In Part 3 of a series of interviews with the cast and director of To Kill a Mockingbird at Rockville Little Theatre. Meet Stuart Rick.
Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you perform on local stages.
Acting was something I’d enjoyed when I was growing up, and something I’d always wanted to do again. When I retired from full-time employment, community theatre gave me the opportunity to get back to it.
I last appeared at Rockville Little Theatre during its 2012-2013 season in Third as a father who, while succumbing to dementia, had some very sweet moments. I was honored to be included in DCMetroTheaterArts’ list of Best Supporting Actors for that role. During RLT’s 2011-2012 season, I appeared in The Little Foxes as the avaricious and scheming oldest sibling in a southern family in conflict over money. For that role, I was honored to be a WATCH nominee.
Why did you want to appear in this production of To Kill a Mockingbird?
I have wanted to be in To Kill a Mockingbird ever since I found out years ago that there’s a stage version of the novel. The story is funny, wise, and heartbreaking.
Who do you play in the show and how do you personally relate to your character?
I have the privilege of playing Atticus Finch. Like Atticus, I’m a father and I was an attorney by profession. Atticus is the ideal for both.
What is To Kill a Mockingbird about from the point of view of your character?
From Atticus’ point of view, the play is about taking care of his family and his community; the relationship between him and his children; and standing up for the innocent.
What scene or scenes were the most difficult to learn and why?
Questioning the witnesses in the courtroom scene. For me, remembering the exact wording of questions in dialogue — and their right sequence — is much harder than remembering the answers to them!
Which scene or scenes moves you the most? And why?
At the end of the play, everything that’s happened finally hits my character pretty hard. I won’t say more, because I don’t want to spoil the story for those who aren’t familiar with it.
Why is this show relevant for today’s theatregoers?
The show deals with many themes — including parenting, growing up, prejudice, courage, empathy, justice and equality — that are timeless.
What have you learned about yourself as a person and an actor while learning and rehearsing your role?
I feel very fortunate having the chance to portray one of literature’s most inspiring characters. The role is a dream come true for me. Having the role has made me try to take more of a “What would Atticus do?” approach in real life.
What was the best advice your director gave you on preparing and playing your character?
Laura has given me a wealth of good advice. Her guidance about what’s going on in my character’s head — for example, during his summation speech to the jury — has been especially valuable.
For those people who love the film, what is different about the stage version and why should they come see it live on the stage?
People should bear in mind that the stage version is an adaptation of the book, not an adaptation of the movie. Of course, the play and the movie have similarities but (as I heard in another movie versus play comparison) a movie screen is filled out differently than a live stage is.
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing you perform in To Kill a Mockingbird?
Atticus’ moral lessons for his children would be a nice thing for audiences to take with them. He tries to teach them that people should be empathetic and treat others with sympathy and understanding; and that although humanity has a great capacity for evil, it also has a great capacity for good.
To Kill a Mockingbird plays from April 24 to May 3, 2015 at Rockville Little Theatre performing at F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre at The Rockville Civic Center- 603 Edmonston Drive, in Rockville MD. For tickets, call the box office at (240) 314-8690, or purchase them online.
Meet the Cast of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ at Rockville Little Theatre: Part 1: Nancy Lark.
Meet the Cast of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ at Rockville Little Theatre: Part 2: Kieran Duffy.
Meet the Cast of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ at Rockville Little Theatre: Part 3: Stuart Rick.
Meet the Cast of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ at Rockville Little Theatre: Part 4: Kevin Page.