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Thus Spoke the Mockingbird

a One Woman Show
CATEGORY : COMEDY DRAMA
by Joanie McElroy

COMPANY : Lionheart Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Norcross Community and Cultural Arts Center
ID# 2703

SHOWING : February 14, 2008 - February 17, 2008

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Harper Lee's career is traced during the audience's visit with her in two sessions (1961 and the present) at her family home in Monroeville, Alabama.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Scott King
Harper Lee Joanie McElroy
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REVIEWS

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Top-Rate Entertainment
by playgoer
Saturday, February 16, 2008
4.5
Recent movies centering on Truman Capote have touched on his relationship with childhood friend and "In Cold Blood" assistant Harper Lee. "Thus Spoke the Mockingbird" turns the tables and focuses on Harper Lee, with Truman Capote as a secondary focus. Two of the touchstones of her life, as depicted in the play, have been Truman and the blockbuster "To Kill a Mockingbird."

Joanie McElroy does a highly amusing imitation of Truman Capote in a sequence describing the pot-boiler stories Harper and Truman wrote as children. That and many other sequences bring her childhood and young adulthood to sparkling life.

When act two arrives and Harper is suddenly decades older, the stories continue, but the tone deepens as Harper realizes that the immense popularity of "To Kill a Mockingbird" (both the book and the movie) have trapped her in a web of unfulfillable expectations. By the end of the evening, we feel that we have come to know Harper Lee, at least as much as she will ever let herself be known.

A charming, simple set contains the action, which is remarkably fluid and varied for a one-woman show. Joanie's actions as the younger Harper flow effortlessly, while the elderly Harper of act two conveys a ginger spryness. The set is used to advantage in both acts, with a rocking chair placed center stage in act two to center the action.

Scott King deserves praise for bringing this show to life, with an appropriate arc from Harper's youthful exuberance to her rueful defiance of expectations as the show draws to a close. But Joanie McElroy deserves the lion's share of praise, for she wrote the play, shaping it expertly in response to comments at a reading last August, and plays Harper Lee as a believably flinty woman of great will and great promise.

This one is a joy to behold! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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