WHEN: Sunday, January 20 @ 2 pm and Tuesday, January 23 @ 7:30 pm
WHERE: Summit Playhouse, 120 New England Ave., Summit
Performance dates are May 4 - 20
Directed by Kevern Cameron
Produced by Joann Scanlon and Arnold Buchaine
Assistant Director Carol Holland
Stage Manager George Seylaz
Costumes Beverly Wand and Ann Lowe
(None of these descriptions of age and physical characteristics are definitive. These describe how the character might best appear to the audience, not facts about the actor. They are a starting place for finding the right person for the role. Always, talent and how you fit with other actors count most. Experience counts but so does eagerness to try something new. Audition! The play can accommodate and deserves a large cast, some without lines. Note: The play takes place in Maycomb, Alabama, 1935. The era and the dialect are important. The script uses the “N-word” as that community would have at the time. That, too, is important.
- ATTICUS FINCH (M, 50, greying, tall, moves with dignity): Atticus is the figure on which the entire play depends, a lawyer who, in the deep south, has been assigned the task of defending a black man accused of raping a white woman. Despite the town’s almost unanimous isapproval, he is resolved to give Tom Robinson the best defense possible. His gravitas – moral weight – is his most important characteristic, followed closely by his thoughtful sense of humor, particularly in relating to his children, Scout and Jem, whom he loves and never talks down to. He most wants to exemplify deep empathy and profound moral standards for them.
- JEAN LOUISE FINCH (F, 30-60): The narrator of this story, Jean Louis, is Atticus’ daughter, now grown up. She exists outside the action and its time, to shape that memory as she shares it. She wants most to have us understand the most powerful event and figure in her life.
- SCOUT FINCH (F, 9): Scout is Jean Louis at 9 years old. A tomboy who learned to read sitting on Atticus’ lap, she’s never known a mother. She is used to being talked to as an adult even though her frank curiosity
often takes adults by surprise. She picks up on everything, even though she doesn’t always know what it means yet. She’ll use her fists if provoked, but learns other ways to deal with problems over the course
of the summer. She wants most to figure out adults, particularly the adult Atticus wants her to become.
- JEM FINCH (M, 13, athletic): Atticus’ son, Jem is Scout’s brother. Each is the other’s only friend, except for Dill. He enjoys inventing games for them all to play, yet feels he has responsibilities as an older brother. Football is his life. He loves his father, but wants most to figure out if he wants to or can live up to Atticus’ standards.
- DILL (Charles Baker Harris, M, 10, smaller than Scout): Dill is the outsider, passed from relative to relative to end up each summer in Maycomb with his aunt. He is a teller of tall stories and his daring imagination entrances Scout and Jem. He sees who Atticus is more quickly than they do. Fatherless, he wants most to be a significant part of a family, with a father like Atticus.
- CALPURNIA (F, 30-60): Cal, as most call her, is the Finch family’s black housekeeper, but she is far more a member of the family than employee. Her firm sense of right and wrong coupled with her tough love and evenhandedness has formed Scout and Jem almost as much as Atticus has. She is deeply compassionate and wants most to see that people are treated equally and properly while keeping her loved ones safe.
- TOM ROBINSON (M, 25-35, muscular but with a crippled arm): Tom is a black man accused of rape by a white girl and her father. He’s innocent – he intended an act of kindness – but though uneducated understands that the accusation alone is most likely a death sentence. He wants most to tell the truth in the desperate hope someone will understand what actually happened.
- HELEN ROBINSON (F, 20-35, depending on Tom’s age): Tom Robinson’s wife, Helen is devastated by the charge against her husband and by trying to take care of her family without her him. She wants most for her husband to come back to them.
- REVEREND SYKES (M, 40+): As pastor to Maycomb’s African-Americans, Rev. Sykes is their leader. He knows Jem and Scout through Calpurnia and invites the children to sit with him in the ‘colored’ balcony when they can’t find seats in the courtroom. He lives by the tenets of his faith and wants most to guide his people through this terrible event safely and with dignity.
- MAUDIE ATKINSON (F, 40-60): Miss Maudie, one of three female neighbors, shows us that despite the milieu, white southern women could be independent, fair-minded, and witty. She models, as does Calpurnia, what becoming a woman should be for Scout. She wants most to do her own thing while demonstrating
and encouraging balance and fairness.
- STEPHANIE CRAWFORD (F, 40-60): Miss Stephanie, a second neighbor, is the neighborhood gossip. As with all gossips, she is far more interested in the scandalous than the true. She wants most to see what reaction she gets each time she says something provocative.
- MRS. DUBOSE (F, 50 +): The third female neighbor, Mrs. Dubose verbally attacks everyone who passes her porch. Her bitterness arises from a severe illness she keeps private. Jem and Scout learn a great lesson because of her. She wants most that everyone be as unhappy as she is.
- HECK TATE (M, 35-60, he can handle himself if he has to): The town sheriff, Heck must deal with the community as it is, even if he doesn’t necessarily share all its values. He does his duty, straightforwardly. He wants most to be fair and get things to work out as best they can.
- JUDGE TAYLOR (M, 50+, deliberate): Judge Taylor has assigned Atticus to defend Tom Robinson. He knows
his community, but shares with Atticus an absolute commitment to the law. He keeps absolute control of
his courtroom. He chews cigars to pulp and sometimes appears to be sleeping while court is in session.
He isn’t. He wants most that this trial meet the highest standards of legal proceedings.
- HORACE GILMER (M, 40+): The prosecuting attorney from out of town, Mr. Gilmer is doing his job. He has no
passion for what he is doing, but is smart enough to know the evidence supports Tom, and how to seize the opportunity for the jury to ignore that evidence. What he wants most is to keep his job.
- BOB EWELL (M, 40+, perhaps small): The poster ugly for southern white trash, Bob Ewell accuses Tom of raping his daughter and dares the community to say he’s lying. His crude wit and cocky defiance of the
‘smart’ people in the courtroom fascinate us. What he wants most is revenge on those who he thinks keep him at the bottom of the social ladder.
- MAYELLA EWELL (F, 20): Brought up in ignorance and poverty, Mayella is friendless yet with the job of taking care of her younger siblings while her father drinks. She lures Tom into her house, then throws herself on him. When her father discovers them, her only way out is to accuse Tom publicly. In the courtroom, she responds like a trapped animal. She wants most to avoid the beating her father will inflict if she does anything wrong on the stand.
- WALTER CUNNINGHAM (M, 40+, of enough size to get our attention): Uneducated but with a droll streak, and perhaps the most complex character in the play, Cunningham is a desperately poor farmer who is very grateful Atticus can solve his legal problems but can only pay with the goods his farm produces. As poor white trash, he holds the prejudices of his day but wants most to figure out the right thing to do,
and do it.
- BOO (Arthur Radley, 40+): Boo Radley is the spooky figure in the house next to the Finch’s, whose door and windows are always closed. Rumors of his dark history have created a picture of a monster that terrifies and fascinates the children. He appears at the end of the play and only speaks twice, but his presence is felt throughout the play. (The actor will double in other roles earlier.) He wants most to connect with the world, represented by Jem and Scout.
- NATHAN RADLEY (40+, can be same actor as Boo Radley): Nathan is the Finch’s neighbor, acknowledged with politeness, who took over confining Boo in the house when their father died. He wants most for the
Radley’s to be left alone.