Meet the Cast of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ at Rockville Little Theatre: Part 13: Eric Henry

0
2

In Part 13 of a series of interviews with the cast and director of To Kill a Mockingbird at Rockville Little Theatre meet Eric Henry.

Eric Henry.
Eric Henry.

Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you perform on local stages.

Eric: My name is Eric Henry. I have been performing for a number of years with various companies in the area, including RLT, Laurel Mill Playhouse, and Silver Spring Stage, among others.

Why did you want to appear in this production of To Kill a Mockingbird?

RLT is my in many ways my “home” theater company: I am a long-time
member of the Board of Directors, I know the facilities and the people very well, and I always enjoy appearing on stage here. But the play itself is
a very powerful draw in its own right, and I of course always enjoy the opportunity to work with Laura.

Who do you play in the show and how do you personally relate to your character?

My character’s name is Walter Cunningham. He is a dirt-poor farmer who nonetheless has a great deal of pride. I can relate to him in that it is very important to him to do the right thing–although he, like most of us, may sometimes need some help in discovering just what that might be.

What is To Kill a Mockingbird about from the point of view of your character?

A recurring theme for many of the characters in the play is the importance of doing the right thing, whatever the cost. My own character and others encounter–and pass–this test at points throughout the play, but these many small successes are ultimately overshadowed by the larger, impersonal failure of justice in the end.

What scene or scenes were the most difficult to learn?

My character actually only appears briefly in two scenes. The mob scene is certainly the more challenging of the two, because there is a fair amount of overlapping (and to some extent improvised) dialog, as well as a rapidly shifting focus of attention.

Which scene or scenes moves you the most? 

There are a number of profound scenes and interactions in the play. I would have to say that the encounter between Walter and Scout during the mob scene resonates the most for me personally; this young girl manages to defuse the situation in a way that would have been impossible for anyone else.
Why is this show relevant for today’s theatregoers?

Current events have made it clear that we as a society have not outgrown our many prejudices and suspicions. Watching a story like this, while it might lead us to believe that we have come far with regard to some social issues, must also force us to confront the fact that the journey itself is not nearly finished.

What have you learned about yourself as a person and an actor while learning and rehearsing your role?

I have played a broad range of characters over time, and I always enjoy exploring details in characterization. This character is in many ways quite straightforward, but still offers the opportunity for nuance and subtlety. Whether or not such details are visible to a theater audience, they still enrich the interactions with the other actors and strengthen the fabric of a scene.

What was the best advice your director gave you on preparing and playing your character?

She basically just outlined her take on the character, and has turned me loose to explore if for myself.

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?

The essential story in the two versions is the same, but the stage version necessarily tells it in a more economical way. This, combined with the immediacy of live performance, draws the audience into the action in a way not possible with film. Having read the book, and seen both the film and stage versions, I came away in each case with a somewhat different view of the story itself.

What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing you perform in To Kill a Mockingbird?

The characters of Atticus and Scout are certainly the best known and most visible. Still, I believe audiences will be able to appreciate that the story itself, especially as told on stage, is in fact a fine ensemble piece, with a diverse group of characters contributing individual threads to a rich tapestry.

RLT mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird plays through 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.

LINKS
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.

Meet the Cast of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ at Rockville Little Theatre: Part 7: Jill Goodrich.

Meet the Cast of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ at Rockville Little Theatre: Part 8: Grant Williams.

Meet the Cast of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ at Rockville Little Theatre: Part 9: Todd Mazzie.

Meet the Cast of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ at Rockville Little Theatre: Part 10: Matthew Wixed.

Meet the Cast of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ at Rockville Little Theatre: Part 11: Mark Steimer. 

Meet the Cast of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ at Rockville Little Theatre: Part 12: Natalie McManus.

Meet the Cast of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ at Rockville Little Theatre: Part 13: Eric Henry.