On Thursday I went to see a stage adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird at the Lowry Theater in Manchester, I was very excited with it being one of my favorite books and one of my favorite films. I had missed seeing the stage adaptation at The Royal Exchange Theater and had been gutted so when someone was doing a group booking for this one I booked straight away! I am not a liar so I have to tell the harsh truth here, my first impression of the play and viewing its first half left me bitterly disappointed. I didn’t like the way they had done it, taking a book and translating it into a play is not easy and I accept that but the chalk drawings and people reading from there novels, which may have been artsy and appealing for some, did not have a positive effect for me. Let me explain, all the cast had a copy of the novel and took turns to read extracts in their regular voices as if reading the book, If you are going to have a narrator, have one narrator but I found this distracting from the performance and the constant breaking of character didn’t flow. And when ‘off stage’ actors should be still and not pretending to read books and distracting from the scenes right?. I also mentioned not feeling having cast members constantly drawing with chalk added to the performance however surprisingly I did enjoy the little acoustic musical interludes. Again these are my views, others might have hated the music and loved the chalk! Aha.
Secondly onto the acting, I am not going to critique too much here as I am a drama student and know how challenging it is to take on iconic roles, Scout and Dill as young performers were very very good, as was Jem but his southern accent slipped slightly several times throughout the performance. Apart from a few areas of slight over acting from some of the female actors and accents not being consistent from most of the cast, I could not fault the acting and I think the cast did an amazing job. I would like to mention the actor playing Tom Robinson as I thought his acting was absolutely amazing and full of emotion, and also Miss Maudie Atkinson as I think she was the best of the female cast.
I tried my best not to compare this play to the movie, it didn’t have a film crew, the budget or Gregory Peck but as with the movie I will always like the novel the most. Stage and Screen adaptations, due to time obviously, have to cut some pretty amazing bits out- for example, Scouts actually experience in Miss Caroline’s classes, The Fire in which Boo covers Scouts shoulders and Jem comes to a realization connecting the knothole, the blanket and the trousers and the run in’s Scout has with her cousin over the case when visiting at Christmas. So yeah as with any amazing film or play- read the book too!
I would like to share with you an essay which I wrote for my IGCSE English Literature examination focusing on To Kill A Mockingbird as I recently received it back after paying for it and hope that it can help people studying GCSE’s as a model answer as it got an A at IGCSE which is pretty much as good a mark as I could have got, if you are not studying then read anyway just to see what views we share. https://letusgoandflyakite.wordpress.com/2015/05/23/to-kill-a-mockingbird-igcse-essay-example-a-graded/
Thanks for reading