Home >> Events

US group to stage To Kill A Mockingbird in China

Updated: 2017-05-14 15:33:47

( China Daily )

Share on

American artistic director Greg Johnson will bring a stage adaption of To Kill A Mockingbird to China, as part of the ongoing 17th Meet in Beijing Arts Festival. Photos Provided To China Daily

In the summer of 1963, before he was to enter high school, Greg Johnson read To Kill A Mockingbird, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee published in 1960.

He was sitting in the sand on a New Jersey beach and read it cover to cover in one sitting.

The story, told from the perspective of a 6-year-old girl named Scout, was about racism, and set in the southern Alabama during the early 1930s.

"My life was changed. Never would I look at growing up, race, prejudice and hatred (in) the same way again. It was profoundly influential in my teen years and continues to be," recalls Johnson.

He also says that a movie of the same title starring Gregory Peck is one of the best adaptations of the book ever made.

Decades later, Johnson, who is the artistic director of the Montana Repertory Theater, will bring a play of the same title, a stage adaption of the influential novel, to China for the first time.

As part of the ongoing 17th Meet in Beijing Arts Festival, the play will be performed on May 18 at Tsinghua University and on May 23 at the Beijing No 4 High School.

In Chongqing, the Montana Repertory Theater will perform at the Southwest University of Political Science and Law.

The Meet in Beijing Arts Festival, a major annual cultural event in the city, which runs through May 31 this year, is being attended by more than 500 artists from 22 countries.

"The mission of Montana Repertory Theater is to tell the great stories of our time to an ever expanding community. When we came upon this adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird by Christopher Sergel in 1996, we felt it fitted well with this mission," says Johnson.

"As with all adaptations of novels, it leaves some things out, but we felt it delivered the major themes and ideas well. We have produced it three times over the last 25 years. The China production is our fourth."

The company premiered the production of To Kill A Mockingbird in January 1997, and more than 200,000 people have seen it in the United States so far.

The company will bring 19 people to China, including 15 actors and actresses. It will be the company's first trip to China and also the first trip out of the US.

"I feel the ideas and themes of To Kill A Mockingbird are universal and hence the Chinese audience will understand the struggles and triumphs of the people in our production. The audience can expect a quintessential American story told in an American way by our company. It will be back to basics," he adds.

The artistic director also says that the company will have significant interaction with Chinese students by having four of them cast in small roles for the performances in Beijing, and arranging workshops for acting, singing, hip-ho and rhythm and blues music.


Editor's Pick
Hot words
Most Popular