|The Early Days of a Better Nation|
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Tomorrow nite, folks, for one night only! A dramatic lecture on the most basic questions of human existence! With a star cast of actors and readers Peter Arnott, (Genomics Forum/Traverse Theatre Resident Playwright 2011) dramatizes Darwin, hassles Huxley, and re-opens the Monkey Trials! Tickets only £6!
7:30 p.m. Friday 30 September at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. Details and tickets here and here. Don't make a monkey of yourself - be there!
[Update: Sunday 2 October] Well, I went, and had an entertaining as well as enlightening evening. The Genomics Forum's resident playwright, Peter Arnott, had written and set up the show as a 'dramatic lecture', in which he was the presenter and two actors from the Traverse Theatre's company performed various speaking parts, against a backdrop of projected images. This form matched the content, which was about two dramas: the Scopes Trial itself - which Peter said was itself a staged event (in that the ACLU set up the situation to test the law) - and the play and film from which many people form their impression of it, 'Inherit the Wind'.
Peter filled in the background, and the actors read from trial transcripts of key moments, and then from the same moments as dramatized in the play, showing a rather striking contrast. Peter went on to argue that the Scopes Trial wasn't a confrontation between scientific freedom and biblical literalism, but a culture clash over the supposed nihilistic implications of evolution, and that Bryan's concerns on that point were not without justification. Later such clashes - the Dover trial, for instance - had some of the same roots, but the creationist side had in the meantime upped the ante a good deal with the 'Wedge Strategy' and the like.
A spirited discussion followed. By this time, everyone involved - especially those under the lights on the stage - was sweating almost as much as the original participants in that hot Tennessee courtroom, so the discussion was adjourned to the bar - where it continued.