Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists and cast of thousands swarm stage in Europe

Date:
January 28, 2010
Source:
Arizona State University
Summary:
Typically science doesn't bed down with theater, much less mate with artistic vigor, but the accord between the two is explored in the recent production Heuschrecken [The Locusts] developed by Stefan Kaegi of Rimini Protokoll.

Typically science doesn't bed down with theatre, much less mate with artistic vigor, but the accord between the two is explored in the recent production Heuschrecken [The Locusts] developed by Stefan Kaegi of Rimini Protokoll. "And why not?" asks Arizona State University's Manfred Laubichler and Gitta Honegger who review the production in the Jan. 29 issue of the journal Science.

"Scientists have no trouble seeing themselves as artists," Honegger says. "But can theatre embrace science as art? That's another question. Traditionally there has been skepticism."

Laubichler is a professor in ASU's School of Life Sciences and co-director of the Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity in the College of Liberal Art and Sciences and currently a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. Honegger is a professor in the Herberger Institute's School of Theatre and Film and a fellow with the International Research Center "Interweaving Performance Cultures" at the Free University Berlin. The two viewed Kaegi's production at the Schauspielhaus in Zόrich.

On the stage, a small audience sits on risers facing a 60 m2 terrarium filled with 10,000 locusts. In the terrarium, or around the viewers, are actors and scientists, real ones, doing what scientists do: taking measurements, making observations, and living out complex stories of their own: writ large. Video cameras project the unfolding drama on stage; the living, the dying, the loving, the interwoven narratives and even, locust music.

The marriage of theatre and science is not new. The Greeks, starting with Aristotle embraced a more integrated relationship of the two. "But a divide came when we associated science with the brain and the arts with emotions," Honegger says.

Programs have now arisen, from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to ASU, to re-explore the disciplines shared energies. Honegger and Laubichler have co-taught two courses: Theater and Science and Theater and Medicine. In 2003, they brought in a playwright from New York and, in 2004, surgeon-turned-author Sherwin Nuland came to work with a mix of theater and biology students from ASU's Center for Biology and Society. Students wrote plays, some of which were chosen for presentation: a reading at the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix.

Experiences at the interface of the disciplines caused one biology student, Julie Story, to think seriously about the nature of medicine and the role of patients. Her play looked at women in South Africa, where she had spent a summer, as they experienced disease, including HIV-AIDS. Through the writing, she came to see their illness more through their eyes. Story, who went on to medical school at Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, followed by a residency at Vanderbilt University, Tennessee, is now returning to practice Emergency Medicine in Phoenix.

"There is a shared creative relationship between art and science," Laubichler says. "In the laboratory there is an experimental approach. This is also true on stage: something is put forward to be analyzed, considered and interpreted."

Both Honegger and Laubichler feel that if artists were embedded in a science department, "to interact and absorb the art of the scientific process. We would see a new theatrical approach and avoid stereotypes."

"More conversations would reveal the richness of material and insight that cannot be seen from outside that world," the duo asserts.

Of her experience on stage with Heuschrecken, Honegger points out that "German theater invests more in the unpredictable reactions of the audience. There is much more interest in experimental approaches, challenging the audience. To 'disturb.'

"By this I don't mean sex or violence, but transformations. For example, in this production, to transform without sentimentality, creating excitement about the unknown, to connect with the scientist," Honegger states. "There is drama to be found within the animal community, which reflects the unpredictability found in our human community."

"By the end," Honegger adds. "I started to relate to these animals, as if they were fellow beings and actors. I started to understand something of the relationship between the animals and the scientists who work with them."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Arizona State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Arizona State University. "Scientists and cast of thousands swarm stage in Europe." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100128165123.htm>.
Arizona State University. (2010, January 28). Scientists and cast of thousands swarm stage in Europe. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100128165123.htm
Arizona State University. "Scientists and cast of thousands swarm stage in Europe." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100128165123.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) — The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) — With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) — British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) — Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins