On Sunday 24 Mar 2013 I heard Duncan Macmillan’s play “Lungs” on BBC Radio 3…

Dominic Savage’s 2010 teledrama Dive. Lindsey’s passion and dedication for diving is rewarded when she is selected to represent Team GB at the 2012 Olympics. But her budding romance with Robert is put to the test when she discovers she is pregnant with his baby. Robert doesn’t know what they’re going to do. His brother Alex comes back from service in Afghanistan. They go to the pub. “Tell her to get an abortion,” he says. “We don’t need any more people Bobby. People are shit”.

Mike Bartlett’s Earthquakes in London. Why is Freya so anxious her unborn baby? Perhaps because her environmentalist father has told her to kill it?

The misanthropy that surfaces in both these character’s advice can be seen to spring from their troubled personal experiences. Certainly neither of them is particularly happy. Alex has been scarred by his experience fighting in Afghanistan – “the last baby I saw had its arms and legs blown off” we find out. Meanwhile the Robert who troubles his three daughters, King Lear like, in Earthquakes in London lives estranged from his family forecasting environmental apocalypse.

But still, the question is raised…

“Go forth and multiply” the Bible says. Make life. And that’s what we’ve done. And we’ve found ever more ingenious ways to provide for a growing population. But is it time to question the biological drive to reproduce? In a time of global anxiety, terrorism, erratic weather and political unrest…

I love children. But do we need more people?



About hughchapmansblog

Poet and performance maker based in Cambridge and London

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