To Kill a Mockingbird coming to ASU-MH

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Arkansas State University-Mountain Home's (ASUMH) Performing Arts Council will present To Kill a Mockingbird by National Players at the Vada Sheid Community Development Center (The Sheid) on Friday, Feb. 13. The 7 p.m. show will be held in the Ed Coulter Performing Arts Center. Tickets for the play are $30 for adults and $15 for students and are available at The Sheid box office Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by phone at 870-508-6280. Tickets are also available through iTickets at 1-800-965-9324 and online through iTickets at www.thesheid.com.

To Kill a Mockingbird is an iconic American coming-of-age story in its first production by National Players. Harper Lee's classic novel offers a keyhole view into the struggles faced by a small town and its people. Scout, a young girl, leaves childhood innocence behind to enter an adult world of morality and decision making. Her growth and change is universal, and National Players is bringing this Pulitzer Prize-winning tale to life during their 66th anniversary tour.

Launching from its home base of Olney, Md., just north of Washington, DC, ten actors from National Players are taking the show on an eight month tour around the country. Continuing the company's legacy of America's longest-running tour, they will travel across the country presenting theatre, theatre education, and arts integration to all communities. At ASUMH, the cast will also join the college Diversity Committee to present a Listen-at-Lunch lecture for students on Feb. 12 at noon. The lecture, to be held in Gaston Lobby, is free and open to the public.

About the play, Jason King Jones, Artistic Director of National Players, said "To Kill A Mockingbird brings to the stage a critical moment in our nation's past. It looks squarely in the face of racial hatred and injustice, and for that reason alone, it is incredibly relevant. Yes, this play was written in a time when the use of certain hurtful words were far more commonplace than we want to admit. Yes, it may be more uncomfortable to hear and see the actions of these characters than it is to imagine them in one's mind. Encountering some of Harper Lee's characters may be incredibly difficult--not because they seem so foreign, but because, eighty years later, they feel so familiar."

"In the 21st century," Jones continues, "we have become comfortable with brevity: six-second videos, 140-character messages, 15 minutes of fame. Brevity can certainly be impactful, but brevity seldom leaves room for subtlety, for introspection, for contradiction. Brevity provides an easy answer, but easy answers can often lead to lazy thinking. In To Kill a Mockingbird we witness the danger and insidiousness of the easy answer when applied to a group of people. Atticus, on the other hand, advocates for an action that is not necessarily easy or easily practiced: empathy, or as he says, the act of "walking around in someone else's skin." Exercising the empathic muscle requires daily (sometimes moment-to-moment) effort, and even for actors--who are trained to do it on a daily basis--it requires a conscious decision to engage: to ask difficult questions of others and ourselves. I am ever an optimist, and like Atticus, I believe that change involves a painful uphill climb. But it is a climb worth taking."

For more information, contact Christy Keirn, ASUMH's Director of Communications and Institutional Advancement, at (870) 508-6109.

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