Remembering Harper Lee, Who Died Days Before Syr Stage Opens "To Kill A Mockingbird"
Syracuse Stage has an unfortunate note of nostalgia added to its production of “To Kill a Mockingbird” that opens this week. The passing of Harper Lee who wrote the novel has caused some reflection on the story and its characters.
There might be a few more people that go see Syracuse Stage’s production of To Kill A Mockingbird…because of the memory of Harper Lee. Resident Dramaturg Kyle Bass says Lee wrote much of the book through the eyes of the young character scout. In the play, Bass says, we might be meeting the author.
“In the play we have a narrator; we have Jean Lousie Finch, who is the grown Scout, leading us emotionally through the story. So in Scout we have, for all I’ve learned and know about Harper Lee, is very much the child Harper Lee.”
To Kill A Mockingbird Feb 24 thru Mar 26 @ Syracuse Stage
The rich character study within a racially charged courtroom drama is set in a time earlier than the civil rights era in which Lee wrote it.
“I think authors are under a kind of pressure. The culture and the zeitgeist kind of express a pressure on writers and they respond to it. And so she responded in 1960 to what was happening, but set it in 1935. Something in 1960 reminded her of 1935.”
In Fact, Bass says, Syracuse Stage decided to produce the play because of contemporary problems of race.
The story many know from the book and the movie, might be more relevant as live drama.
“You read books in isolation; we take in theater as a community. And this story in particular, and particularly our production of this play, is very aware of the community that is the audience.”
Syracuse Stage presented “To Kill a Mockingbird” 20 years ago…but Bass says there’s a new audience now…and maybe even more of a nostalgic connection.
To Kill a Mockingbird at Syracuse Stage runs February 24th thru March 26th.