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We 14 Jan 2004
premiere
Antwerp
Monty

+32 3 2389181
website
Th 15 Jan 2004 Antwerp
Monty

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website
Fr 16 Jan 2004 Antwerp
Monty

+32 3 2389181
website
Sa 17 Jan 2004 Antwerp
Monty

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website
We 21 Jan 2004 Antwerp
Monty

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website
Th 22 Jan 2004 Antwerp
Monty

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website
Fr 23 Jan 2004 Antwerp
Monty

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Sa 24 Jan 2004 Antwerp
Monty

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Tu 27 Jan 2004 Brussels
Kaaistudio's

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We 28 Jan 2004 Brussels
Kaaistudio's

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Th 29 Jan 2004 Brussels
Kaaistudio's

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Fr 30 Jan 2004 Brussels
Kaaistudio's

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Mo 2 Feb 2004 Ghent
Kopergietery

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Tu 3 Feb 2004 Ghent
Kopergietery

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Th 5 Feb 2004 Geel
De Werft

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Fr 6 Feb 2004 Haarlem
Toneelschuur

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Sa 7 Feb 2004 Haarlem
Toneelschuur

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Tu 10 Feb 2004 Louvain
30 CC / Schouwburg / ism STUK

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We 11 Feb 2004 Louvain
30 CC / Schouwburg / ism STUK

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Th 12 Feb 2004 Waregem
Cultuurcentrum De Schakel

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website
Sa 14 Feb 2004 Groningen
Grand Theatre

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Th 19 Feb 2004 Amsterdam
Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond

+31 20 6266866
website
Fr 20 Feb 2004 Amsterdam
Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond

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website
Sa 21 Feb 2004 Amsterdam
Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond

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Tu 24 Feb 2004 Kortrijk
Buda / Limelight

+32 56 221001
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We 25 Feb 2004 Ghent
Nieuwpoorttheater

+32 9 2230000
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Th 26 Feb 2004 Ghent
Nieuwpoorttheater

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Fr 27 Feb 2004 Ghent
Nieuwpoorttheater

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Sa 28 Feb 2004 Ghent
Nieuwpoorttheater

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We 3 Mar 2004 Maasmechelen
Cultuurcentrum Maasmechelen

+32 89 769797
website
Th 4 Mar 2004 Leiden
LAKtheater

+31 71 5124890
website
Fr 5 Mar 2004 Bruges
De Werf / ism CC Brugge

+32 50 330529
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Sa 6 Mar 2004 Mechelen
nOna

+32 15 203780
website
In 1925 the American State of Tennessee took a young biology teacher to court because he taught evolutionism. In this theory Darwin states that man was not created by God, as the Bible tells us, but that he descends from the ape. Teaching this was against the law as all subject matter had to respect biblical history. The case of the biology teacher became a clash of the titans between fundamentalism and modernism, religion and science, dogma and intellectual freedom. There was much ado about this court case, which was dubbed 'The Monkey Trial'. The transcription of the proceedings makes for a fascinating, thrilling and still astonishingly topical read.

I believe God did create the world. And I think we're finding out more and more and more as to how it actually happened.
George W. Bush, interview in U.S. News, 6 December 1999

After all, religion has been around a lot longer than Darwinism.
George W. Bush, George Magazine, September 2000

Monkey Trial was the ‘trial of the century’
The Scopes Trial (also known as the Monkey Trial) began on July10th 1925 in the small town of Dayton in Tennessee.

This was no ordinary trial and that had to do with the paradoxical fact that it was the defence that instituted the legal proceedings. The ACLU, a pressure group for civil liberties, was in fact looking for a publicity stunt to put the theme of academic freedom back on the agenda and it needed a man of straw who would admit that he had clean ignored the statutory ban on teaching the theory of evolution. In exchange, the ACLU would bear the full costs of the trial. The small town of Dayton fell in with the idea because a controversial case would, it hoped, put it on the map and boost tourism. It chose the local temporary biology teacher John Scopes as its guinea-pig.

Things took an unexpected turn when none other than the religious fundamentalist and three times presidential candidate Williams Jennings Bryan offered to act as public prosecutor and the highly successful anticlerical attorney Clarence Darrow took on the defence. Suddenly the trial became an emotional confrontation between the theory of evolution and the story of the Creation.

