Literary classic brought to life by SHU Theatre

The Seton Hall University Theatre will take audiences back to 1935 to experience the timeless tale of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The play, directed by professor Deirdre Yates, will be performed in the Theatre-in-the-Round Feb. 27, Feb. 28 and March 1 at 8 p.m. and March 2 at 2 p.m.

Yates said she selected “To Kill a Mockingbird” because she “love, love, loved” the book, she loves the story, loved the movie and the message is relevant and beautiful.

“The message for me from this play is not to judge other people until you’ve walked a day in their shoes,” Yates said.

Sophomore Ben Yates, who plays Atticus Finch, said being able to delve into this play and read Harper Lee’s words and her story is amazing.

Ben Yates said there was a time when he was looking at Tom Robinson, the accused in the play, and he was overcome with sadness.

“When you feel this and how strong the piece is, it’s very easy to just believe it and go right with it,” he said.

Ben Yates said he shares his character’s values, making his transformation into Atticus Finch easier, although he noted growing years older is something to think about.

Sophomore Elise Pfail, who plays the adult Jean-Louise Finch, said this is her first production with professor Yates and she has been blessed with a fantastic role.

“I bring the audience along to witness my re-seeing and relearning what I have already experienced, but not fully understood,” Pfail said.

Both Pfail and Ben Yates spoke very highly of their director. Pfail said working with Professor Yates is a blessing.

Ben Yates said he has learned more from Professor Yates than he ever learned in his life.

Professor Yates said she likes the rehearsal process more than the performance process as she watches the cast take hold of the production and make it their own.

The most exciting thing for Professor Yates is to see the entire cast come together as a unit.

“I know she’s got his back and he’s got hers and they’re all working together; it’s like a well-oiled machine,” Professor Yates said. “That’s magic.”

Michelle Foti can be reached at

Author: Michelle Foti

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