Arts and Entertainment

Island Theatre set to tour with “Inherit the Wind”

Free, intellectual theater in the raw coming to your local library.

The Kitsap Regional Libraries actually might be the center of the free universe.

Steve Stollee — one of the founders, board members and performers with the literature-centric Island Theatre group — labeled it as such at a recent Island Theatre production.

It was an off-hand comment which struck a chord.

The claim is definitely debatable, with a plethora of possible locations, but the library’s continued willingness to host Island Theatre’s free socially challenging readings (which many other venues likely wouldn’t even touch for fear of offending its patrons) is definitely a testament.

Then, there’s the KRL’s intellectually laden schedule this month, which adds another notch in the library’s column for inspiring and enabling free thinking through classic literature.

Social-challenging theater, classic literature and free thinking all dovetail at the library this month.

As KRL branches across the county drum up the virtues of tolerance, civil rights and literacy with special events centered around Harper Lee’s 1960 novel “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the Island Theatre players will be touring the county’s library system, performing another great American debate through another Great American Classic — Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee’s “Inherit the Wind.”

They kick it off this weekend — Oct. 2 at the Silverdale branch, Oct. 3 in Bainbridge and Oct. 4 in Manchester. (See gray box for full tour details).

The play, which opened on Broadway in 1955, launched a fictionalized account of the 1925 Scopes “Monkey” Trial, in which a high school teacher in Tennessee was convicted for teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution in a state where it was unlawful to teach anything but creationism.

The authors used that historic trial as the setting for a fictional drama exploring the threats being posed to intellectual freedom at that time.

It’s been said that “Inherit the Wind,” with it’s poetic license and popularity, made the famous Scopes trial infamous. But the actual trial is almost irrelevant.

They don’t even set the play in 1925, instead they say: “It might have been yesterday. It could be tomorrow.”

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