Monday, November 16, 2015
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD: Sherman Fracher Talks About Miss Maudie
This is the first of several posts from me about a new production of a classic play, which opens this week in downtown Lexington. Thank you to Bo List and Stephanie Pistello for their graciousness in allowing me access to the actors and rehearsals. I hope you learn more about the characters and the performers so it will entice you to see the show!
Sherman Fracher, a well seasoned veteran actor, popular from Cincinnati to Dayton to Louisville ... and other dramatic artistic locales, has played various parts in the great Harper Lee classic before. However, this is the first time she has played Miss Maudie in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, which is being presented by AthensWest Theatre, at the Downtown Arts Center beginning November 20.
Since there was a recent reading at Winchester venue of the famous Harper Lee play, I asked if she was simply reading a part, or playing a part, and asked her to tell me more about her role. Fracher tells me Miss Maudie is a neighbor to the Finches, and is also a bit of a narrator in the powerful story. "I try to embody the character, trying to understand how she would react in these situations. If I were merely reading her, I don’t think she’d have the kind of depth that comes from reacting to every moment, more than just the ones where she speaks."
When I asked why she decided to play this character, she dispelled my notion that actors love to play evil parts more than the white-hat good guy roles. Fracher says, "Miss Maudie is a lovely, sympathetic character - who wouldn’t enjoy that? And she has a nice sense of humor as well. I have played other roles in Mockingbird, but not this one, so I’m enjoying getting to know her."
What impact on the play does her character have? "I think Miss Maudie is there to help the children in their quest to understand this difficult adult situation they’ve suddenly been put into. Atticus is obviously the main person to teach them, but Maudie also helps to interpret events."
"My last role was Sonia in VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE at the Victoria Theatre in Dayton, Ohio -- the production was this past March and April.
Fracher believes the two roles are completely different from one another. "Oh, goodness, Sonia was a hilarious and unstable lady in a very silly play. She did have a few moments of seriousness, but they were very few and far between!"
Sherman Fracher operates Abiding Grace Farm Artisan Pickles on Bushtown Road in Harrodsburg.
Studied Theatre at University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Lives in Harrodsburg, Kentucky
From Knoxville, Tennessee