feelings is revealed in his final speeches to Atticus, and this attitude is an undercurrent to his earlier actions.
Stephanie Crawford is a neighborhood gossip, and she enjoys it to the hilt. There’s an enthusiasm in her talking over the people of her town that makes it almost humorous. Sometime she says things that are petty, but partly it’s because she simply can’t keep herself from stirring things up.
Arthur Radley (Boo) is a pale recluse who hasn't been outside his house in 15 years. It takes an extraordinary emergency to bring him out, and once this uncertain about how to deal with people, and with his mission accomplished, he’s eager to return to his sanctuary.
Mrs. Dubose is an old woman—ill, walking with difficulty, her pain making her biting, bitter and angry. However, she’s fighting a secret battle within herself, a battle about which few people are aware, and her existence has in it a point of importance for Jem and Scout.
Tom Robinson is black, handsome and vital, but with a left hand crippled by a childhood accident and held against his chest. He’s married to Helen and they have young children. He faces up to a false charge with quiet dignity. There’s an undercurrent in him of kindness, sensitivity and consideration.
Judge Taylor is a wintry man of the South, who does what he can within the context of his time to see justice done in his court. While he tries to run his court impartially, his sympathy is with Tom.
Mr. Gilmer is a public prosecutor who is doing his job in trying a convict Tom. In many ways, his manner is cruel and hurtful. And yet, under all this, he too has unexpressed doubts as to Tom’s guilt, and his heart isn’t really in this conviction. Still he goes after it, and it’s a hard thing.
Bob Ewell is a little bantam-cock of a man who lives with his large family by the town dump. As Harper Lee describes their situation — “The town gave them Christmas baskets, welfare money and the back of their hand.” Bob thinks this trial will make him an important man, and when Atticus destroys his credibility, Bob’s rage and frustration border on paranoia.
Mayella Ewell is the oldest daughter of Bob Ewell. She’s a desperately lonely and overworked young woman whose need for companionship—any companionship—has overwhelmed every other emotion. However, when her effort to reach out explodes in her face, she fights just as desperately for what she thinks is survival.
Rehearsals will be every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 pm. The first rehearsal will be after Christmas, on Monday, Jan. 2. College students, please let the directors know when you will be back in town from the holiday break. The cast will get together to read the script at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 15 at the Miami Little Theatre building.