The REP theatre at the University of Delaware with its core group of equity members is noted for its excellence in performances. They have outdone themselves with the current superb performance of one of the most controversial plays to ever hit the stage “Inherit the Wind”. It was known as the “Monkey Trial” as it argued evolution versus the Biblically described creation of life.
In the play Michael Gotch perfectly play the part of a school teacher (Bert) who taught the Darwinian Theory of evolution to a High School class in a small “Southern” town. As this “wild idea” contradicted what the Bible appeared to say an immediate negative reaction was taken by the Towns people. They fired the teacher and took him to court for blasphemy.
Here the play writers delineated the different character types one might find in a small Southern Town in the early part of the 20th century. One of the most outstanding were two local politicians (Mayor David Rainey and Judge Noble Shropshire) who would not listen to any point of view that contradicted the Bible.
The attorney (Stephen Pelinski) representing the towns people who was also running for state-wide elective office and (Lee Ernst ) for the teacher were properly bombastic in their arguments for their points of view.
The division between the minister (Hassan El-Amin) who was extremely anti-Darwinian and his daughter (Rachael Brown) who was sympathetic to the teacher’s position was very emotional and thought provoking.
This trial was a battle between points of view, but it really was a battle for a person’s right to think and express their thoughts independently.
The production was faultless. There were over 50 people on stage and they were moved around so smoothly there appeared to be at least twice that number. The versatile but classic set could become a church, a picnic ground or a court room.
Most of the actors were dressed in pastel colors wonderfully portraying a small Southern Town in a hot summer. The main characters mostly in dark colors stood out amongst the pastels.
There were many bits that added to the enjoyment of the show such as a monkey puppet (handled by its creator Anna Sellers) which moved as a monkey would about the crowds and a very good 4 person band. Other typical happenings were the basket lunches, the sign and torch protestors, the group singing songs like “Give me that Old Time Religion” and “Go tell it on the mountain”, etc.
I have been attending REP performances since they started and I think this is the most professional show they have produced. Producing Director Sandy Roberts and his staff must be pleased.
The show runs through March 24, get a ticket phone 302-831-4130.