keep taking the pill
Original Renaissance man Carl Djerassi discusses sex, birth and his debut play.
Carl Djerassi is nothing if not controversial. Not because his writing — and indeed his life's work - has been about sex, but because of the way they are about sex. The professor is the father of the Pill. In 1951 he was the head of the team that synthesised the first oral contraceptive for women.
Having already completed two lifetimes’ worth of achievement, first as a chemical biologist and then as an academic, the 75-year- old is now bent on communicating the dilemmas and ethical decisions of science to the general population through his novels and stage plays.
'I am talking about a topic that I think interests a lot of people, which is human reproduction, which therefore deals with sex,’ Djerassi asserts with glee. ’I want to address myself to some ethical problems in what I really would call the Brave New World. By 2030, sex and reproduction will be separated. Sex will be done for fun, for love, for lust. Reproduction will be done
theatre - dance 0 comedy 0 kids
Carl Djerrassi, father of the female contraceptive pill, turns playwright
under the microscope.’
While Djerassi’s own discoveries liberated women to be able to enjoy sex, his play An Immaculate Misconception discusses the ethics of sexless reproduction. It is already possible to fertilise a human egg with a single sperm using a procedure known as ICSI. The problems begin when you start to consider how that sperm should be chosen: Normal fertilisation concerns the random encounter of one little wriggler (out of an ejaculation holding one hundred million of them) with an egg.
'lrrespective of whether people think this is the
greatest play they have seen, when they leave the theatre they will talk about it,’ says Djerassi. ’And they will argue about it because I don't have answers, I have questions. I say “Is it OK to use this method for the predetermination of gender?” I am not telling you whether it is OK, I am raising the question.’
Providing Djerassi gets the drama right — and there is no reason to believe he will not - then An Immaculate Misconception will be unique on the Fringe: an entertaining and provocative play that takes science seriously. (Thom Dibdin)
525232 For details, see Hit list, right
A Cross to bare: The Good Fight
The Good Fight
The pub has long Since replaced the church as the central institution in most folks lives. And now the days of Vibrant party politics have also been laid to rest. Fascmated by how much peOple have invested in both religion and politics, writer Neil Monaghan presents a family trying different values for SIZG as they attempt to find meaning in their lives.
Husband Alan is a devoted ten-a- penny local counCillor who's having it away With the party spin doctor, forcing Wife Fran into the clutches of the church. Meanwhile the kids are acting up, perturbed by mum's transformation into a religious freak. Then Fran goes too far, upsetting their show of middle-class
respectability and thrusting her hubby into the centre of a corruption scandal
HaVing spent seven weeks travelling With John Prescott as his unoffiCial warm-up man in the 1997 general election, professional TV writer Monaghan ObVIOUSIy has inside knowledge of political wranglings To swot up on religion, meanwhile, he went as far as inViting the door-to- door Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons in for tea and a chat.
'Politics and religion have always been black and White things that you could believe in,' says Monaghan 'But the strong political line you could take in the old days has disappeared in the same way as the family and other relationships are no longer as clear cut. The result is that as we near the millennium, everyone is looking for some sort of replacement.’ Another pint, then. (Claire Prentice) For details, see Hit list, right.
1pm —3 Pm
Who needs lunch when you have these tasty p’ec‘kings?
Lakeboat See DaVid Mamet’s first ever play, written in his student days, ignored for ten years, now sizzling from a London sellout season. Eight men lead a lonely nomadic life on a cargo ship, Their macho boasts can’t quite cloak the” emotional concerns v- and there's a mysterious missing crew member ashore Lakeboat (Fringe) Day/d Mamet, Observer Assembly (Venue 3) 226 2428, 7— 75 Au}, 7pm, 77Aug—5 Sep, noon, [IO/[9 (ESQ/£8)
Perfect Days World premiere of Liz Lochead's new romantic comedy, written espeCiaIIy for Siobhan Redmond. Dizzy hairdresser With frustrated aspirations to motherhood finds time bomb ticking in womb. See prewew on followmg pages. Perfect Days (Fringe) Traverse Theatre Company, Traverse Theatre (Venue 75) 228 I404, 75 Aug—5 Sep (not 24, 37) various times, f 72 (f 7.50). Previews 7, 8, l 7 Aug, 7pm, 72 Aug, 2pm,
Easy Access Claire DOWie's tour-de- force performance as maie prostitute Michael, in a solo remix of her own liit London play. Delves deep into the grey shadows of child abuse and throws back some disturbing revelations, An antidote to the clean- CuI black-and-white tabIOId world of easy answers.
98.4% DNA - Being Human Visually stunning Desoxy from Down Under explore humans' evolution from ape, in a show that fuses dance With v0ice, sound, text and image. 98.4% DNA — Being Human (Fringe) Desoxy, Continental Shifts at St Bride’s (Venue 62) 346 7405, 70-75 Aug, 2.30pm, [6 ([4), 77-29 Aug (not 23) 8 30pm, [7.50 ([5).
An Immaculate Misconception See prewew, left. An Immaculate Misconception (Fringe) Djanus Theatre, C Too (Venue 4) 6—37 Aug (not 76), 7.50pm, £6 (£5).
Big Mary See preView, left. Big Mary (Fringe) Frantic Redhead Productions, Randolph Studio ( Venue 55) 225 5366, 7—75 Aug, 77am, [5 ([3).
6—13 Aug i998 THE usr 45