"Reap the Whirlwind" Breezes onto Mississippi College Stage
September 27, 2007Mississippi College audiences can expect to be intellectually challenged when they see professor Web Drake's first full-length production next month.
They will get the opportunity on a nightly basis beginning Oct. 25 when the drama "Reap the Whirlwind" comes to the stage of the Aven Little Theater on the Clinton campus. The final run date is Oct. 30, the night before kids load up on Halloween treats.
Drake, an assistant professor of communication and 1992 MC graduate, is thrilled and a bit nervous as opening night approaches on the production. Set in Topeka, Kansas, the production mixes a domestic drama with the suspense of a court-room who done-it.
With the MC premiere just weeks away, Drake is a little tense about how it will play here. "It feels a bit like watching one of my children walk a tightrope at 100 feet up!," Drake said on a break from classes on a fall day.
The idea for "Reap the Whirlwind" comes from the classic play "Inherit the Wind," about the famous Scopes trial in Tennessee as well as a book and seminar on evolution that Drake encountered this summer.
"I first set out to write a one-act for a religious setting," said the Dothan, Ala. native and Mississippi playright. "But the play just kept getting bigger and more complex, and in the end, it became a full-length show."
The capsule version of the production: 17-year-old Hal Brody learns the theory of evolution in his high school biology class and disavows his family's religion. The result? It drives his loving, but devout father to go to extreme measures to reclaim his son. The dad, Jon David Brody, goes ahead and sues the school system of Topeka, Kansas. A recently unemployed accountant, the elder Brody serves as his own lawyer as he takes on one of the top law firms in Kansas.
"I hope that the show deals fairly with all the sides of a very complex issue," said Drake, who began his MC teaching career in 1998. "At the very least, I hope it challenges people to think, or re-think about some of their pre-conceived notions and ideas."
Drake is no stranger to MC theatrical buffs. Drake, who received a master's at North Texas State University and doctorate from Louisiana State University, has piled up impressive credentials on and off stage. He's delighted MC audiences for nearly a decade as a veteran director. He's written and staged one-man shows and monologues for a variety of venues.
"Reap the Whirlwind" will have nightly performances at 7 at the Aven Little Theater and on Sunday at 2 p.m. General admission is $10. Tickets cost $5 for those with an MC identification card. For reservations, call 601-925-3935.