note: entire contents copyright 2004 by Susan Huff
Last night I was among a small preview audience for Theatre To Go’s Inherit the Wind and all I can say is don’t miss it.
In 1925, a trial that became known as the "Scopes `Monkey Trial'" captured headlines. At the heart of the matter – did man evolve according to Charles Darwin's theory, or were we created in one day by God as stated in the Bible? During this period of American history, a post World War I society was trying to return to a pre-war world. Some thirty years later, a post World War II society was trying to do the same and the news was filled with "McCarthyism" and the trials of those who were accused of communism. Inherit the Wind debuted on Broadway in 1955. In this dramatization of the Scopes Trial, playwrights Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee created a story about conflict in American culture that is as current today as it was in the 50's and the 20's.
Director Alex Lucchesi and his cast bring this story to life in their tiny Theater To Go located in the basement of St. James United Methodist Church on Central Street in Stoneham. The intimate venue adds to the experience.
As the trial ensues, Mr. Lucchesi strategically places the town folk among the audience members. As a result the entire theater is transformed into the courtroom set. I personally felt that I was not only watching a "real" trial, but that I was a part of it. There was one point when I laughed and the Judge, played by Bernard Hutchens, shot me a look that made feel as if the Bailiff portrayed by Martin Fucio would escort me from the courtroom. There are many standout performers in this cast. Both of the attorneys, “Matthew Harrison Brady” played by John Depew and “Henry Drummond” played by Frank Hildebrand argue their cases with zeal. Baltimore Sun reporter played by Christopher Charig is wonderful, not only while he's central to a scene, but also when he's on the sidelines observing or in the courtroom audience taking notes for his story.
Inherit the Wind is must-see. I highly recommend buying tickets ahead as the venue is small.
Performance of Inherit The Wind will be November 11, 12, 18 & 19th at 8:00pm and November 14th at 2:00pm at the St. James United Methodist Church in Stoneham. Tickets are $15.00 and can be reserved by calling 781-279-0835 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.