In Part 6 of a series of interviews with the cast and director of To Kill a Mockingbird at Rockville Little Theatre, meet Liz Weber.
Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you perform on local stages.
I am Liz Weber playing the role of Miss Stephanie. I have been seen most recently at Kensington Arts Theatre in The Addams Family as Grandma. Prior roles at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre with Rockville Musical Theatre include; the British tourist in Crazy for You, Ms. Hannigan in Annie, Jeannette in The Full Monty, and Berthe in Pippin.
Why did you want to appear in this production of To Kill a Mockingbird?
I wanted to be a part of this iconic play, based on the American classic book we all read in grade school. It is such a compelling story of not only the people in this small town in Alabama, but of this country’s rich history. Also, this play at RLT comes at the same time of the anniversary of the book and the release of Harper Lee’s prequel.
Who do you play in the show and how do you personally relate to your character?
I play the town gossip, Miss Stephanie. I think we all know someone in our lives who is a gossip and loves to think they know it all. I am enjoying playing a character who is blatantly bossy and opinionated. She doesn’t like to admit it, but she respects Atticus Finch and cares about his children. In the book, I recall that when Miss Maudie’s house burns down, she stays with Miss Stephanie. Even though this is not mentioned in the play, it is a part of who Miss Stephanie is – a caring person. She is also very proud. This is a very different character for me, but I am finding it fun to be that outspoken.
What is To Kill a Mockingbird about from the point of view of your character?
Miss Stephanie is a Christian, church-going woman. She is also a white woman in the the south in the 1930s so is curious and frightened of black people, and wants to follow the “rules.” When the Finch children are found sitting in the “colored balcony” during the court proceedings, Miss Stephanie lectures them after the fact about sitting up there in that balcony but she also asks them, “wasn’t it right close over there?” She was curious what it was like to sit next to a black person. For Miss Stephanie the play is about her fighting to change her opinioned, traditional viewpoint.
What scene or scenes were the most difficult to learn and why?
The courtroom scenes are the most difficult. Even Miss Stephanie doesn’t have any lines until court recesses, I have to be present and know when to appropriately react and when not to.
Which scene or scenes moves you the most? And why?
The entire play is so well written and the characters are so rich and compelling. The scenes with Atticus and the children in Act 1 as well as the courtroom scene during Tom Robinson’s testimony and Mayella’s testimony are particulary moving for me.
Why is this show relevant for today’s theatregoers?
It is so important that we not forget what this country was going through during that time period, and how African Americans were treated. It is also important to rememember what a difficult time everyone had during the Great Depression, white and black. Even though there was a lot of ugliness during that part of our history, it is important to show that there were also people who were fighting for change, both black and white. We have come a long way with regard to racism, but still have further to go.
What have you learned about yourself as a person and an actor while learning and rehearsing your role?
I have learned that it’s fun to play characters unlike yourself…and that you can still find similarities, even though you may not want to admit it!
What was the best advice your director gave you on preparing and playing your character?
Laura told me to right away wear a rehearsal skirt and heels, because Miss Stephanie is a real lady. This would help me find the way she walks and moves.
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?
To be able to see these characters come to life on the stage is wonderful.
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing you perform in To Kill a Mockingbird?
I want them to enjoy the humor as well as the message from characters like Atticus and Tom Robinson.
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.
Meet the Cast of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ at Rockville Little Theatre: Part 5: Sydney Lauricella-Reed.
Meet the Cast of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ at Rockville Little Theatre: Part 6: Liz Weber.