Courtroom drama comes alive tonight as evolution clashes with southern fundamentalism in this year's fall play at FJC, "Inherit the Wind."
The current production, which opened last night in the district auditorium, was well-received by a large and enthusiastic crowd who watched the tense drama unfold a story of the fight for free expression in the schoolrooms across the nation.
Teacher Bert Cates (Gene Lein) stands on trial for propounding Darwinian theory in a small southern-town schoolroom to the indignation of a bigoted and fanatic community who neither consider the other side nor bother to even read snatches of "Descent of Man" or "Origin of the Species."
As the play moves into its two final performances tonight and tomorrow, the two attorneys, agnostic Henry Drummond (Richard Bell) and fundamenalist Matthew Harrison Brady (Charles Fisher) will continue to quabble for the good of their side. (Brady: "He's trying to destroy everyones faith in the Bible . . . in God." Drummond: "That's not true, I'm trying to stop you bigots and ignoramuses from the control of education in the United States."
The trial continues on for days with one of the most prejudiced juries in the history of American law. Most of them have never read the Bible in its entirety, none have read Darwin and several can't even read. Above the courtroom door hanks a sign reading "Read Your Bible." Moreover the careful circuit judge rules out any testimony from 15 noted scientists present for the aid of the defense.
The characters in the show are both colorful, and in great numbers. (The production uses the talents of over 30 cast members) Rachel Brown (Nancy Warren, known in Orange County for her year-long portrayal of the girl in Diary of Anne Frank) is the girl torn between her love for the teacher and the "hell-fire and brimstone" teachings of her pious Reverend father (Harvey Gomberg.)
The show contains moments of intense drama as well as periods of clever humor. (Brady: "The creation . . . was begun at 9 a.m." Drummond: "That Eastern Standard Time? Or Daylight Saving Time? Couldn't have been Daylight Time, there was no sun.")
The entire production which was directed by George Archambeault will play at 8:15 p.m. in the District Auditorium. Tickets are still available at the door, but due to large anticipated weekend crowds, students wishing to see the drama are urged to get to the auditorium early before the reserved seat crowd to obtain the remaining tickets.