By Hannah Geraghty, Business and Community Outreach Team Member
// Lights dim and the audience quiets as Acalanes actors take their places on stage. The Acalanes DramaDons production of Inherit the Wind ran from Oct. 25 – 28.
Inherit the Wind is a play based on the 1925 Scopes “Monkey” Trials. It tells the story of a Tennessee teacher, John T. Scopes, who was put on trial for teaching his students Darwin’s theory of evolution which was illegal according to the Butler Act.
The play changes the names of many of the figures from the trials and changes some details, but is relatively consistent with the major points of the trial.
Audience members found the story told in the play to be especially relevant in current times.
“I thought the themes of Inherit the Wind were very poignant, and incredibly relevant to today’s society, especially considering all of the recent news headlines surrounding book bannings. I think the message about critical thinking and the necessity of resisting unjust systems will resonate with any student, teacher, or individual,” junior Jules Kinion said.
The show’s use of comedy provided a way for the audience to remain engaged and provided a contrast to the serious themes central to the plot.
“I think that [comedy] can help translate a message in a way that’s not too heavy. A lot of people know, if you ever study film or theater, that even really serious shows will have one character that’s comedic or one moment that’s comedic to try to lighten it up, to have the audience still be in it,” audience member and Acalanes alum Chiara Depagne said.
Audience members also reflect on the high levels of energy and emotion which the actors put into their performances.
“My favorite scene from the show was when Cody was giving a sermon to the townspeople. I thought that Cody gave an incredible performance, and the energy from the other actors was amazing,” Kinion said.
The costumes and sets were another way to immerse the audience in the story being told. Costumes were accurate to the characters and time period, while the set evoked a sense of really being in the courtroom while still being beautiful and colorful.
“I think it’s just a nice contrast because the costumes are pretty in period but the actual set isn’t really the color of an actual [court] house, so I think it’s still kind of that realism but also an air of mystery and fantasy,” stagecraft student and senior Celia Farrell said.
Inherit the Wind and other shows at Acalanes provide an opportunity for audiences to watch their family, friends, and classmates perform.
“I loved the show. It was fun to see some of my friends from drama excel on the stage. I loved how all of the actors were really into it and it seemed like they had a lot of fun on stage,” junior Kayla Lurie said.