To Plant a Mockingbird

Sunday, April 26, 2009 Road Junkies 0 Comments

We've been hearing for several years about the annual dramatic production of To Kill a Mockingbird in Monroeville, Alabama, the hometown of Harper Lee, the book's author. However, we've never been quick enough to obtain tickets before this year. The play runs from the last weekend in April through the end of May with performances Thursday through Saturday each week. Tickets go on sale at the beginning of March, and by the time the play opens, every performance is usually sold out.
The old Monroe County courthouse, which has been beautifully restored, now houses the Monroe County Heritage Museum. A street in the fictional town of Maycomb has been created on the back lawn of the courthouse and serves as the setting for the first act of Mockingbird. All the actors are local amateurs, some of whom have been involved with the production for a number of years. A couple of the young people in this year's play have played the children's roles in previous years.When the trial begins in the second act, the audience moves into the oval courtroom, the same one that was recreated on a studio lot in California for the production of the 1962 movie version of the book. This historic setting added immeasurably to the drama of the event. Some of the audience members were selected before the play to serve on the jury, which primarily meant that they were seated in the jury box for the second act. Our cousin Steve, who attended the play with his adorable wife Betty, was one of those "subpoenaed" to serve. In keeping with the 1935 setting of the play, all the jurors were men, of course. (Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos during the performance.) The production was outstanding. A couple of the actors could hold their own in any theater we've attended, including New York. We thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it highly.

Monroeville has claimed the mockingbird as its symbol, and we were convinced that the local chamber of commerce has "seeded" the city with an overabundance of these creatures. The first time we drove to the old courthouse square, a mockingbird flew down to the street and landed on the dividing line to greet us. These friendly ambassadors were constantly present throughout the town and especially in the courthouse square. In the middle of a letterboxing desert but only about 20 miles from the interstate, Monroeville seemed a good location for some letterboxes to be planted. We started with the intention of planting four and ended up with eight new letterboxes that now call Monroeville home. We hope they'll soon be receiving visitors, who will report their experiences to us.