The Globe’s ‘Inherit The Wind’
1955 Play Still Resonates
Monday, July 30, 2012
Aired 7/30/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.
Robert Foxworth, Globe Associate Artist
Ralph Funicello, Globe Scenic Designer
The Old Globe Theatre's production of the 1955 play "Inherit the Wind" (running through Sept. 25 at the Lowell Davies Festival Stage in Balboa Park) hasn't dated as much as you might think ... or hope.
"Inherit The Wind" is a fictional retelling of the 1925 "Scopes Monkey Trial," in which a young Tennessee school teacher was charged with teaching Darwin's Theory of Evolution. The play not only serves up a debate about creationism and evolution, but also explores the ongoing conflict between different belief systems and our right to think for ourselves, a conflict as topical today as it was 80 years ago.
Some films and plays that tackle social issues -- like "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" (interracial marriage) and "Gentlemen's Agreement" (anti-semitism) -- come across as dated today, either because we perceive a significant change in attitudes or because the manner in which the social issues were tackled seem self conscious. But "Inherit the Wind," written as a play in 1955 by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, remains surprisingly topical. The title is taken from the Bible: "Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind ..."
Here is a scene from the 1960 film starring Spencer Tracy as Henry Drummond and Frederic March as Matthew Brady.
In the new Old Globe Theatre production directed by Adrian Noble, Robert Foxworth plays Drummond and Adrian Sparks plays Brady. Check out the highlights from the play and see how scenic designer Ralph Funicello uses tables to create everything in the play from the courtroom to city streets.
Funicello's scenic design is also on display in "Richard III" and "As You Like It." Watch the video highlights from the Old Globe.
You can also check out an interview with the director and star of the Globe's "Richard III."
For more information about court cases involving the teaching of evolution after the Scopes trial, here are Ten Court Cases (including one as recent as 2005) and here is a survey considering First Amendment Rights raised by the cases.
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