Inherit the Wind
The Hoogland Center for the Arts and Wolter, Beeman and Lynch will present the classic drama INHERIT THE WIND October 4-6 and 11-13.
History of the Production*
In 1925 in Dayton, Tennessee, schoolteacher John Scopes was tried for teaching evolution. The press dubbed it the Scopes “Monkey Trial.” The trial, which drew national attention including reporter H.L. Mencken, pitted former Vice President William Jennings Bryan against Clarence Darrow.
In the 1950s, playwrights Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, recognized a parallel to the anti-intellectual fervor of the anti-evolutionists to Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communist Senate hearings to root out Communism in America, especially in the film and theatre communities. Lawrence and Lee chose the Scopes ‘”Monkey Trial” to explore the clash between fundamentalists and intellectuals, to make the point that man has the right to think.
INHERIT THE WIND is not meant to be taken as literal historical fact. The authors used the trial transcripts but the fictional character names emphasize that this is more allegory than literal history. Darrow becomes Drummond, Bryan is Brady, Mencken is Hornbeck, Scopes is Cates. Rev. Brown and his daughter Rachel are purely fictitious. Bryan actually died five days after the trial in his sleep of complications from diabetes.
The authors state in the preface: “INHERIT THE WIND is not history” and “does not pretend to be journalism.” They do not set the play in 1925 but instead say that “It might have been yesterday. It could be tomorrow.” In the political climate in which the play was written and produced, those words function as a warning against repeating the wrongs of the past. The debate rages on today: Intelligent Design versus the theory of evolution.
INHERIT THE WIND, often considered one of the great plays of the twentieth century, first played on Broadway in 1955 at the National Theatre with Paul Muni and Ed Begley earning Tony Awards® for their performances as Drummond and Brady, respectively. The popular 1960 movie version starred Spencer Tracy and Frederic March, and three television adaptations of the popular play have also been filmed.
The Hoogland Center for the Arts production will be directed by Laurie McCoy.
*Information about the history of the show is from the Coronado Playhouse.