‘Mockingbird’ a juggling act for two seniors

Running from the basketball court to the stage, and flying from California and back for the show, seniors Juan Rodriguez and Aakilah Hernandez  prove to be committed to the theater production of “To Kill a Mockingbird” on Saturday. Conflicting sports seasons and cross-country travel made managing rehearsals difficult.

Rodriguez played Sheriff Heck Tate, a lead role in the production. He is also a varsity basketball player and decided that he would take on the challenge playing in the gym and performing on stage.

“Managing theater and basketball has been tough because basketball takes priority for me, so I’ve had to miss a lot of valuable rehearsal time,” he said. “I’ve actually been able to memorize a lot of my lines without always being at rehearsal — just because I’m lucky I guess. It hasn’t been too much of a bother in school because we rehearsed a lot over Winter Break. Between theater and basketball, I don’t have a lot of time for homework but I’ve been able to manage that well too. I would say that it is very hard to make time for everything and everyone, but luckily I’ve been able to get by.” 

Hernandez, who played the part of the Finch housekeeper Calpurnia in the play, flew across the United States to California for a week for her sister’s birthday celebration. She also was touring UC Davis. Hernandez said it was hard knowing she had to miss so much, especially because the week she missed was tech week.

“I managed to learn my lines while my family was driving to L.A.,” she said. “It was really crazy because when I was in California, the other kids were practicing blocking and how to become their character, so I only had one day to get it all together. I was really nervous for the actual shows, but I think overall everything went better than I could’ve hoped for.” 

Rodriguez adds that even though it is hard to manage both, it is worth it in the end.

“I would recommend it only to people who have the drive to have fun and succeed at the same time,” he said. “Granted, I wouldn’t have done this play if I wasn’t a lead. I’ve definitely had to pull a few 2 a.m. nights, but what’s new. I’ve had to do that all year. I had to skip a math competition to do the play, and I was worried it was going to be really time-consuming. I took it on because it’s my last year so I have to live it out and make it as lit as possible. I have no regrets.”

By Anna Wilder