The English Department was very happy to bring Classic Repertory Company‘s adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird to the students of BHS today. Harper Lee’s novel is a required text for all BHS students and a cornerstone of the Intro to Lit I curriculum. This year – as Burlington High School continues to focus on the core values of empathy, responsibility, respect, and independence – we wanted to reinforce how those values are explored through literature. In their introduction to the play, the Classic Rep production company asked students to consider the play’s treatment of social change. This prompt allowed students to think about how the characters experienced empathy, how they displayed personal and social responsibility, how they acted as individuals to stand up for their beliefs, and how they treated or did not treat others with respect.
In the talk-back session immediately following the play, students inquired about the actors’ and director’s decisions in shifting the novel from page to stage. While there was some disappointment at Boo Radley’s limited presence and Miss Maudie’s lack of stage time, they understood the choices Classic Rep made to condense the novel while presenting its message. Students also had the opportunity to address the actors’ questions about the show’s thematic topics – delving into ideas about race, civic action, varied perspectives, and social codes. Students left ready to engage in further discussions with peers and teachers in English classes.
We are grateful to Classic Repertory Company for helping us bring one of our most beloved texts to the BHS stage, and for helping students to engage in important but difficult conversations.