Your Brain on Theatre: Onstage and Off & Neuroscience and the Actor


I think everyone is interested in how
feelings evolve and how they’re created. What goes on in the brain and in the
body to actually make emotions happen? You know, how to do all these feelings
that actors have to display on stage, how do they happen night after night after
night? A person can be watching something and
the same part of their brain will light up as what the person is portraying
somebody is either doing or saying. That’s part of the magic of theater, that we actually go through these things on stage, so that the audience will feel
what the character went through, either something really fun or something really
tragic, without having to actually go through it themselves. As one of our
outings, I think would be really interesting to show a student really
what an MRI machine, you know, looks like and what it will show. Some people look
at what the actor does and they think it’s some kind of mystical thing that
there’s some people who are just kind of born with this thing and that the
reality is it’s a craft, and through repetition you can learn crafts that you
sit back and think oh well I don’t have talent. I would like the students to gain
some appreciation, not only of the gelatinous mass, but also the fact that
there’s a lot of organization in there and that’s where their personality is.
They are who they are today, but tomorrow that brain is plastic and they could be
changing it. Do I make myself clear? You make yourself very clear again, and I’m excited about
learning about all those things. You gonna take my class too? I am. I’m going to sit in on your class. Okay.

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