We love – and hate – our neighbours because our genes make us do so. And there’s an equation to prove it. Calculating Kindness is a thought provoking new production based on the extraordinary life of American scientist George Price (1922-75) presented at Camden People’s Theatre within yards of the squat on Tolmers Square, Euston where Price lived, worked and died.
George Price taught himself the basics of evolutionary genetics and, inspired by the work of Oxford evolutionary biologist WD Hamilton, formulated an equation widely acknowledged as the mathematical explanation for the evolution of altruism – something science had been trying to do since Darwin. The Price Equation shows we’re genetically coded to only perform acts of kindness towards those we’re related to. Does true altruism towards a stranger ever really exist?
The Price Equation was so extraordinary, University College London gave George Price an honorary position within ninety minutes of him walking in off the street. The magnitude of this discovery shook Price’s atheism to the core. He believed it must be a gift from God and so he embarked on a desperate career of service to the outcast. Three years later, Price was discovered in a squat having slit his throat with a pair of nail scissors.
This striking new work written by award-winning playwright Lydia Adetunji and directed by award-winning director Laura Farnworth, along with advisors Dr. Gardner (St. Andrews University); Professor Alan Grafen (Oxford University); Professor Pomiankowski (UCL) and Dr. Valli (Institute of Psychiatry), weighs up the question: was Price mentally ill, or consumed by a spiritual desire to disprove his own theory: that man is only kind to his own kin?
The production is designed by Lucy Sierra with lighting by Ziggy Jacobs. The producer is Sophie Cornell. Casting will be announced shortly.
Calculating Kindness is supported by Wellcome Trust, Arts Council England, Royal Victoria Hall Foundation and the European Society for Evolutionary Biology.
Venue: Camden People’s Theatre, 58-60 Hampstead Rd, London NW1 2PY
Dates: Tuesday 29 March – Saturday 16 April 2016
Press Night: Thur 31 March 2016, 7pm
Times: Tue – Sat at 7pm, Sat matinee at 3pm