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Scientists and cast of thousands swarm stage in Europe
Date:1/28/2010

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 Zrich.

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-tau
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Contact: Margaret Coulombe
margaret.coulombe@asu.edu
480-727-8934
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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