This past Monday the production of “Mr. Darwin’s Tree” came all the way from England to LCU, giving students insight into the life and studies of Charles Darwin, the controversial biologist. The critically acclaimed one-man play was written by Murray Watts and is produced by the Scholarship & Christianity in Oxford (SCIO) organization in association with Wayfarer Productions.
The path to LCU
“Mr. Darwin’s Tree” came to LCU courtesy of Dr. Amanda Boston, professor of chemistry and founder of the LCU Faith and Science Association. Dr. Boston worked with Dr. Stan Rosenberg, executive director of SCIO. When she heard about the production, she recommended LCU as a stop on the production’s U.S. tour.
In the play, actor Andrew Harrison dramatizes the story of the scientist Charles Darwin and how his studies affected both his life and his faith as a Christian. The play focuses on ideas of creationism, as well ask the hard questions about life after death, where we came from, and how science and faith can both impact any person’s life.
Reception by students and faculty
After the show, many students and others stayed for a roundtable discussion about the show and its deeper meanings. The roundtable was moderated by Dr. Kregg Fehr, professor of history, and included Dr. Kirt Martin, professor of biology, Dr. Julie Marshall, professor of chemistry, Dr. Mark Sneed, professor of Bible, and Dr. Rosenberg from Oxford.
“Humans create conversation,” said Rosenberg. “It’s a play you can engage with and ask questions. We wanted to create the opportunity to create conversation.”
LCU people had differing opinions on the show and what its themes meant to them.
Senior biochemistry major Kaitlyn Fell said, “It was intellectually stimulating, and a great stretch on faith and science.”
Dr. Steven Lemley of the LCU Communication/Fine Arts department said, “ I wish they had talked more about eugenics, the idea of breeding out a weakness.”
Freshman theatre major Joseph Wersch from Aurora, Colorado, said, “ I think it’s impressive how [the actor]could keep the audience’s attention while being the only person onstage, and his dialect and diction was amazing.”
If you would like to learn more or are interested in joining the LCU Faith and Science Association, you can email president Michaela Nix at Mnix1140@lcu.edu for more information.