Classic story takes stage in Fairburn

Wed, 02/27/2008 - 10:13am
By: The Citizen

Classic story takes stage in Fairburn

On Valentine’s Day, one of the most heart-stirring stories of all time opened to sold-out audiences and standing ovations at Southside Theatre Guild in Fairburn. It’s not about star-crossed lovers but about finding the heart within each of us to stand up for what is right.

Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” won the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1960, but its real value is in the effect it has had on the people who have read it. It tops librarian “must-read” lists and ranks just below the Bible as one of the most influential books ever.

The play is set in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama in 1935. It follows the story of Atticus Finch as he defends a black man who is falsely accused of assaulting a white woman. As Atticus fights against the prejudice of his neighbors, his daughter Scout, son Jem and their friend Dill learn invaluable lessons about integrity and courage – and so does the audience. As Atticus tells them, “You never understand a person until you … climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

Director Tammy Hyder-Williams said, “This play is still relevant today because we haven’t learned our lessons. Sometimes we need to look backward to realize how far we still have to go.”

Veteran actor David Lauby heads up the cast with his thought-provoking portrayal of Atticus. “Mockingbird was one of the first novels I remember reading, and it had a profound effect on me then. Now I’m portraying a character that influenced my life, coincidentally at the same time my 14-year-old daughter is reading ‘Mockingbird’ for school,” said Lauby. His daughter attends Fayette County High School.

L. Rae Watford portrays Tom Robinson, the man whose life Atticus defends in the courtroom. Given Sharp gives a memorable performance as Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, who comes to understand her father and her neighbors with poignant pluckiness. Trey Smith plays Jem, Scout’s older brother, and Sam Williams portrays their new-found friend Dill.

The rest of the cast offers a great mix of experience and talent, sure to provide some moving and memorable performances.

Southside has given this play a rating of PG-13, due to mature themes and racially inflammatory language.

“To Kill a Mockingbird,” which opened Feb. 14, will run at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays until March 1. Tickets are $12 for all Thursday performances and $12 for students and $15 for adults at all other performances. Phone 770-969-0956 or visit to make your reservations today.

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