Jeanine Bobenmoyer">

Scout, To Kill A Mockingbird, and more

“If you’re interested in acting, I’d say to consider taking classes. Edge your way forward.”
I marveled at the poise and maturity of the 11 year old sitting across from me.
Her name was Paula, but I knew her as Scout. As in Scout Finch, one of the pivotal characters from the acclaimed and long-standing bestseller, To Kill A Mockingbird. Required reading for most school systems – but not for mine – I picked Mockingbird up one summer in my 20s and was instantly captivated by the story of Atticus Finch, his family, and a small town torn in racial division.
Should I mention it also won the Pulitzer?
Jeanine Bobenmoyer is an explorer by heart. Her enthusiasm for trying new things drives her family out into the Indianapolis community as often as possible. Her son Hunter may become the next Bo Jackson and daughter Emerson is headed for Broadway or Harvard. Or both.  When Jeanine is not checking out the latest hotspot, she puts on her hat as the Chief Mom Officer for theCityMoms, the largest support and social network for moms in Indianapolis. She guest writes for Hamilton County Tourism, Inc., loves yoga, University of Michigan football, and trail running. She’d also drop everything if Eddie Vedder asked her to join Pearl Jam on tour. Find Jeanine on Twitter and Instagram.And Paula – well, she had just wrapped her morning’s performance of Mockingbird. Dressed in uniform, I couldn’t believe she was headed back to school for the rest of the day. I wanted to ask how she straddles a morning rooted in the Depression Era of the deep South, then switches gears to Indianapolis Public Schools for the afternoon. I’m sure some of the adult actors in this cast aren’t as able to shake off that gripping ora as easily.
She noted her dream to become a professional actress – if realized, it would have her sharing a school and performance schedule such as she’s doing now.
“How would you handle that?” I asked.
“It’s kind of hard. The secret is to pay attention. Ask other people what you’re doing in class. Listen. And don’t forget to keep being a kid.”

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I shared with Paula that I too had a dream of being a professional actress as a kid, balancing youth acting classes and voice lessons with my school schedule. I remembered the thrill of stepping onstage, knowing an audience was waiting with baited breath for my lines. How does she stay calm?
“I think you need to take deep breaths and pretend the audience isn’t there. That helped me a lot. This person was the shyest person on earth when I was a little girl. I’m not now.”
ToKillAMockingbird_Indy's Child MagazineAnd she isn’t all talk. Paula seemed to channel this exact advice the second she stepped onstage opening night. Amazing given this is the first professional play. She credits her skill to studies with Young Actors Theatre and the summer conservatory program at the IRT. This summer though, she’s hoping to take a vacation to Florida. {Although if she remains at home, she notes pretty typical kid-favorite activities like visiting the Indianapolis Zoo or SkyZone as other ways to burn off energy.}
True to the novel, an adult Scout joins the cast serving as the narrator. IRT supplements some of her longer monologues with custom acoustic guitar music {played by two cast members} to help break up the passages.
The cast is well, perfectly cast. Each actor feels to fit their role well, and that’s a high regard for them given it was an opening night. Typically that’s when you see the bugs come out; the personas not quite fitting just yet. Even Paula appeared comfortable onstage in the set of Maycomb, Alabama.

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It was time for us to wrap up our chat as Paula was needed back at school. “Wait, I do have one last question,” I called after her. “What do you want to do when you grow up?”
She smiled. “Just go wherever life takes me.” And I realized she was teaching ME something. I want to go wherever life takes me too. And hopefully it will be back to catch another Mockingbird performance before the run ends.

ToKillAMockingbird_Indy's Child Magazine

MORE INFO: To Kill A Mockingbird runs a the Indiana Repertory Theatre thru February 28th. The Indiana Repertory Theatre is located at 140 W. Washington Street in downtown Indianapolis. Tickets begin at $20 and various performance times are available. Call {317} 635-5252 or visit their website for details and to purchase your tickets.

 


Jeanine Bobenmoyer - Indy's ChildJeanine Bobenmoyer is an explorer by heart. Her enthusiasm for trying new things drives her family out into the Indianapolis community as often as possible. Her son Hunter may become the next Bo Jackson and daughter Emerson is headed for Broadway or Harvard. Or both.

When Jeanine is not checking out the latest hotspot, she puts on her hat as the Chief Mom Officer for theCityMoms, the largest support and social network for moms in Indianapolis. She guest writes for Hamilton County Tourism, Inc., loves yoga, University of Michigan football, and trail running. She’d also drop everything if Eddie Vedder asked her to join Pearl Jam on tour. Find Jeanine on Twitter and Instagram.

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