But it was more than that. "It is not Scopes who is standing trial, but the whole of civilization", Darrow declared on the opening day. After a few days the case was causing such a commotion that the judge moved the trial outside onto the lawn for fear the courtroom floor would give way. The Monkey Trial was also the first court case in America to be broadcast live on the radio.

The first few days of the trial saw the removal of various witnesses who threatened to damage the defence morally. On July 17th Darrow made a countermove which, according to the New York Times, resulted in "the most amazing court scene in Anglo-Saxon history". He asked Bryan to come into the witness box and bombarded him with questions that tested the credibility of the Bible: "Was Jonah really inside the whale for three days? How could Noah’s ark accommodate all the animals in the world?" Bryan was forced to admit that the Bible was probably not a literal science.

In the end, Scopes was convicted. Bryan died six days later. Slanderers taunted that "God had wanted to hit Darrow, but just missed him".

De Morgen, Wouter Hillaert, January 14th 2004

The Monkey Trial compilation

On monkeys and people
The Monkey Trial
is a sometimes hilarious exposition about biblical improbabilities in a battle fought by he-men who have right on their side. It is a rhetorical battle, as bombastic as it is futile, as the anticlimax of the eventual verdict shows, but it is also a disturbing portrait of the arbitrariness of ‘justice’. The Monkey Trial is a fine example of craftsmanship. The direction and the wonderful performance by the three actors as well as the surprising topicality of the material make this play an absolute must. 
De Standaard, Elke Van Campenhout, 16/01/04 

Monkeys-Believers: 1-1
The reconstruction of this sensational trial is a daring exploit for Robby Cleiren, Damiaan De Schrijver and Frank Vercruyssen of tg (‘toneelspelersgezelschap’ or ‘actors’ group’) STAN, who in this more than three-hour play provide a thoughtful interpretation of the historical clash between the theory of evolution and religion. Damiaan De Schrijver excels as John Raulston, the slightly naive judge who can’t cope with the complexity of the case and provides the occasional touch of comic relief with a rap of his gavel. Cleiren and Vercruyssen give an impressive performance by taking on all the other roles: from members of the jury through accused and witnesses to an army of lawyers. You can judge for yourself if John T. Scopes committed a crime, but what is certain is that The Monkey Trial is marvellous theatre.

Knack, Wim Smets, 28/01/04

"Objection, Your Honour!"
Little by little a fascinating picture emerges of a god-fearing, blinkered society. But also, and not least, the play engenders a marvellous (and topical) discussion about scientific and social values and norms. But apart from such considerations, it is also true to say that the trio just felt like getting its teeth into a good old courthouse play. And the sheer pleasure they derive from acting is nowhere more apparent than when they try to score points (“Objection, Your Honour”), leaning with studied nonchalance in shirtsleeves against the judge’s desk, or producing exhibit number such-and-such. Rhetorical fireworks and the art of argumentation culminate in the final scene of the play when Darrow and Bryan find themselves pitted against each other while the judge taps away merrily with his gavel. With thanks to the Stan actors for a very fine three-hour show which every now and then has you roaring with laughter.
De Volkskrant, Karin Veraart, 10/02/04

The lawyer in the actor
interview with STAN, Knack 04/02/04

Beirut audience gets jury duty in 'The Monkey Trial'
Daily Star 21/11/07

text after the transcription of 'The Scopes Trial'
adaptation Robby Cleiren and Frank Vercruyssen
translation in Dutch Martine Bom

a performance by Robby Cleiren, Jolente De Keersmaeker, Damiaan De Schrijver and Frank Vercruyssen
in the Dutch version with Robby Cleiren, Damiaan De Schrijver and Frank Vercruyssen
in the English version with Robby Cleiren, Tiago Rodrigues/ Stijn Van Opstal and Frank Vercruyssen

lighting design Thomas Walgrave
execution set Dirk Ceulemans and Raf De Clerq
many thanks to the crew of the Monty, Stef De Moor, Els Gladimes and An Roels

production tg STAN

premiere 14 January 2004, Monty, Antwerp
premiere of the English version 1 November 2007, Kulturhuset, Stockholm