To Kill a Mockingbird

Theatre Baton Rouge stages classic play to remind audiences of forgotten lessons

Theatre has always been reflective of the state of affairs in the nation, and this year’s production of "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Theatre Baton Rouge is certainly no different.

Zac Thriffiley, 25, and one of the two directors of the show, felt this year was the perfect time to debut the play with all the upheaval happening in his city.

“I was on the play reading committee last year in the months following the protests surrounding the Alton Sterling shooting in Baton Rouge,” says Thriffiley. “I found myself wondering how art might help bridge the racial divides within our community. For me, 'To Kill a Mockingbird' speaks to our current political and cultural climate because it addresses issues of racial tolerance and empathy that have remained pertinent since the novel was first published in 1960.”

One strategy the directors chose to use to humanize and add a fresh perspective to the play was by bringing to life moments from the novel that are typically cut or take place off-stage.

“For example, my co-director, Jenny and I, have chosen to show more of the neighbors in Maycomb as they go about their daily lives,” says Thriffiley. “I think these choices serve to remind audiences of the full range of viewpoints and character types within the play and how these differences can either strengthen or further divide a community.”

While a few set changes take place throughout the production, the audience mostly stays clued into the switching of the mood and setting through subtle changes in the lighting and other visual effects.

“We wanted to limit set changes as much as possible while still evoking the look and feel of a small Southern town in the grips of the Great Depression” says Thriffiley. “We tried to evoke different time periods and emotions through shifting lights and sounds, such as having the lights grow warmer when Atticus enters for the first time, and colder when Bob Ewell stalks through the neighborhood.”

Every director hopes their cast will get along and make nice to ensure the success of the play, but this is an issue that Thriffiley has not had to be overly concerned about.

“The cast has been an absolute joy to work with, and they all strived to create bonds of trust and friendship early on in the rehearsal process,” says Thriffiley.“I'm particularly excited to see the actors playing Scout, Jem and Dill interact onstage. These three kids became friends from the moment we read through the script as a cast, and so much of the love and playfulness within their friendship shines through when they're plotting to get Boo Radley to come out of his house.”

The directors hope the play will remind people about lessons of love and compassion that seem all too easy to forget in the current climate of extreme division our nation is wrestling with.

“Our goal in bringing this story to the stage is to remind our neighbors within the community the importance of reaching a hand across the aisle instead of wagging a finger,” says Thriffiley.

“I also hope that it reminds people of the positive changes that stands to be made when we consider things from another's point of view rather than staying rooted in our own prejudices.”

Art often requires the viewer to go beyond the surface to find deeper meanings, and Thriffiley hopes this is an invitation audiences will take as they leave the theatre. 

“My hope is that audiences will leave our production with a renewed sense of empathy for those members of our community that are frequently maligned for their race, religion, ethnicity, etc,” says Thriffiley. “Tom Robinson may be the victim of gross injustice, but that does not mean that Scout intends to face such injustice in the future without putting up a proper fight. Hopefully our audiences can follow her example.”


Upcoming Events

On Friday, Sept. 22, Esprit de Coeur will host an Art Themed Murder Mystery dinner. On this night patrons will participate in solving a murder over the course of a gourmet dinner.

Clues will be given and the suspects will speak on their behalf as you and your investigative team will work together to solve the mystery. A tantalizing prize package awaits our top sleuths of the evening.
*Please note that tables will be shared and your table becomes your investigative team


Come out to for the opening reception for artists, Bonnie Camos and Louise Guidry at Achilles Print Studio. 
On exhibit are recent works consisting of encaustic paintings and three-dimensional wax pieces. There will also be a demonstration of working with wax.
Hors d'oeuvres and wine will be provided.


Cypress Knee Theatre Company presents Arthur Miller's timeless tale "The Crucible," directed by Alicia Chaisson.

Tickets are on sale now here or by phone at (337) 291-1122.  
Preview Performances ($15)
Friday, Sept 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Sept 24 at 2 p.m.
NOTE : There is no performance Saturday, Sept 23 due to a prior booking of the space.
Regular Performances ($20)
Thursday – Saturday Sept 28-30, Oct 5-7 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday Oct 1 and 8 at 2 p.m.


Stop by the The Brass Room for Mic'd Out Monday and Mccomb- Veazey Neighborhood Coterie's Sip'n Dine.

Enjoy local spoken word artist and farm fresh food grown at the Mccomb-Veazey Homegrowers Community Farm in the McComb-Veazey neighborhood.
Event Partner: Lyrically Inclined
Guest Chef: Zadee's Catering
Menu: Chicken and Sausage smothered okras, purple hull peas, butternut smash and roll. Plates are $10.
(Early birds can begin picking up food at 8 p.m.)




Categories: Ça C’est Bon, Theatre + Art