Respectful Insolence

A Seed field trip?

I haven’t seen a Broadway play in quite a while now, but it may be time for that to change. In the New York Times, I came across an ad for a revival of Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee´s 1955 courtroom drama Inherit the Wind:

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This revival of the play stars two great actors, Brian Dennehy as Matthew Harrison Brady and Christopher Plummer as Henry Drummond. For those who aren’t familiar with the story, Inherit the Wind is a heavily fictionalized account of the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925, not to mention a great American play. Previews begin March 19, and the play opens on April 12. I think I’ll have to check it out after it opens.

Hmmm. On second thought, maybe we could figure out a way to organize a Seed field trip with all the ScienceBloggers within striking distance of Manhattan to see the play.

Comments

  1. #1 apalazzo
    January 28, 2007

    maybe we could figure out a way to organize a Seed field trip with all the ScienceBloggers

    I’ll second that.

  2. #2 KipEsquire
    January 28, 2007

    I saw an ItW revival on Braodway a few years ago with George C. Scott and Charles Durning. It was a disaster. Durning kept forgetting his lines.

    I’ll stick to Spencer Tracy, thank you very much.

  3. #3 Orac
    January 28, 2007

    So let me get this straight. Just because you saw a bad version of the play in which one of the actors kept muffing his lines about 10 years ago (I think the last revival was in 1996 or so), you’re not interested in seeing what could well be an excellent version of the play?

  4. #4 KipEsquire
    January 28, 2007

    Pretty much.

    ItW is one of those plays that is very easy to do but very hard to do well. And I have no particular interest in Plummer or Dennehy.

    Stated differently, “could well be” is a very important qualifier when it comes to Broadway.

    If the reviews say otherwise, then so be it and so much the better. But I’m not going to await with bated breath.

  5. #5 Kiwiwriter
    January 29, 2007

    When it was originally done on Broadway, Tony Randall played “E.K. Hornbeck,” the journalist, who is a stand-in for H.L. Mencken. Gene Kelly did the role in the movie.

    The play and movie are terrific, and they capture the Darrow-Bryan duel very well, but neither are historically accurate. The town was not up in arms against the teaching of evolution, nor was the real John Scopes a fiery rebel. No love story with the preacher’s daughter, either.

    From the start, everyone knew the trial was a show, and the fine would be $100. The whole trial was instigated by Sue Hicks (model for “A Boy Named Sue”), who wanted to challenge the anti-Evolution ordinance as a test case, and also bring attention and tourists to Dayton, Ohio. Both co-counsel were sought by the trial’s organizers, and the festival atmosphere that resulted was hardly spontaneous. Bryan spent most of his spare time at the trial stumping for Tampa Bay real estate…his full-time job at that point was being front man for a bunch of questionable Florida real estate speculators in that short-lived boom.

    John Scopes was willing to play victim for the trial’s purpose, but he was not a hated figure in town…he was actually a well-loved high school football coach, who occasionally taught biology. Ironically, he later revealed that he may not have committed the big offense…the day he was supposed to teach evolution, he was actually out of town with the football team, playing a road game.

    However, the trial is accurate in the big clash between Darrow and Bryan, the verdict, and the outcome…Bryan literally collapsed and died from stress. The verdict was overturned by the Court of Appeals on a technicality.

  6. #6 DT35
    January 29, 2007

    Um, Kiwi, it was actually Dayton, Tennessee, where they still sell stuffed monkeys to tourists to commemorate the trial, and where most residents polled a couple of years ago identified themselves as creationists who do not believe in evolution. The statute under which Scopes was prosecuted was not repealed until I was in high school, I think about 1966.

  7. #7 katherine sharpe
    January 29, 2007

    Iiinteresting…

    One, I grew up watching the filmic version of this play, but have never seen it live.

    Two, I’ve never seen a real, literal Broadway show.

    Three, I agree — it’s high time for another New York-area Seed/Sb get-together.

    You’ve put the wheels in motion.