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  Play Details

Trumpery

Olney Theatre Center
2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd. Olney

Trumpery explores Darwin’s seemingly ethical dilemma over the decision to publish his theory on natural selection. Spurred by the possibility of being beaten to the publishing punch by an unknown explorer who has developed the same theory, Darwin stakes his claim, 20 years after first coming up with the idea. But does he do so at the expense of his faith?

Thru - Jul 4, 2010



Price: $26-$54

Stage: Mainstage

Running Time: 2 hrs 25 mins; with one intermissio

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  Review Round-Up

Washington Post - Somewhat Recommended

"...If you think you sniff an underhanded plot about the survival of the fittest (we know, after all, that Darwin wins history's duel for credit), you're partly right. But Parnell is also interested in professional ethics, and even in the fate of the soul. Those concerns, admirable as they are, lead to introspective speeches, mountainous climbs that aren't always as gripping as the bold scenic vista cooked up by director Jim Petosa and his team."
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Nelson Pressley


Washington Examiner - Recommended

"... Director Jim Petosa creates an engaging portrait of a man and an era, where a fascinating debate stirred up not only scientific waves but religious fervor as well. The paternalistic Owen (James Slaughter) represents the conservative thinkers in London at the time. He is on hand to chastise Darwin for daring to suggest that there might be an alternative to the creation model of the universe's origin."
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Barbara Mackay


Talkin Broadway - Not Recommended

"...Playwright Peter Parnell has bitten off more than he can chew with Trumpery, the biographical drama about Charles Darwin (Ian LeValley) now receiving its area premiere at the Olney Theatre Center in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. Parnell could have concentrated on one of the two dramatic arcs that face the noted 19th-century biologist—either Darwin's crisis of faith or his rush to beat another scientist into print with his theory—but instead he chose to present both stories at once, crowding too much detail into a single play."
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Susan Berlin


DCTheatreScene - Somewhat Recommended

Trumpery is the story of the origin of the “Origins of the Species,” Charles Darwin’s revolutionary theory of natural selection. The prelude to publication was a time of crisis and adventure for Darwin (Ian LeValley), who struggled with the religious implications of his discovery (“If I finish the book, I’m a killer,” he says. “I murder God.”). Regrettably, Olney Theatre Center’s production, despite a talented cast, mostly murders suspense and drama.
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Steven McKnight



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