Nonogenarian polymath and playwright Carl Djerassi’s new play opens this week at the King’s Head Theatre, London. Djerassi has had an extraordinary career: after inventing the contraceptive pill he became a social scientist, a novelist, and then, at 75, a playwright. His new play revolves around the place of the individual creator in culture, the development of C20th thought, and… porn.
You read that correctly. The plot of Foreplay follows philosophers Adorno and Arendt as they attempt to identify the mysterious contents of the briefcase that Walter Benjamin carried over the Pyrenees shortly before his death. In Djerassi’s imagining, the briefcase contains sexually explicit material – uncovering the sexuality of the venerated German scholar that is reflected in the amorous discoveries of the two protagonists. Of course, the scope of Foreplay extends far beyond sex: it investigates the multiplicity of influences that constitute single ideas – single ideas that are often considered in isolation by society at large.
Gripping reading for all those considering Modern Languages, Philosophy and the Social Sciences. And, if you’re lucky enough to be a London resident, why not catch the play too?