Greg Nowlan believes the story behind To Kill a Mockingbird still needs to be shared, and he’s going to get a chance to do just that.
Nowlan will lead the cast in the stage version of the classic Harper Lee novel at Scarborough Village Theatre.
The Scarborough Players presentation runs Feb. 28 to March 15.
Nowlan, 42, is an account manager at a graphics arts company who began acting in school and working in community theatres in his early twenties. He’s been in over 50 plays throughout the years.
“I like the story and it’s a great lesson for people,” Nowlan said, chuckling. “I was getting old enough to play a part like this. He’s a really neat man. He’s a lot better than me.”
He wants the audience to get something out of the story other than the type of good luagh you might get in a comedy.
The toughest part of playing Finch, Nowlan admitted, is the long summation speech at the end of the trial scene. It’s not easy to be the only personspeaking for five minutes and holding the audience’s attention.
Since the story was published, Nowlan says there have been great changes in regards to equality. But prejudice still exists.
“I don’t think that’s going to change for a while so I think we need to keep telling the story,” he said, adding people generally hold the same values as Finch.
And Nowlan added he is an optimist.
Katherine Turner, the director, says some of the words in the play were difficult.
“It’s a tough one because although the [“n”] word was used 160 times plus in the novel, it’s used about 24 times in the play,” she said. “We don’t use that word outside of rehearsal so it is hard.”
Even in an area like this, it’s still an issue.
“You think things have changed but if you listen to the story then you realize it hasn’t changed that much,” Nowlan said.
People are lacking respect, he said. There’s polarization around different points of view and they don’t always consider someone else’s perspective before they “mouth off.”
“We’re in a pretty selfish society,” Nowlan said because people think about what they can get rather than give.
When people come out to watch this play, Turner wants them to walk away with hope. After watching Atticus, she hopes they think about what they can do in their community and how to treat others.