(Aileen Jacobson’s article appeared in The New York Times, 11/15; via Pam Green.)
Before ticketholders even take their seats, they hear sporadic bird chirping. The audience has entered 1930s Maycomb County in Alabama, the setting for “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Harper Lee’s profoundly moving novel, which has been adapted for the stage by Christopher Sergel.
Though the production at Bay Street Theater and Sag Harbor Center for the Arts is only mildly environmental — besides the bird songs, a few actors sit behind the audience during a courtroom scene — it is totally engrossing, and retains much of the novel’s power.
Joe Minutillo, the director, and his talented cast convey persuasively both the story and the mood of Depression-era America. Everyday interchanges among neighbors, some friendly and some not, are as important to the story’s fabric as the life-or-death actions involving a wrongly accused man.
The play is part of Bay Street’s six-year-old Literature Live! series, performed on weekdays for school groups (open to the public, based on availability) and on weekends for the public.