“Inherit the Wind” Insightful and Well-Done

2018’s Crosstown Production a Huge Success


Melina Scott , Editor

Inherit the Wind, the annual Crosstown play of 2018 was a thought-provoking, meaningful production that blew its audiences away with not only the cast’s amazing performances, but also the amount of work that obviously went into the show. Written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee in 1955 (not the Confederate soldier), the play was based around the Scopes “Monkey” Trial of 1925, which determined whether or not evolution and fundamentalist ideas should be taught in schools around America. Perhaps the most crucial part of the case was it’s setting: Dayton, Tennessee, which is  Bible Belt country. The amount of spectators that the case brought to Dayton ultimately earned it more media attention than was expected and earned it a fair amount of attention from people around the United States.

Past the story, however, Helena and Capital High’s rendition was absolutely spectacular. The costume design, tech embellishments like certain lighting schemes, and set really enhanced the tone of the entire show. Director Robert Holter (HHS) and assistant-director Laura Brayko (CHS) did very well in blocking the play so that, despite the larger ensemble, the actors projection could be loudly heard throughout the theatre, and could move around easily and truly embrace their environment. The performances themselves were outstanding, with everyone appearing very well practiced. The show begins with Bertram Cates, played by Torin Trout (Senior, HHS), questioning his actions in teaching his high school classes an excerpt out of Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. In this scene, and every other, Trout nails the emotional turmoil that Cates experiences throughout the production, a feat that is especially amazing as it is his first production. Trout says, “As a new face in the theatre, I thought it was awesome to get to work with such talented people from both schools.” Cate’s co-teacher, Rachel Brown, was played by Emma Coble (Senior, CHS) gave a dynamic performance character that was crucial as the Reverend’s daughter who questions the foundation of religion and God. Trout and Coble weren’t the only ones who exceeded expectation, however.

Christopher Duffey (Senior, HHS) and Seth Lang (Senior, CHS) also put on amazing performances as the defense and prosecution lawyers in the case, respectively. Both actors put an immense amount of time and work into their performances, and it most definitely showed. Lang says, “While moments were stressful, exhausting, and difficult, I loved every second of this play!” Duffey had similar thoughts, saying, “Inherit the Wind was one of the most stressful, exhausting, but beautiful shows I’ve been in…the cast bonded together at this excruciatingly hard show and was able to tell a story that no other play or group of people could have.” From Lang’s portrayal of Matthew Brady, a loud and proud religious man loved by all, to Duffey’s sassy and unphased depiction of Henry Drummond, the lawyer defending Cates, the passion and tension on stage was palpable enough that the audience was left on the edge of their seats without fail.

This isn’t to say that the talent stopped beyond the leads. The reactions and facial expressions of the ensemble were always on time and appropriate for the scene, and those characters that had a few less lines than the leads did amazingly as well. Reese Shendal (Senior, CHS), for example, played a hilariously critical and charismatic newspaper man named E. K. Hornbeck, and left the audience laughing in multiple instances. Skylar Shields (Senior, CHS), who played Reverend Brown, also blew the audience out of their seats in his passionate and booming sermon shaming Bertram Cates. Carson LaPraim (Senior, CHS) excelled in his role of the ever fair and lawful Judge that conducted the trial. Overall, students from both high schools made the play truly come to life in an enjoyable and intense way that the audience ate up.

The Crosstown play delivered as always; the amount of hard work and time the actors and actresses involved gave to the show made it shine. With scenes that held both humor and tension, this play had something for everyone, and brought a new perspective to the issues of today with religion and science and those in the decades before our own.

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