For anyone not familiar with the book, the movie or the play, it tells the story of a handful of residents of fictional Maycomb, Ala., in 1935, as they struggle to shed the shackles of racial prejudice ingrained in them for countless generations. It is told through the eyes of Scout Finch, 10-year-old daughter of Atticus Finch, an attorney, as she witnesses the injustices of racial intolerance and learns that prejudice is not confined to race, but can extend to anyone behaving outside our perception of normal. In the process, she learns to look at the world through the eyes of others in order to understand them.
This presentation, one of the play’s many community theatre productions, is well cast, well performed and has quite a story to go with the one being told on stage. It may well make theater history in this area for having the most family ties of any local production, boasting participation by five families.
In the beginning was Oscar Wilde, and he wrote a play entitled “An Ideal Husband,” said to be one of his finest works. And it came to pass that a theater group in Philadelphia produced his play in late 1997, and the cast of that play included, among others, Bradley Rudy and Barbara Fagan.
Why is that bit of history significant to this story? After the play closed, Brad and Barbara began dating and were wed the following November. They relocated to a bit of “heaven on earth” called Cobb County in February of the ensuing year. As it will happen in happy marriages, they became a family on Oct. 29, 2000, with the birth of their daughter, Julia.
Both Brad and Barbara continued to be active in community theater, thus exposing Julia to the wonders of theater at a very young age. It was only natural that she would follow in the footsteps of her talented parents. She had her first role in 2006, at the tender age of 6 in a production of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” at CenterStage North in Marietta.
My relationship with The Family Rudy began in late 2004, when I auditioned and was cast in a production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” also at CenterStage North. The play was being directed by Barbara Rudy. Julia accompanied her to many of the rehearsals and Brad did the lighting.
The family Rudy leads the list of families involved in this production of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Barbara Rudy is directing, Brad is portraying the idealistic attorney Finch, as well as designing the sound and lighting. Julia, rapidly approaching her 12th birthday, is playing his daughter Scout.
Jennifer Lasenyik is portraying Jean Louise Finch, the grown up Scout who narrates the story, and Ethan Lasenyik, her young son takes on the role of Dill, a boy from Meridian, Miss., who is visiting his aunt for the summer and becomes friends with Scout and her older brother, Jem. Jennifer and Ethan are dedicating their performances to their husband and father, currently deployed with the Air Force in Afghanistan.
Stage newcomer Scoville Walker is doing a fine job of portraying the local black minister, Rev. Sykes, who attempts to aid and comfort the young black couple, Tom and Helen Robinson. Scoville’s beautiful and talented daughter Bridget is Helen Robinson, who is losing her husband to racial hatred and a false rape charge, which ultimately leads to his death.
Other families include Randi Crowder, portraying Mayella Ewell, the young girl who is the alleged victim of a rape, trumped up by her father. Randi is joined in the cast by her real-life father, Todd Crowder, who plays a local farmer and client of Atticus Finch, Walter Cunningham.
What’s that you say? I said there were five families involved and I only talked about four? Well, my granddaughter, Kymberly Duym, is the stage manager for the show and her grandfather is playing mean and despicable white trash, Bob Ewell, the fabricator of the phony rape charge.
Join us in “Maycomb” this weekend for a great show.
Pete Borden is a retired masonry contractor in east Cobb.