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Play Reading Society to read ‘Inherit the Wind’

October 2, 2013
The Journal

NEW ULM - The October play reading selection for the Alice Lind Play Reading Society on Tuesday, Oct. 8, will be the award winning drama by Lawrence & Lee, "Inherit the Wind."

The Lind House is located at 622 Center Street, New Ulm, MN. This play reading begins at 7 pm sharp.

"Amadeus" was the original play reading selection for October and will be rescheduled.

Inherit the Wind is a fictionalized account of the 1925 Scopes "Monkey" Trial, which resulted in John T. Scopes's conviction for teaching Charles Darwin's theory of evolution to a high school science class, contrary to a Tennessee state law. The characters of Matthew Harrison Brady, Henry Drummond, Bertram Cates and E. K. Hornbeck correspond to the historical figures of William Jennings Bryan, Clarence Darrow, Scopes, and H. L. Mencken, respectively. However, the playwrights state in a note at the opening of the play that it is not meant to be a historical account, and there are numerous instances where events were substantially altered or invented. For instance, the characters of the preacher and his daughter were fictional, the townspeople weren't hostile towards those who had come to Dayton for the trial, and Bryan offered to pay Scopes' fine if he was convicted. Bryan did die shortly after the trial, but it happened five days later in his sleep.

Political commentator Steve Benen said of the play's inaccuracies: "Scopes issued no plea for empathy, there was no fiance and the real Scopes was never arrested. In fact, the popular film that was nominated for four Academy Awards and has helped shape the American understanding of the 'Scopes Monkey Trial' for decades is an inadequate reflection of history."

Lawrence explained in a 1996 interview that the drama's purpose was to criticize the then-current state of McCarthyism. The play was also intended to defend intellectual freedom. According to Lawrence, "we used the teaching of evolution as a parable, a metaphor for any kind of mind control [...] It's not about science versus religion. It's about the right to think."

Admission is $5. Reservations must be made as there are a limited number of scripts available. Call (507) 359-9990 and leave a message that you plan to attend. Participants will only be called if there are no more spaces available. Refreshments will be served.

Volunteers will be asked to read parts throughout the evening. Depending on attendance, the leading roles may be read by several people for each act or scene. Persons attending do not have to read or may request smaller roles to read.

 
 

 

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