BV West Theater Spring Show

Meghan Ketcham, Reporter

On Friday April 8th and Saturday April 9th, the BV West theater department is putting on “Inherit the Wind”, a play based upon the Scopes Trial. It will be performed in the Performing Arts Center and will be $7 at the door.

The plot is about a small town of Hillsboro that is in the center of a huge controversy. It begins when a Bertram Cates, a teacher at the local high school, reads a selection from Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species. The town, in a state with laws against the teaching of evolution, is made up of a majority of Christians and is thrown into an uproar over the subject of evolution versus creation. Henry Drummond, an agnostic lawyer, comes to the defense of Cates not to prove him innocent, but to show the town how intolerant and biased the law restricting the teaching of evolution was.

Loosely, the play is based upon the Scopes Trial, a real trial held in 1925 in Tenn. John Scopes, a real high school teacher, was convicted for teaching the banned subject of evolution in a science class. However, the underlying message of the play is not the battle between evolution and creationism or the belief that God created human beings.

“It is basically a court case about how a teacher has tired to teach the subject of evolution in high school,” said Preston O’ffill, a sophomore. “He is on trial because it was declared unholy and unethical. The play is about whether this is right or wrong.” O’ffill plays Henry Drummond, the lawyer defending Cates.

On the surface, the play appears to be about evolution, but underneath, it really shows the struggle for tolerance and intellectual freedom. It is more about respecting the opinions of others rather than which idea is better. The play was written in 1955 and was meant to promote freedom in opinion in a time of widespread fear of communism and opposition. It also sends a message about keeping your mind open to new ideas.

“Keep your thoughts open to more ideas,” said Dylan Coon, a junior. “Think with an open mind and don’t be closed off to ideas that challenge your beliefs or are scary and different.” Coon plays Matthew Harrison Brady, the opposing lawyer to Drummond.

The cast and crew are excited for the show and hope that it will have good response and good turn out among students.

“I’m very excited,” said O’ffill. “It’s going to be a good show. It’s very intense.”

The play was written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee in 1955 and debuted at Broadways’ National Theatre on April 21, 1955 and ran until June 22, 1957.

A serious play with an interesting plot, “Inherit the Wind” is expected to get students thinking about tolerance and acceptance.

“Don’t be intolerant,” said Vincent Coon, a freshman. “The play isn’t really about the battle between evolution and creation; it is more about accepting others’ opinions.”