While adaptation research possesses longstanding applications and ample material for study, seldom has a data set proven to be as iconic and culturally relevant as the various iterations of To Kill a Mockingbird. Novel to film to stage play, and then nearly 60 years later to a second stage play, the story has resonated with audiences in a range of performative variations. A defining characteristic of Harper Lee's tale is her use of a narrator; this characteristic provides an effective entry-point in examining the two stage adaptations by way of their interpretation of the narrator. A study of the respective presentations of the narrator(s) employed by the two official theatre versions of To Kill a Mockingbird demonstrates that while both are appropriate to and reflective of the time in which they were initially produced, Aaron Sorkin's script offers a divergence from the standard form of the narrator and produces insight into the original novel as well as innovative potentialities for the performance of a memory play. This examination has been conducted through observations collected at live performances, individual playscripts, theatre reviews, and printed interviews, as well as academic articles and books. Sorkin's introduction of three narrators and compression of the presented timelines to create a state of "present consciousness" in both the narrators and the audience offers a range of new opportunities for the employment of the accepted narrator trope as well as the engagement of the audience with the world of the play.
College and Department
Fine Arts and Communications; Theatre and Media Arts
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Baxter, Charisse, "Audience and Mockingbird: A Narrator's Guide" (2022). Theses and Dissertations. 9752.
adaptation, narratorial role, audience engagement, present consciousness