CHARLOTTETOWN - Trials contain the very stuff of drama. And a play based on a famous trial, that also contains titanic issues and personalities, has its drama built in.
© Submitted photo
Terry Pratt and Adam Gauthier are the actors at the defendant’s table in the theatrical presentation of “Inherit the Wind” to be staged at Trinity United Church in Charlottetown April 24 to 27.
“Inherit the Wind,” taken from the notorious ‘Scopes Monkey Trial’ of 1925, is such a play. This play will be staged at Trinity United Church in Charlottetown April 24 to 27 as a joint production with ACT (a community theatre).
Scopes was a Tennessee teacher who dared to teach evolution, contrary to state law that students must learn only the Bible’s version of creation. The trial became a battle of giants when the prosecution hired William Jennings Bryan – a fundamentalist who was the Democrats’ nominee for president three times – to face Clarence Darrow for the defence, an agnostic notorious for defending the indefensible.
The trial was a media circus, covered by journalists from around the world, and the first ever to be broadcast on radio. Hawkers of all kinds came to town. Trained chimpanzees performed on the courthouse lawn.
Director of the play, John Moses, said “Inherit the Wind” poses an important question “about how religious faith is expressed in the light of the information about the universe and its origins which science provides. Faith is not displaced or disproved by scientific enquiry, but, if it is not to be made ridiculous, it cannot simply rely on slogans like ‘the Bible says.’ And there are still people who want to ban certain books and suppress certain points of view in the service of what they perceive as morality.”
The play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee (1955) leaves out the chimpanzees but captures the original excitement and enhances it.
David Bulger and Terry Pratt play the protagonists. Fraser McCallum plays the journalist who invented the phrase “monkey trial,” and other cynical sneers. Adam Gauthier fills the role of Scopes, while Kim Johnston plays his romantic interest, and Gordon Cobb plays her terrifying father/preacher.
Other actors in the cast of 20 townspeople, jurymen, and court officials include Keir Malone, Ian Byrne, Barbara Rhodenizer, Barbara Stewart, Rob Thomson, and Micah Wiltshire.
A special aspect of this production is its interactive nature. Eight audience members will be summoned as jury members. The ushers and waiters will be townsfolk with decided opinions about creationism.
Guests have the choice of dinner and the show, or just the play.
The first two performances, Thursday and Friday, April 24, 25, begin with a dinner (southern style) at 6 p.m., while the play starts at 7:30 p.m. The Saturday, April 26, and Sunday, April 27, performances are play only at 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets are $30/$28 for dinner and theatre, $18/$16 for play only. Dinner tickets must be reserved by April 21. Call Trinity at 892-4114, or for further information call 675-3672.