When Shira Dubrovner, Director of To Kill A Mockingbird, now in its second weekend at Edison Theater, was casting local actresses to play the roles of Scout Finch and Mayella Ewell, little did she know that hair could be a concern.
The play takes place in 1935 in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama. Hair and clothing styles in that Depression-era time period were very different than what is “in” today and Dubrovner works hard to create a real sense of time and place in every production at the Edison.
Jamie Peabody, a local middle school student who plays the young girl Scout in the story, was the perfect choice to play the role. Except for one thing — Jamie had long hair that she’d been growing for four years and to which she’d become quite attached.
“I really like my hair,” said Jamie when Shira first asked her about possibly cutting it for the show. Wigs were considered, but there’s always a risk of it falling off, slipping, not looking right. And considering that Scout is a tomboy and Jamie is not, braids might have worked but without the same sense of authenticity for the character and the time period.
Meanwhile, Pricilla Toledo, a young adult in her twenties who was cast as the poor girl Mayella Ewell, also had long beautiful, dark hair. She was ready for a change and more than willing to cut her hair to create her character for the role. Now Dubrovner had two actresses who needed to have shorter hair for a role – one willing to cut her hair, one hesitant. So what to do?
Enter Locks of Love. Dubrovner approached Jamie and her mom about Jamie having her hair cut when Pricilla cut hers — and then both of the girls donating their severed hair to Locks of Love to help others in need.
Locks of Love is a public non-profit that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the U.S. and Canada who are under age 21 suffering from longtime medical hair loss from any diagnosis. To learn more, visit www.locksoflove.org.
Jamie realized that not only would she be doing something to help her really get into her character in the play, but she would be with Pricilla to give her a boost of moral courage — and then someone else would benefit from their sacrifice.
Both actresses arrived at Haute Looks in Mammoth at 11 a.m. on Sept. 28, ready to change not only their lives, but the lives of others. Stylist Kirsten Dinacola took up the shears. Sue Morning stood at the ready with her camera to capture the moment.
A few tears had been shed between the first suggestion and the actual execution of the haircuts, but as Pricilla said to Jamie a few days before, “It’s only hair. It’ll grow back.”
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD runs for the next two weekends, Thursday-Saturday at 7 p.m.; Sunday at 4 p.m. Tickets and information at www.EdisonTheatre.org
Photo: Susan Morning