April 15, 2021

The return of Atticus Finch | Culture

The return of Atticus Finch | Culture

Two good news: Aaron Sorkin has returned to Broadway and has broken box office records. The last week of December, its adaptation of Kill a Mockingbird (To Kill a Mockingbird), the novel of Harper Lee, took off surpassing the collection of the million and a half dollars (1.3 million euros), a record in the section of dramatic pieces. I wanted to celebrate because it breaks the paradigm that only musicals work there, and because I adore Aaron Sorkin and missed him after his television silence. The theater made him known: Some good men he made a very good box office in 1989 (500 sessions in the Music Box) and was scripted three years later, under the supervision of William Goldman. In 2005 he performed at the Haymarket in London, with Rob Lowe as the protagonist. In 2008, Sorkin premiered The Farnsworth Invention, again at the Broadway Music Box, but he was only three months on the bill for a technical strike.

When I found out that Jeff Daniels I was going to play Atticus Finch, the widowed lawyer who defends a black man falsely accused of rape in the Alabama of the thirties, I thought fate was going to carambola, because Daniels was splendid under Sorkin in the series The Newsroom (2012/14) and because his last stage work had been the murky protagonist of Blackbird, by David Harrower: the character of Atticus was much better.

Harper Lee, the author of Kill a Mockingbird, had given Sorkin free rein for the adaptation, although after his death the lawyers accused the writer of betraying the spirit of the book. The legal scuffles lasted several months. The blood did not reach the river, but it was ready. The character of Atticus has as many images as readers and spectators: the novel was a best seller It was not easy to put together the version, until the producer Scott Rudin realized that Lee's story was not far from a genre as classic as the one in 1960, and became a legend when he took to the cinema in 1962. melodrama with judgment at its center (yes, like Some good men), and Sorkin rethought the format. The narrative (fragmentary, impressionistic) is distributed, some time after the events, Scout and Jem, the sons of Atticus, and Dill, the bright and eccentric kid (inspired by Truman Capote, friend of Harper Lee), by adult interpreters. And childhood stories alternate with court scenes. Apparently, the black characters (Tom and Calpurnia) have more role than in the novel, and their relationship with Atticus is deeper. Critics have applauded the superb staging of Bartlett Sher and the work of the 25 performers. A theater as big as the Shubert on 44th Street, with a seating capacity of 1,765 seats, is filling every night. The "normal" seat is 199 dollars (about 176 euros): hence the ticket office. At the moment the work will be in poster until December, but the anticipated sale makes suppose that it will last much more.


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