Charles Darwin, Her True Story

It's January 1, 2001 in southern Chile. Charles Darwin, Salvador Dobé and three ghosts appear shipwrecked on a shrinking patch of ice, with little more than a gun, a knife and clashing survival strategies.

The ghosts and habit drive Charles, a wealthy philanthropist and clandestine patron of revolutions, to take action, do whatever it takes to survive. Salvador, all too familiar with thin ice, needs Charles to do nothing. To keep Charles calm and alert for rescue, Salvador gets Charles to tell stories. As Charles flashes back to sketchy relations with Frida Kahlo, Fidel Castro, and other revolutionary icons, the ghosts help unveil a festering grief shared by the apparent strangers. Only the fittest one survives and to live on, must confess and accept what happened.

The play shows how survival skills can ultimately backfire if overused, and can delude one’s sense of self – values, beliefs, bonds, truths, and loves.

Charles Darwin, Her True Story was one of four plays selected via a national search by North Star for their 2020 New Plays Workshop Intensive.

Charles: Independent, driven, overachieving, seductive, vengeful (f/30-80). Salvador: Principled, attentive, wise, debonaire, accepting (m/40-65). Salvador doubles as: Pablo: Loving, sage, Chilean poet/Senator (m/45). Frida: Honest, sharp, dying Mexican artist (f/47). Fidel: Devoted, astute, Cuban Prime Minister (m/36). Nora: Moral, alert, Nicaraguan fighter (f/28). Marcos: Just, mindful, Mexican battle commander (m/41). Optional: If cast, actors for three ghosts Papá (m/30s), Mamá (f/30s) and sister Mara (f/teen) can double as corpse, soldiers, bear, whale and captain. Optional characters are all silent and can be invisible, live or puppets. All characters are Latinx.
J. Lynn Jackson