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Cultural Center Plans 'Inherit the Wind' Auditions

Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee's controversial hit about the Scopes Monkey Trial will be performed at the Southampton Cultural Center in October.

at the is seeking talented actors to portray the cast of a classic and controversial 1955 play.

"Inherit the Wind," by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, is a fictionalized account of the Scopes Monkey Trial, a 1925 Tennessee court case in which a high school science teacher stood accused of violating the law by teaching evolution in a state-funded school.

The playwrights impugn McCarthyism using the historical Scopes trial as the background for a drama that comments on and explores the threats to intellectual freedom presented by the anti-communist hysteria, according to the Cultural Center.

“I cannot think of any subjects more valuable and volatile to teach than science, politics, religious beliefs and freedom of speech,” director Michael Disher said. “This theatrical event will, most assuredly, inspire heated debate and discussion.”

Open auditions will be held on Aug. 22 and Aug. 23 at 6 p.m. at the Cultural Center on Pond Lane in Southampton Village. Actors are asked to perform a 60 to 90-second "persuasive or heartfelt monologue" at their auditions. There will also be script readings.

Available roles include:

  • Matthew Harrison Brady – Christian fundamentalist, prideful – 50s – 60s
  • Mrs. Brady – concerned and caring wife of Brady, late 40s – 60s
  • E.K. Hornbeck – cynical wisecracking journalist, 30s – 50s
  • Bertram Cates – soft-spoken and humble, 20s
  • Rev. Jeremiah Brown – Christian fundamentalist, unwavering, 40s – 50s
  • Rachel Brown – Reverend’s daughter, 20s
  • Judge – impartial and insightful, 40s – 60s
  • Howard
  • Tom Davenport
  • And Two Men and Two Women will be cast to play the 16 minor roles.

The fictional characters 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, according to the Cultural Center. "Bryan and Darrow, formerly close friends, opposed one another at the Scopes trial, and Mencken covered the trial for The Baltimore Sun."

The role of Henry Drummond has already been cast.

The show begins on Oct. 11 and runs through Oct. 28, including two performances for local students, one on Oct. 15 and the second on Oct. 16, both at 9:30 a.m. Following the students matinees, the cast will have a discussion with students.

For more information, email Disher at mbentondisher@gmail.com.

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