sealPurdue News

January 30, 2003

Purdue Theatre presents 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The story of a quiet southern town rocked by a crisis of conscience comes to the Loeb Playhouse stage in February when Purdue Theatre presents the dramatization of Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize winning novel "To Kill a Mockingbird."

The play will run from Friday, Feb. 21, through Saturday, March 1. Associate professor of theatre Richard Stockton Rand will direct Christopher Sergel's dramatization of the novel.

First published in 1960, "To Kill a Mockingbird" created one of the most extraordinary records in publishing history during its first year in print by selling more than 2.5 million copies and going through 14 printings. A British Book Society choice, the novel also was published in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Czechoslovakia.

Told from the dual perspectives of Jean Louise "Scout" Finch as both an adult and a child, "To Kill a Mockingbird" examines issues of prejudice and courage in 1930s Alabama. Taunted by other children, a bewildered Scout turns to her father, Atticus, who is a lawyer. He explains that he's defending a young Negro wrongfully accused of a grave crime. When Scout asks why he's doing it, Atticus replies, "Because if I didn't, I couldn't hold my head up."

When Scout pursues why her father should take on such a hopeless fight, he tells her, "Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason not to try."

Rand says the drama offers much to learn about humanity.

"Great stories tell us how to live in the world," Rand says. "They teach us to comprehend all of what lives in humankind. They reveal evil and good, and the potential for evil and good in every human being. 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is a great story, and it's a great opportunity for us to bring Harper Lee's tale to the stage."

Rand says the historical setting for the drama also is fascinating.

"The book was written a hundred years after the Civil War," Rand says. "It was born in a city during a time of hope in a place far from the small Alabama town in which it lives. As a child, it heard John Kennedy speak of fearlessness, Robert Kennedy of compassion, and Martin Luther King of mountaintops. It told of unfathomable wrongs, unimaginable injustice and phantom salvation. All are contained within us."

"To Kill a Mockingbird" opens at 8 p.m. Fri., Feb. 21. Additional performances are at 8 p.m. Feb. 22, Feb. 28 and March 1, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sun., Feb. 23.

General public tickets are $15 and $17. Senior citizen tickets are $11 and $13, and student tickets are $9 and $11. Tickets may be purchased at the Loeb Box Office in Stewart Center, or by calling (765) 494-3933 or toll-free at (800) 914-SHOW. Tickets also are available online. Groups of eight or more can reserve discounted tickets by calling (765) 494-3084.

CONTACT: Lori Sparger, Purdue Theatre marketing director, (765) 494-3084,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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