In one Brooklyn neighborhood, the porches have footlights
Thu Sep 15 2005
One day last fall, as actor Claire Beckman stood outside her Victorian home in Flatbush, mulling over potential plays for her Brave New World Repertory theater company, a fellow troupe member suggested a stage adaptation of Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize--winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. While Beckman loved the idea, she wasn't sure where she could mount such a large production. Then inspiration struck. "As I looked out on Westminster Road, I realized we could do it here," she recalls. "Right on the front porches."
Beckman's historic block has long been a favorite location for films, TV shows and commercials, so why not theater? On Sunday 18 she dares to ask that question by directing a one-night-only performance of Mockingbird staged on six neighborhood porches, including her own. Although the free show is massive in scope—20 actors, 30 extras and 500 chairs to accommodate the audience in the middle of the street—it has an intimate feel due to it being a family affair: Beckman's husband, daughter and even a neighbor appear in the production. But don't mistake them for amateurs. "I want to make it clear: This is not community theater," Beckman says. "It is theater for the community. There's a big difference."—;Raven Snook
To Kill a Mockingbird is Sunday 18 at 7pm on Westminster Road between Beverley and Cortelyou Roads in Flatbush, Brooklyn (see Theater, Off-Off Broadway). The rain date is September 25.