Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

February 7, 2013

'Inherit the Wind' blows into the Playhouse

Niagara Gazette — When Niagara Regional Theatre Guild decided more than a year ago to stage “Inherit the Wind” this month, the fates bequeathed it little something extra:

A mirror image of current events.

“Inherit the Wind” dramatizes the 1925 “Monkey Trial,” in which a Tennessee teacher — John T. Scopes — was indicted for the crime of referencing Charles Darwin’s evolution theories in his classroom.

And as the play opens a two-week run Friday night, a teacher in Cheektowaga goes to court in defense of what she maintains is her right to refer to Jesus Christ.

That the playdates bracket the beginning of Lent completes a trinity of topicality.

“We pick these a year or more ahead,” said board member Gary Gaffney after a weekend rehearsal. “We just wanted a good, solid drama that someone specifically wanted to direct.” He described the choice as “a crapshoot,” surely a word not in the vocabulary of the Bible-belting pastor he portrays.

Of the current Cheektowaga case — Joelle Silver was threatened with dismissal for posting Biblical verses in her classroom, and is claiming infringement of speech — “Wind” Director Fran Newton says, “It’s the same thing, just from the other side.”

He and his actors — Steve Jakiel as defense attorney Drummond, Niagara Falls comic-book czar Paul Benes as fiery prosecutor Brady and Michael Breen as the cynical big-city reporter Hornbeck — sit around discussing who’d answer roll call in “Inherit’s” courtroom today.

One lineup: Alan Dershowitz vs. Michele Bachmann, mediated by Bill O’Reilly.

Written in the mid-50s as a rebuttal to McCarthyism, “Wind” takes considerable license with the Scopes case, adding a love interest, the preacher’s daughter with a passion for a defendant. NU grad Maria Nicole Held has brought breathtaking charm to the character in rehearsals, Andrew Polino a heartfelt pragmatism to the teacher, branded as a heathen but claiming to believe in “a larger miracle.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Night & Day
Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page