News on your favorite shows, specials & more!

Interview: Justin Mark Reflects on TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD at Clowes Memorial Hall

Join Justin Mark and his fellow cast members at one of their upcoming performances at Clowes Memorial Hall January 23rd through January 28th.

By: Jan. 23, 2024
To Kill a Mockingbird Show Information
Get Show Info Info
Get Tickets
Cast
Photos
Videos
Interview: Justin Mark Reflects on TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD at Clowes Memorial Hall  Image
Enter Your Email to Unlock This Article

Plus, get the best of BroadwayWorld delivered to your inbox, and unlimited access to our editorial content across the globe.




Existing user? Just click login.

To Kill a Mockingbird Image

There can be no doubt that there is a great weight to any role in To Kill a Mockingbird. It is a classic novel, but it is so much more to those of us who have read it and absorbed its intensity, integrity, and challenge to evaluate our own biases. As it finds new life as a play, we had the privilege of speaking with Justin Mark who plays Jem in the current touring production. He gave us insight into his process and the ways this story still resonates with a modern audience. 

Justin Mark’s journey with this story actually began before the COVID-19 pandemic. He had auditioned back in December of 2019 and got cast to play Jem starting August of 2020, but that was not to be. The intervening months were spent thinking about the show and the opportunity to finally perform. As he describes it, “The show was my north star because I was hopeful it would happen.” Those hopes came to fruition in early 2022 when rehearsals began and the production hit the stage at last. 

Every good actor puts time into developing their character and learning the intricacies of their role, but Justin said there was a distinct advantage. “When I got into rehearsal, I realized that I didn’t have to do much to make it successful. The writing was already perfect.” That gave him the latitude to simply follow the script and add his personal nuances. 

He developed his character with some careful research, including revisiting the book and the memorable film made in 1962. But he had a unique challenge with the role of Jem. “I thought a lot about the fact that I am an adult playing a child. I’ve seen that done before and I really wanted to understand that and unpack that further.” Jem is at a critical transition point in his adolescence in the midst of the story, so it’s crucial to think through how he’s evolving. 

Of course, To Kill a Mockingbird has intense themes centering on racism and prejudice. These themes still resonate today because, as Justin so aptly puts it, “There’s still a lot of work to do.” That puts this play in the perfect position to reach modern audiences.“It’s relevant and intentionally modern at times,” so it’s not hard to bridge that gap and feel the story’s importance even though it was published over 60 years ago and takes place in the 30s. The bottom line is “audiences can relate because racism and biases, whether conscious or not, are around us all the time.” What matters is “we’re constantly trying to evolve.” 

Justin Mark takes pride in making each performance a little different because every day is a little different. “I’m learning to allow the day to come with me into the show.” Although the script is never changing, “the inspiration comes from a different place every night.” 

Audiences are sure to be drawn into the world of To Kill a Mockingbird and have their own opportunities to draw inspiration from the play and connect it to themselves. There is something timeless about the tough transitions of childhood and learning how to be as just as you can even in an unjust world. 

Join Justin Mark and his fellow cast members at one of their upcoming performances at Clowes Memorial Hall January 23rd through January 28th




Comments

To post a comment, you must register and login.



Buy at the Theatre Shop T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More

Videos