Greenbrier Valley Theatre (GVT) presents the drama The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, by Jerome Lawrence & Robert Edwin Lee. Performances will run Sept. 28, Oct. 4-5 and Oct. 11-12, at 7:30 p.m. There will be an additional matinee on Sept. 28, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $24 for adults, $21 for seniors, $18 for students and children. For tickets or more information, call the GVT Box Office at 304-645-3838.
As the title suggests, the premise of the play is to dramatize a single night spent in a Concord, MA, jail by the writer/philosopher/teacher/poet Henry David Thoreau. In 1846, Thoreau was arrested after refusing to pay his taxes in protest of the Mexican-American War – a conflict he viewed as entirely unjust. However, the drama also details in flashback scenes featuring many of the events, people and experiences in Thoreau’s life which led him to that fateful night in jail, and which helped shape him into the man he would become afterward.
The play also details the sometimes rocky relationship between Thoreau and his mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, a major writer and lecturer of the day whose influence on Thoreau shaped his early life. Thoreau believed he had learned more from Emerson’s speeches than he had during his entire time at Harvard. This and other experiences led him to become a teacher himself – a great strength of the Transcendentalists.
The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail will be GVT’s educational outreach play for 2013, performed in weekday matinees for students from schools as close as Greenbrier County to as far as Charleston. This year GVT will perform for seven schools. The schools are also provided with a study guide developed by GVT to assist with introducing Thoreau and related concepts to the students. Sawyer will also give a presentation on these themes before each matinee and public performance.
Greenbrier Valley Theatre’s growth has not gone unnoticed as, in 2006, it was officially named The State Professional Theatre of West Virginia.