One-man show: ‘The Trials of Clarence Darrow’ at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Grass Valley
KNOW & GO
WHO: Dessert Theatre
WHAT: The Trials of Clarence Darrow
WHERE: Buck Hall, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 235 S. Church Street, Grass Valley
WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 13-14
TICKETS: $20 — includes a Dessert Buffet at intermission. Tickets can be purchased at Emmanuel Episcopal Church
The charm of a period piece, the tension of a courtroom drama, and the captivation of an in-depth character study merge in “The Trials of Clarence Darrow,” a sponsored one-actor show at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 13 -14, at Emmanuel Episcopal Church.
The play, written and performed by Paul Hauck, was first produced in 2004 by the T Street Players of Sacramento. It has had several runs in local theaters in the Sacramento area as well as many performances for civic groups.
Over the course of its productions it has received four star reviews from Kel Munger of the Sacramento News and Review and Jeff Hudson of Capitol Public Radio who described it as “a deep and meaty look into the complex life of a great lawyer.”
The first act introduces Darrow at the end of his career and briefly recaps his education and entry into the legal profession. It then traces his work as the most effective legal advocate for workers’ rights and the union movement.
During a period characterized by violent confrontations, in which child labor was exploited and workers had no protections from unscrupulous companies, Darrow helped to secure regulations limiting work days to eight hours and to build collective bargaining rights.
His gradual disillusionment with the corruption of a legal and political system that was stacked against workers led to a personal moral crisis when he was indicted for attempting to bribe jurors. The second act covers his trial on these charges and his attempt to redeem his legal career.
The cases for which Darrow is best remembered came in the last half of his career. He represented John Scopes in the famous “Monkey Trial” in which Scopes was indicted for teaching about evolution in a public school, thereby violating Tennessee law.
Darrow’s defense of Dr. Ossian Sweet, an African-American physician, who faced a white mob when he moved into their Detroit neighborhood in 1925, placed him in the heat of the race conflicts of the era. His representation of Leopold and Loeb, in the original “trial of the century,” contained one of the most impassioned arguments against the death penalty ever offered in court.
Hauck, the playwright and actor, has appeared in over 40 plays throughout the Sacramento and foothills region. Since his move to Penn Valley he has appeared with Sierra Stages in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and with Quest Theaterworks as Ben Weatherstaff in “The Secret Garden,” as well as Lake Wildwood productions of “70Girls70” and “Johnny Danger.”
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