Theatre Information

Hazelwood East Inherit the Wind

By • Oct 22nd, 2012 • Category: Cappies, Missouri

What is more important in life: logic or faith? Hazelwood East made us wonder this very thing on the evening of October 19th. Their production of Inherit the Wind featured moving speeches, unity amongst actors, and a question delivered to the audience.

The story of Inherit the Wind, written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, follows a fictional story based on the Scopes Monkey Trial of the 1920s. The trial focuses on a school teacher who was arrested for teaching evolution, an act that was prohibited by law. The members of the religious community strongly opposed the theory of evolution and brought in a famous lawyer to prosecute the case. The townspeople quickly idolize him and practically shun the defense attorney. The attorneys use the argument over whether people are being granted the right to think as the basis of the trial.

Hazelwood East did a fine job in casting actors who could give these meaningful speeches. The ensemble worked as a group and showed unified emotion. The sets allowed for the audience to use their imagination in defining the setting and costumes helped define the era of the play. The music set the mood of the piece, aided by the lighting. Overall, they did a more than adequate job in all fields.

In the role of the attorney in favor of evolution, Marquise Middleton played Henry Drummond. His clear diction allowed him to show the cool logic behind his character. Drummond’s (Middleton) reason was paralleled by the religious fervor of Matthew Brady, played by Calvin Payne. The two played off each other so well that anyone in the audience could feel their emotion. Both Drummond (Middleton) and Brady (Payne) delivered their speeches very well and delivered the message of the play. Kendrick Hooks also played his role as the well-spoken reporter E.K. Hornbeck very well. Rev. Brown, a supporting character played by Malik Mumin, provided the commitment needed to not only rouse the ensemble, but the audience as well.

The ensemble groups of the congregation and the jury were a key part of the play. The church-goers displayed more than the minimal amount of energy during the sermon delivered by Rev. Brown (Mumin). They also gave the image of the heat of the setting that made the audience feel warm. The use of actors at the end of the stage made the audience part of the action, as if they were really in the court room.

In the technical realm, there were few errors, but few departments went above and beyond. The sound department made a wise decision in not using microphones. The actors were at the perfect volume and any microphones would have made them too loud. The use of music provided excellent transitions between the scenes as well. The lighting department had few errors with what they presented, however they could have been more ambitious. The costumes were period accurate and clearly showed the difference in class of the lawyers and townspeople. Lastly, the sets were basic enough to allow for easy, but occasionally slow, scene changes and give the audience a chance to use their imaginations.

Hazelwood East produced a play that was wonderful to watch as the main actors developed in their arguments. They clearly wanted the audience to wonder what was right in the argument of religion or evolution.

by Anna Weeden of Holt High School

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