Aaron Sorkin’s production of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is as riveting as it is relevant. For three hours the audience is drawn in, and there is no turning back. Defense attorney Atticus Finchis is morally flawless, demonstrating grace, compassion, and self-restraint again and again, in the most trying of circumstances, with the most trying of people. This is Maycumb, Alabama, 1934 and Finch is defending Tom Robinson, a black man wrongfully accused of a violent crime against a white woman.
The story is told largely through the eyes of Atticus’ young children – precocious daughter Scout, and protective son Jem, who are thrust into the politics of a deeply segregated south once their father is appointed as Tom’s attorney. This is racism of the most insidious kind, the kind written in history books, that most of us can never imagine, and hopefully never experience. There is also humor and innocence and decency, and while it isn’t enough to overcome the ignorance and hatred of the time, it does foreshadow that change is possible. Yes, the change documented history books, but more importantly, the change in our hearts.
To Kill a Mockingbird is playing at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis from February 14-19, 2023. Tickets are limited and start at $39.
Review by Kavita Battula; photo by Julieta Cervantes