It’s a sleepy little town, yet one that thousands of literary devotees make their ways to annually. One of the biggest reasons for their journeys is this: a stage production of the novel that has, in many ways, put the town of Monroeville, Alabama, on the map.
Held in April and May, year after year, and heralded worldwide for its theatrical value, the To Kill a Mockingbird play is achieved in two acts.
To Kill a Mockingbird, a Play in Two Acts
The first act takes place at the O.L. Biggs Amphitheater on the west lawn of the Monroe County Courthouse. This was once the same working courthouse where a young Harper Lee watched her father, Amasa, practice law. The outside venue allows for a wonderful telling of the first part of Scout Finch’s story, and The Mockingbird Players employ a variety of props that take the audience back to 1930s Maycomb, the setting of the narration. From an antique car to a mule and a mad dog, the attention to detail brings the audience into the fold during Act I.
Act II invites the audience into the courthouse itself. Built in 1903, this building was the inspiration for the courthouse in To Kill a Mockingbird. Inside, the audience is drawn into the famous trial scene in which Scout’s father, Atticus Finch, defends the wrongly accused Tom Robinson from charges of rape. The black Robinson is destined to be judged by a jury of 12 white men, selected from the audience.
The entire production lasts about two and half hours, and audience members are invited to meet and mingle with stars of the production, The Mockingbird Players, after the show is done.
If you’re considering a visit to Monroeville, you may want to plan your trip for April or May and buy your tickets for To Kill a Mockingbird early. The locals in Monroeville will tell you that tickets go fast, and the play is one of the real highlights of any visit to the town on which Harper Lee’s Maycomb was based.
What’s your favorite theatrical adaptation of a novel? Let us know!