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Nelle’s Story: The World of Harper Lee

a One Woman Show
CATEGORY : COMEDY DRAMA
by Melita Easters

COMPANY : Synchronicity Performance Group [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Ansley Park Playhouse [WEBSITE]
ID# 4765

SHOWING : July 09, 2015 - August 09, 2015

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Synchronicity Presents
An Athena Group Production
A one-woman show by Melita Easters, tracing the life of beloved author Harper Lee


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Carolyn Cook
Nelle Harper Lee Mandi Lee
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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Storytime
by playgoer
Monday, August 10, 2015
4.0
"Nelle’s Story: The World of Harper Lee" is an exposition-heavy journey into the life of Harper Lee, author of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and the recently published "Go Set a Watchman." This one-woman show actually gives some background on "Go Set a Watchman," making it seem up-to-the-moment in its content. Like any biography of Harper Lee, it spends a significant amount of time discussing Truman Capote, a friend of Nelle Harper Lee’s from childhood up until the tremendous success of "To Kill a Mockingbird."

The spare but effective set design by Spencer Estes carves out three locations on the stage (Harper Lee’s hometown porch, her New York apartment, and a podium at a West Point auditorium, where she spoke in 1965) and sets a vintage typewriter in a table front center. Alex Riviere’s lighting design spotlights the typewriter at the start and end of the show and effectively lights each location. Rob Brooksher’s sound design starts the show with the cricket sounds of a sleepy Southern town and introduces each new scene with sound clips giving a flavor of the new time period.

Mandi Lee portrays Harper Lee from childhood to old age in four scenes, two occurring before the publication of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and two after. Costumes, provided with the assistance of Judilee Fashions, attempt to suggest Harper’s aging. A wig and cane added for the last scene aid in the attempt, but aren’t terribly effective. Joan McElroy’s two-act Harper Lee biography play, "Thus Spoke the Mockingbird," allows a much better sense of time passing, with aging makeup added during the act break. Here, in a one-act structure, the physical suggestions of age are pretty perfunctory.

Harper Lee is quoted as saying "a writer writes for him[her]self," as opposed to an actor or musician, who performs for an audience. Melita Easters, the playwright, has written for an audience, and has done a pretty good job, aided by the able direction of Carolyn Cook. The persona she has created may not be the famously reclusive Ms. Lee herself, but it certainly gives the flavor of her. The oft-extended run of "Nelle’s Story" is evidence of Ms. Easters’ success. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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