More than 50 years after Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, our nation still is wrestling with the repercussions of decisions our forefathers made multiple generations ago.
Before we can continue building a future, it will help to better understand our past - no matter how painful that past can be.
One of the many ways the arts is beneficial to a community is that it portrays the past in thought-provoking and nonconfrontational ways, allowing for true reflection of painful or uncomfortable memories.
How many of our opportunities, both as individuals and as a nation, have been shaped by the successes and failures of our great-great-great-grandparents? How much of their past is relevant to our present? Because we are unable to change the past, how can we use the successes and failures of the past to inform and transform the future?
On Saturday, the Averitt Center for the Arts is proud to present the classic story "To Kill A Mockingbird," performed by the acclaimed National Players and sponsored by The Johnson Firm PC.
Jason King Jones, National Players artistic director, points out that "To Kill A Mockingbird" brings to the stage a critical moment in our nation's past. It looks squarely into the face of racial hatred and injustice and, for that reason alone, remains critically relevant to today's world.
"Yes, this play was written in a time when the use of certain hurtful words were far more commonplace then we want to admit," Jones said. "Yes, it may be more uncomfortable to hear and see the actions of these characters than it is to imagine them. It's precisely for this reason that National Players decided to produce the show this year.
"Encountering some of Harper Lee's characters may be incredibly difficult - not because they seem so foreign, but because, 80 years later, they feel so familiar," he added.
A few tickets remain available for "To Kill A Mockingbird." They are priced at $22 for adults and $10 for youth 12 and younger. Tickets may be purchased at the Averitt Center box office Tuesday through Friday from noon to 5:30 p.m. or online at www.averittcenterforthearts.org.
Don't miss this rare chance to see classic, Pulitzer Prize-winning literature brought to life by one of the oldest and strongest repertory theaters in America.