Written by Francisca Goldsmith on Thursday, May 5, 2016
We’re opening our 15-week-long season with a pair of titles in which belief and challenges to belief move from the personal to the public. These are audiobooks about intellectual freedom, not just as an idea, but as the catalyst for action.
VIVIAN APPLE AT THE END OF THE WORLD came to readers’ attention shortly after its publication in 2015, due to praise from Rolling Stone as one of the best 40 young adult novels of all time. Vivian changes her life from a girl who goes along to get along, even though she doesn’t accept the beliefs of those around her, to a 17-year-old who must find out more about where belief ended and the future began. Julia Whelan performs Katie Coyle’s story in this Dreamscape Media production in tones that bring Vivian herself realistically to life for the listener and immediately encourages us to become engaged in this girl’s story.
THE GREAT TENNESSEE MONKEY TRIAL, with which this week's teen novel is paired, is ripped straight from history, giving us a theatrical performance of the legal proceedings, in all their drama, that resulted when religious belief clashed with a school teacher discussing scientific evidence. Many teens are familiar with the story of Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan arguing about whether a 24-year-old substitute teacher had the legal right to teach evolution in a high school classroom. Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee’s 1955 play, Inherit the Wind, often appears on school reading lists. For SYNC, however, we have Peter Goodchild’s docudrama from L.A. Theatre Works that uses the court transcripts themselves as the script for this ensemble performance. Regional accents and the passionate voices of ideological conflict pull us right into the time, place, and confrontation.
Big ideas, exciting stories—we’re off and running on a new season of SYNC!