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The Drama of DNA: Genomics on Stage

Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm

Uncovering the human genome more than a decade ago led to a range of questions about the complexities, realities, and implications of what this information holds. Several contemporary playwrights have used theatre to examine the ethical, legal, and social issues that genomics introduced into our lives, as well as to stimulate conversations about biomedical research.

Playwrights Dorothy Fortenberry (Good Egg), Lisa Loomer (Distracted), Cassandra Medley (Relativity), and Anna Ziegler (Photograph 51) discuss why and how they transformed complex topics rooted in genetics—including issues of identity, the power of genetic information, and the impact of health decisions on family dynamics—into compelling theater. Staged readings of scenes from their plays are presented by Ari Roth, artistic director of Washington's Theater J, and directed by Shirley Serotsky, associate artistic director of the company, where Photograph 51 was produced in 2011.

The program is moderated by Karen Rothenberg, senior advisor to the National Human Genome Research Institute Director on Genomics and Society, the Marjorie Cook Professor of Law at the University of Maryland, and co-author of the forthcoming book, The Drama of DNA. She and the playwrights are joined by James Evans, Bryson Distinguished Professor of Genetics and Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine and editor-in-chief of Genetics in Medicine, for a conversation on how the artistic and scientific communities can create dialog around genomics and biomedical research.

Programming is made possible thanks to generous grants and gifts made through the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.