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Hartselle Enquirer

‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ coming to town Oct. 14-15

Rehearsing their roles in “To Kill A Mockingbird,” from left, are Frank Travis, Denise Williams, John Mark Waynick, Amy Balch and Tucker Wallace. | Enquirer Photo: Clif Knight

The racial discrimination against blacks that was prevalent in the deep south in the 1930s will be recreated on stage in Hartselle next week as a College Street Players production of “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

The two-act award-winning drama will be presented at the Hartselle Fine Arts Center Friday and Saturday, Oct. 14-15, under the direction of Edd Balch.

Two special performances will be staged on the morning of Oct. 14 for Hartselle High School freshmen English students. Public performances will be at 7 p .m. the same day and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sat., Oct. 15.

“I’ve wanted to direct the play for a number of years and got set up to do it a couple of years ago,” said Balch. “But a performing group in Decatur got the jump on me and I had to put it on the shelf for awhile.”

“Harper Lee’s story is an accurate depiction of the way southerners thought, talked and acted toward blacks at that time,” Balch said. “To retell the story on stage is an effective way to educate today’s generation about the historical significance of that era.”

The way whites felt about blacks back them should not have been acceptable, is not acceptable today and never will be again,” he added.”

The play cast consists of 20-plus actors in addition to a number of extras. Lead and support roles are being played by Tom Robinson, Patrick Patterson, John Mark Waynick, Amy Balch, Denise Williams, Olivia Patterson, Keilee Terry and Tucker Wallace.

“I directed the play for a performing group at Athens State University in 1993,” said Robinson, who is playing the role of a black man accused of raping a white girl. “I can appreciate that time period and I had no trouble fitting into the role. I think the play represents a valuable history lesson for young people who are not familiar with how it was for blacks back then. I’m a history buff and I love to enlighten and entertain.”

“I have been involved with a rape advocacy group and that experience has helped me fit into the role of the girl who has accused a black man of rape,” said Balch. “It’s empowering to be on stage and have a part in retelling that story.”

Tickets for the play are available at the Hartselle Fine Arts Center Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce or from Edd Balch at 256-355-5994.

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