I came upon this piece today from The New York Times. It appears that the producers of the current Broadway production of “To Kill A Mockingbird” are sending threatening letters to theater groups throughout the United States threatening legal action if those groups go forward with a production of the play adapted for the stage by playwright Christopher Sergel.

The producers of the new version most likely have a solid legal position. Harper Lee, the book’s author granted the rights to produce a stage version in a 1969 contract. A provision in that contract blocks any production of “Mockingbird” within 25 miles of any city that had a population of at least 150,000 in 1960 (the most recent census in 1969). From what I can tell, that would apply to large portions of the United States. There were 82 cities with a population of 150,000 in 1960. The largest of those was New York and #82 was New Haven Connecticut. But the list encompasses cities from coast to coast.

A theater in Dayton, Ohio (#49 in the 1960 census) shut down a planned production upon receiving a letter. Their theater seats about 170 people.

As I read this article, I can’t help but think of a story I once heard about a king who had a new drinking glass. He had a container of very hot wine and a one of ice cold wine. He knew if you poured only the very hot or only the very cold liquid in the glass, it would crack. So he poured some of each and the glass remained intact.

The hot wine in the story is mercy and the cold wine is justice. And the moral is, the two need to work together. It seems to me the producers have filled the glass with “justice” and held the mercy. I can’t imagine Atticus would approve.