Timberlake Wertenbaker’s After Darwin: Identity and Ethics in the Interplay of Theatre and Science

Seyedeh Anahit Kazzazi


After the success of Michael Frayne’s Copenhagen in 1998, a surge of interest was ignited among playwrights in writing about science by merging form and content to convey scientific ideas in a theatrical way. One of the best examples of the use of this interdependence of formal and thematic properties to theatrically communicate science is Timberlake Wertenbaker’s After Darwin. Wertenbaker introduces different aspects of the theory of evolution such as mutation, natural selection, extinction, and the survival of the fittest into the structure of the play to reveal the impact of Darwinism on the construction of identity and ethical imperatives in modern world. This study shows how these aspects of Darwinism are built into the structure of After Darwin, with reference to Wertenbaker’s treatment of identify and ethics. Prior studies have discussed ethics, identity, and evolution as separate entities. This study examines them as a single, integrated whole to reveal their interconnectedness and their significance in the theatrical and structural conveyance of science in After Darwin.


Science, Theatre, Evolution, Narrative, Ethics, Identity

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.10n.3p.54


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