As political debates evolve, classic play comes to Yvonne Theater

Professor of Theater Miriam Mills directs Rider students in the Tony-award winning drama inspired by the real life court case of The Scopes trial. The trial focuses on a man who taught evolution in his classroom, despite his actions breaking the law.

By Jason Mount

Science and faith will battle it out in Rider’s interpretation of Inherit the Wind, a Tony-award winning drama based on a true story.

Directed by Professor of Theater Miriam Mills, this controversial show was picked because she believed it would be good for the university to consider the subject matter.

“It’s about whether or not you can reconcile the Bible and science,” Mills explained. “If science proves the Bible wrong, do you discard your faith and believe in science?”

The production is a recreation of The Scopes Trial according to Mills. The historic case revolved around a man who broke the law by teaching evolution in class.

Sophomore theater major Jacey Schult stars in the production as Sarah Brady, the wife of a very religious man.

“Basically, she’s just super supportive of her husband and everything he does, but she wants none of the credit for it,” Schult said when describing her character. “She wants him to have the spotlight.”

Schult explained that one of the challenges in portraying her character was the age difference.

“It was challenging to dive into how she loves her husband, and also to capture the maturity of her, because she is a wife,” she said. “I also think finding that passion for religion was hard. I’m religious, but not as hardcore religious as they were, especially in the ’20s.”

In order to prepare for her role, Schult said that she applied personal experiences to get a feel for what her character’s emotions are.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to feel love, so I use that when portraying Sarah,” Schult said.

Schult wasn’t the only one experiencing difficulties, however. Mills remarked that one particular challenge for the cast as a whole was the script.

“The script is much harder than it looks,” she explained. “It takes place in 1925; the world was really different 90 years ago.”

Mills also said that the cast was faced with making the story relevant in the current year, which wasn’t as hard as it seemed. “Politics came into play, so it was very easy to bridge the gap between 1925 and 2017,” she said.

Mills had a lot to say about her cast for the production, gushing about their tremendous talent.

“I have some of the best students on the planet,” she said. “They work so hard, they have so much integrity, they have such heart and thought, and an amazing work ethic”

The cast members feel the same toward their director.

“The highlights were definitely working with [Mills],” Schult said. “Actually having her as a director was the best, I learned a lot from her. Everyone [in the cast] is so incredibly talented, and being able to watch them was so rewarding for me, especially being a sophomore.”

With the show’s major theme of science versus religion, Mills hopes audiences can learn various lessons after seeing the production.

“I would like the audience to believe that you can have faith and still be a scientist,” she said. “I’d love for there not to be that separation; they don’t have to be arch enemies.”

Inherit the Wind will be showing in the Yvonne Theater from Feb. 22 to Feb. 26. Tickets may be purchased through the online box office, or by calling 609-896-7775. 

 

Originally printed in the 2/22/17 edition. 

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