To Kill a Mockingbird

Manny Fernandes as Atticus and Katelyn Katz as Scout. Photo by Daren Scott
Manny Fernandes as Atticus and Katelyn Katz as Scout. Photo by Daren Scott

Kristianne Kurner as Jean Louise (a grown up Scout) sits on the porch narrating, beginning with the summer of 1935. She speaks in an easy to listen to southern accent. She leisurely walks over to another house that appears lifeless with a tree that holds treasures in it. It turns out this is Boo Radley’s house.

The light focuses on Katelyn Katz as Scout and Dylan Nalbandian as Jem, a brother and sister walking home from school, presumably their last day. Kurner smiles as she watches the children—she is reminiscing about that summer. Another boy Matthew Mohler as Dill is staying with his aunt for the summer. After a bit of teasing, the three children make friends.

This is the set up for To Kill a Mockingbird at New Village Arts in Carlsbad, CA. Kurner’s narration keeps the production at an even pace and helps the audience to appreciate a child’s experience through an adult’s perspective. The child actors are natural and entertaining as they play getting lost in these inquisitive-about-their-world characters. There are veteran actors like Eric Poppick as Walter Cunningham and Mr. Gilmer. I honestly didn’t recognize him until he appears as the lawyer, Mr. Gilmer, who treats Tom Robinson differently than the others on the witness stand. Durwood Murray as Tom Robinson appears distressed, but when he takes the stand his demeanor is innocent and scared. He says he’s scared and trembles making the audience sorry for him. One of the most memorable characters is Mayella Ewell played by Lauren King. Even though she’s horrible at first because she lies, she’s so lovable. Her accent is like a poor, ignorant girl as she grimaces over questions from Atticus played by Manny Fernandes. In the end, the audience sympathizes with her because she is trying to survive her circumstance. Fernandes is another great actor seen at NVA in the past. He is stern but kind with everyone. His fairness is in his blood whether he is a lawyer or a father.

The audience had different reactions depending on the age. The twenty-somethings laughed easier while the older crowd listened a little more cautiously.

No matter the age, one of the take-a-ways is learned as Atticus teaches compassion to his daughter Scout. Tears in the audience showed it.

There is nothing like sitting in a small community theatre. What makes New Village Arts special is the dedication from the staff and actors. The acting is always phenomenal. Every show here embraces the human spirit. Through NVA’s growth they are using some of its space as rental spaces for artists. Stop by the art gallery during intermission.

To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee, dramatized by Christopher Sergel and directed by Kristianne Kurner runs from April 4-May 4, 2014 at New Village Arts in Carlsbad, CA. 

Mad T Party

Alice and the Mad Hatter in Hollywood Land by M.C.
Alice and the Mad Hatter in Hollywood Land by M.C.

The music thumps out of Hollywood Land as people take photos with The Mad Hatter on a stilted eight foot pink flamingo. Everything is immersed in color.

On the stage Alice and another Mad Hatter duet current songs, such as, Counting Stars by One Republic. They do a little flirting on stage and belt out the songs not diverting from the written notes. Smoke fills the air floating through bright lights. The band hops around in colorful eighties inspired costumes and wigs. Alice has on a light blue jean dress with layers of short skirts and white stockings with black laces that run up her leg. She smiles after every song and poses with her duet partner. To end the half hour line up they perform Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard. The guitarist, one of the young ones in the band, plays well except the little ditty in the song isn’t quite right, showing he didn’t grow up to the hair band days. The crowd claps and dances with the band. It’s all high energy and close to perfect like watching a Disney television show where they break out into a concert like from the television show Austin and Ally.

The band directs the audience’s attention to the stage across the way. Four hip-hop dancers take the stage dressed in red, black and white. Maybe they are supposed to be the cards from Alice in Wonderland. Again it is well rehearsed with all the dancers in sync. The White Rabbit DJ plays the music for the dancers. Yes, he wears bunny ears that light-up.

Acrobats by M.C.
Acrobats by M.C.

Next, two acrobats swing on a suspended metal square. It is very impressive as they move in the air, but doesn’t look like an easy task. The routine is much like a small scale Vegas act.

This is definitely one of the spots worth hanging out at and dance. It’s near Tower of Terror if you dare. Night time at Disney California Adventure is so beautiful from Hollywood Land to Cars Land.

This month is spring break throughout southern California. Surprisingly, the parks are not too busy for a Sunday night. It’s difficult to figure out why one day or time of day is more crowded than the other.

At Disneyland there is a tendency for people to watch the “Remember … Dreams Come True” Fireworks Spectacular at 9:25pm then bolt out of the park. This is a good time to get on a ride in five minutes. The fireworks show has changed. In the winter Dumbo went across the sky. This time they added a Star Wars theme that surrounds the crowd in fireworks. Tinker Bell still goes across the sky. And it’s a real person on a wire! As she goes off stage so-to-speak she collapses bringing her arms and head down, probably for safety reasons. She doesn’t look real at first. Whoever it is must be the bravest character at the park.

If you are going to go to the fireworks that Disneyland is known for then get dessert at 7:00pm at the Candy Palace or Gibson Girl Ice Cream on Main Street. Sit on a bench or on the street up and down that road by 8:00pm. Some of the trees closer to the castle block a good photo opportunity so sitting in front of the Candy Palace is a good seat. There are places to eat like the Jolly Holiday Bakery Café that might have a good view that has plenty of seating.

After the fireworks catch a ride in Frontierland then when you come out Fantasnmic! will be coming up at 10:30pm. The boats float by with Disney characters then water rushes up used as a projection screen for the Mickey Mouse good versus evil show.

Nighttime at Disney is a magical time plus it isn’t as hot!