FJC Theatre Season to Open with "Thoreau" Drama

Fullerton College Hornet  - Erma Frodsham - Friday, October 9th, 1970

Under the direction of George D. Archambeault, the FJC Theatre Arts Department will present the highly acclaimed drama by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, "The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail." Performances will be in the Campus Theatre Oct. 30, 31, and Nov. 5, 6, and 7.

The authors are both instructors of playwrighting, Lawrence at Ohio State University and Lee at UCLA. They have co-authored such hits as "Inherit the Wind" and "Auntie Mame."

Henry David Thoreau lived from 1817 to 1862, but his philosophies were such that he would have fit well into America of 1970.

Thoreau was very much aga'nst materialism in society and materialmindedness in government. He was also strongly opposed to war in general, which he considered immoral. In particular, he objected to the Mexican-American War. To him it seemed pointless, just as the Viet Nam war does to many today.

Because he was not happy among those whose concepts differed so sharply from his own,Thoreau withdrew from society from July 4, 1845 to Sept. 6, 1847, living in a simple retreat beside Walden Pond in Mass. Completely alone, he lived simply, studying nature and writing the thoughts with which he hoped to help his fellowman. When he realized that writing alone was not enough, he went back to civilization to try to show others why the uncluttered, non-violent life is best.

Thoreau, a pacifist, was simultaneously very much of an activist on crusading for what he believed was right. So strongly did he stand by his convictions that he submitted to being jailed, rather than pay his tax, which he envisioned as going to the support of the war he despised.

"The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail" points up his strong belief that it is not enough to just "do our own thing": we can't sit back; we must go out and do something about what needs to be done.

Thoreau wrote: "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."

Of the drama, James T. McCafferty of Columbia Dispatch has this to say: "The play must rank among the most brilliant intellectual stimulants of the decade, perhaps even of the century."

Cast in the role of Thoreau is Sheldon Craig, who has had the leading role in two other memorable FJC dramas, "Man for All Seasons" and "Look Back in Anger."

Others in the cast are: Thomas Wood, Waldo; Janice Crow, Lydian; Linda Sheehan, Mother; Darren Kelly, John; Michael LaValley, Bailey; Harry Anderson, Deacon Ball; Lynn Christiansen, Ellen; Steve Winget, Sam Staples; Ron Coffman, a farmer; Polly Norby, a woman; John Ricks, Williams; and townspeople: Ronald Steed, Derek O'Campo, Milton Lockett, Howard LaMere, Richard Barsh, Linda Rogas, Beverly Hudelson, Susan Davis and Deborah Peachy.