By Zander Brietzke
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The argument in the play, one that still carries weight even today, is whether to teach creationism as found in the Bible or evolution as theorized by Charles Darwin. At the end of the play, Drummond, having lost the case as a formality, but essentially having won the argument and carried the day, remarks, “The Bible is a book. A good book. But it’s not the only book” (123). In his ﬁnal gesture, Drummond takes both books in hand, the Bible and The Origin of Species, and balances them as though they were weights upon a scale.
The camera doesn’t really lie. It merely records. But because it can record action at close range to the subject, any movement has the possibility of seeming huge. The scale of performance is entirely different than in a stage play. A ﬂicker of a smile in an extreme close-up shot may represent much greater actual movement than an actor’s vault across the width of a proscenium in the theater. Dramatic Projections / 21 Finally, too, whereas the actor onstage controls his or her performance, the ﬁlm actor has no way of knowing how he or she is acting.
6 Instead, we’re saddled with his pupil’s dry as dust lecture notes, delivered in antiquity more than 2,500 years ago, which still continue to plague the modern dramatic imagination. Aristotle’s six elements of drama, in hierarchical order no less, have become writ in veritable stone: plot, character, thought, diction, music, and spectacle. His legacy, despite Artaud’s and Brecht’s welcome caveats in the twentieth century, has led to plot-dominated drama in which the goal of reaching the end has been approached as Holy Grail.