RHEA COUNTY — In a bit of inspired public relations, the town of Dayton, Tennessee has announced that it is recreating the “Scopes Monkey Trial” — using actual monkeys as actors.
This simian extravaganza will mark the 80th anniversary of the trial on July 22.
The original trial was an international media event, and pitted John Scopes, a football coach and part-time teacher at Rhea County High School against the State of Tennessee’s Butler Act, which made it illegal to:
“… to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals”
Of course, few people remember that the trial started out as a publicity stunt to bring attention to Dayton.
“We thought, if it was good for them, why not us?” Mayor Vincent Bobberson told The Skwib.
“Then we thought, well, a recreation of the trial wouldn’t get much attention, we do that every year at the Scopes Festival. Then I had a flash — what if we used monkeys instead of actors!”
From there, the search for suitable thespians began. Working exclusively with the Primate Actor’s Studio, Dayton has assembled the finest cast of monkeys that $25,000 can buy.
The well-known kick-boxing orangutan, Chobindo, will play the lead role of Clarence Darrow. Originally from Borneo, the lanky tree-hugger says it is the part of a lifetime, and is a natural follow-up to the leadership role he played in the so-called “Orangutan Revolution”. (In which he and other orangutan slaves emancipated themselves by beating the hell out their Thai zoo keepers.)
When we asked him if he could elaborate, he pursed his lips together and gave us a raspberry.
The rest of the cast, and the schedule of performances is available at the Scopes Trial “Apestravaganza” website. Just follow the link off the Rhea County Tourism site.