You Tell Me That It’s Evolution

"Darwin in Malibu" runs through Jan. 15 at the Berkeley City Club.


"Darwin in Malibu" is a heady play.

Courtesy Indra Net Theater

As strange as it feels for it still to be necessary in this day and age, with the clock being turned back on so many things we might have thought were settled, this seems like an awfully good time to reaffirm a belief in science and evolution. The new Berkeley company Indra’s Net Theater makes a special mission of producing plays about science and scientists, and it kicks off this year of angst and uncertainty with a comedy about rehashing the debate over evolution.

Darwin in Malibu is a play by Crispin Whittell that premiered in England in 2003 and made its U.S. debut in New York state in 2006. Charles Darwin is living a life of leisure on the beach in present-day Malibu, drinking smoothies and reading lurid novels. The last thing he wants to do is revive old arguments, but like it or not, he’s visited by biologist Thomas Huxley and Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, who are just aching to launch back into the famous debate over the theory of evolution that they had in 1860, the year after the publication of Darwin’s The Origin of Species.

And what does Sarah, the young woman who makes the smoothies, have to say about all this? They’re all in for a heady night of wide-ranging philosophical discussion and long walks on the beach. Helmed by company founder and artistic director Bruce Coughran, the Indra’s Net production at the Berkeley City Club stars George Killingsworth, Robert Ernst, Leandra Ramm, and Stuart Hall. At the very least, it should provide ample ammunition for the next time some backward-looking individual tries to revive the debate all over again.

Darwin in Malibu, Dec. 22-Jan. 15, Wed.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 5 p.m., $23-$28, Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave., Berkeley,


This report appears in the January edition of our sister publication, The East Bay Monthly.

Published Jan. 9, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.

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