Richard Dawkins wrote The Selfish Gene in 1976 to present his theory of gene-centered evolution. In the 35 years since its publication, The Selfish Gene has been widely hailed as a revolutionary text in the field, and because of Dawkins’ popularity (or infamy, if you prefer) has remained a well-sold title, rolling out well over a million copies in 25 languages. That said, few people outside of the realm of scientific research and biology geeks (can I get a what-what) have read or even heard of the book.
That may be about to change, though, thanks to BEX Productions and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe: The Selfish Gene has been adapted into a musical, which will run August 16-20 at the Zoo Roxy in Edinburgh. According to BEX, the musical seeks to illustrate Dawkins’ theories of familial altruism and mating behavior from the book through relatable, everyday examples:
The world’s first bio musical! Inspired by Richard Dawkins’ masterful book. A professor’s attempt to lecture on the origins of life is interrupted by the survival needs of the Adamson family. With original music throughout (including Your Monogamous Mother’s A Sibling Producing Machine and Daniel Neil Adamson [DNA]) a cast of five chart mankind’s eternal struggle between selfishness and altruism. A son goes to war, a daughter loses in love, a father betrays and a mother must make a sacrifice – all in a day.
Mairi Macleod, writing for New Scientist’s CultureLab, has a full review and a little insight to the making of The Selfish Gene: The Musical, in which she remarks, “I’d like to think Dawkins would be quite pleased with it.” I’m down with any attempt to explain a scientific concept in accessible media (see The Radioactive Orchestra), so I think this is a great idea.
Are any of you Geeks in Edinburgh, and if so, do you plan to see the show this week?