Young and promising theatre troupe Batighar staged the fourth show of its new play 'Monkey Trial' at National Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) on Thursday.
Directed and staged by Sanjoy Sarker Muktnil, the play is based on Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee’s 'Inherit the Wind' fictionalising the 1925 'Scopes Monkey Trial', an American legal case.
The storyline of the play showcases the trial of Bertram "Bert" Cates, a science teacher at a public school in Hillsboro, Tennessee, who was convicted of ignoring the 1925 Butler Act and teaching students Darwin's theory of theism and evolution in his class.
Known in its days as 'The Trial of the Century', later as the 'Monkey Trial', the Scopes trial pitted two famous lawyers against one another -- three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution and renowned attorney Clarence Darrow for the defence.
The Butler Act was originally passed by the Tennessee Legislature in March 1925, declaring the teaching of any doctrine that denies divine creation illegal. The case was widely reported in the media and caught the attention of the whole world.
The judicial process sparked a national debate over the truth of evolution, helping to bring scientific evidence to the public's attention.
Such debates continue today across the world, and very recently Hridoy Chandra Mandal, a science teacher at Binodpur Ramkumar High School in Munshiganj, was sent to jail and later released on April 11 after spending 19 days behind bars on charges of "hurting religious sentiments".
Batighar’s 'Monkey Trial' was first staged on December 31, 2021, at BSA’s experimental theatre hall.