Don't Miss The 'Monkey Trial' by Tater Patch Players
5/13/2017 ~ by Nan Nawrocki
When I asked the Tater Patch players to allow me to direct Inherit the Wind, I knew I would be taking on a challenge. The cast is large, the two lead roles are huge, and the subject is controversial. I wanted the opportunity to tell this story to our audiences. With a few moments of laughter and many powerful scenes, this is a masterful play I hope you will come and enjoy.
The play is loosely based on the 1925 Scopes "Monkey Trial" in Dayton TN, where a teacher was jailed for violating the state law against teaching evolution in the public schools. Many of the characters in the play are based on real people.
The most recognizable are "Matthew Harrison Brady" based on William Jennings Bryan, a famous orator and politician, and his worthy opponent "Henry Drummond ". Drummond is based on Clarence Darrow, a famous defense attorney and a cynical wit. I was very fortunate to have cast two wonderful actors, Gary Boyles and Keith Galligan, to play these complicated men.
There are also a famous journalist, a radio announcer, and several others who come from "outside" into this small town that bubbles over with excitement and fear. The townspeople of "Heavenly Hillsboro" are brought to vivid life by a cast of 21 men and women who have really pushed themselves to transform into distinct people of a small town.
We have a delightful mix of actors who've been on our stage for many years and some talented newcomers. In age they range from thirteen to seventy. And all are a dream-come-true for me as a director.
Beyond telling a compelling story, Inherit the Wind dramatizes the dangers of censorship and the importance of freedom of thought. The play was written during and in strong opposition to the McCarthy hearings. Playwrights Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee used the fictionalized telling of the "Monkey Trial" as a vehicle to show their passionate belief in the value of the human mind and the necessity of seeking the truth.
Drummond tells the court that what is holy to him is "the individual human mind". He argues passionately that the state law that has jailed Bertram Cates, the young schoolteacher, has also denied him the power to teach the young to think for themselves. Drummond hurls himself against the moral climate of 1925 Tennessee which enacted that law and the clash of ideas and minds makes for compelling theater.
The play dates remaining are May 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21. The 14th and 21st are matinees at 2PM and the rest are at 7:30 PM. Ticket and other information are on the taterpatchplayers.org website.
I hope you will come share this entertaining and compelling play and this fine cast's performances with us.