BWW Review: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD at ARGENTA COMMUNITY THEATER
Nestled in the the downtown corridor of North Little Rock sits the perfect-sized theater (in my opinion) called the Argenta Community Theater. In this perfect-sized theater, magic happens. This group of talented artists come together and utilize every space harmoniously to tell their stories. The story that I happened to see this time was "To Kill A Mockingbird." Now I have to make a confession: I only read half of it in 10th grade and let my friend fill me in on the rest (sorry Mrs. Smith.) My teenaged brain just wasn't mature enough to really appreciate what all this story has to offer. Luckily, though, the Argenta people gave me this opportunity, and I'm so happy I came.
For those of you like me who skipped out on Harper Lee's brilliant piece of work, "To Kill A Mockingbird" is about racial injustice set during the depression in the south. Lawyer Atticus Finch, played by James Norris, is appointed to represent a negro who is accused of raping a teenaged, white girl. For those of you familiar with this era, it isn't hard to imagine how the story played out, and Director Vincent Insalaco handled this story as it was intended with a lot of respect for the material.
Based on similar events in Harper Lee's life, TKAM follows Atticus' two children, Scout (Gwen Selfridge) and Jem (Ryan Allen) and their friend Dill (Sagan Kinetic) as they try to make sense of their world, and let me tell you, the kids were awesome! They performed as well as any other seasoned actor. They all worked well together, and I believed in their performances as they were struggling to understand why the towns people were behaving the way they were.
Miki Gaynor's "Calpurnia" was maternally nurturing to the Finch children. Tricia H. Spione gave neighbor "Maudie" a caring nature to her character. Through subtle body language and a "look," both actresses portrayed their roles with strong personalities without being over bearing.
Donna Singleton's "Ms. Dubose" and Susan Thomey's "Aunt Stephanie" let the audience know that people's opinions in this era was hard to change. I felt sorry for Colette Crochet's "Mayella Ewell" for what she was really going through, and I wanted to kill her papa Bob Ewell, played by Shelton Harden, myself. Of course, my heart went out to Tom Robinson (Jermaine McClure) and his family, and the hero of the story Boo Radley (Ben Grimes.) I can't finish this review without mentioning how well the narrator (Fran Jameson) weaved the whole story together. I would imagine her lines were the most challenging to remember.
I hate leaving out the rest of the cast because they were all amazing. They made me teary, and I don't do that in public. But as I was leaving the theater, I noticed several other people were wiping tears away as well, so I didn't feel so embarrassed--it really was THAT good.
You still have five more chances to see this show. Tickets for April 24 through the 28th can be purchased from a link off of their website at argentacommunitytheater.com. Hurry and get your tickets before they are all gone.