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Drake play 'Inherit the Wind' to explore evolution, creationism

February 3, 2010
MEDIA CONTACT: Tory Olson, 515-271-1834, tory.olson@drake.edu

Drake University will perform a staged reading of "Inherit the Wind," a play about the controversy surrounding the teaching of evolution or creationism in public schools, on Saturday, Feb. 13, and Sunday, Feb. 14.

The reading will be presented on the Jordan Stage in Sheslow Auditorium in Old Main, 2507 University Ave., at 8 p.m. on Feb. 13 and 2 p.m. on Feb. 14.

"Inherit the Wind," written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee in 1955, recounts the famous 1925 criminal trial Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes. Scopes was convicted for teaching Charles Darwin's theory of evolution to a high school science class; his actions violated a Tennessee state law that prohibited the teaching of evolution in public schools.

Often referred to as the "Scopes Monkey Trial," the hearing was a landmark in the debate between evolutionists and creationists.

The staged reading is directed by Drake alumnus Tom Geraty and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs John Burney.

The reading will be performed by Drake faculty, staff, alumni and students, including:

  • Michael Andreski, assistant professor of social and administrative sciences
  • Asmita Gauchan, a sophomore international relations and theatre double major from Katmandu, Nepal
  • Dennis Goldford, professor of politics and international relations
  • Jessica Lang, entering first year adviser and a 2007 Drake graduate
  • Barbara Martin, a 1950 Drake graduate
  • James O'Brien, computer and network manager of desktop services
  • Craig Owens, associate professor of English
  • Elizabeth Robertson, associate professor of English
  • Brad Rozenboom, a junior music performance major from Sully, Iowa
  • Douglas Uhlman, biology laboratory assistant

Following the play's Sunday performance, the Drake Undergraduate Science Collaborative Institute and the Engaged Citizen Experience will sponsor a discussion at 3:30 p.m. titled "Evolution in the Classroom."

Keith Summerville, associate dean and associate professor of environmental science, will moderate the discussion, which is free and open to the public.

Drake faculty members who will serve as panelists are:

  • Muir Eaton, assistant professor of biology
  • Steve Faux, associate professor of psychology
  • Tim Knepper, associate professor of philosophy
  • Martin Roth, visiting assistant professor of philosophy

The conversation will focus on issues raised by the play, including the teaching of evolution in schools and whether or not educators have the right to teach what they believe is true, despite the possibility of resulting controversy.

Admission to the play is $20 for adults and $5 for students. Tickets are available at the Drake Fine Arts Box Office and may be reserved in person or by calling 515-271-3841.

Proceeds from the event will go to support the Art and Design, Theatre Arts and Music departments and programs funded by Friends of Drake Arts.

For more information, contact John Burney at john.burney@drake.edu.