Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pig Iron Theater's "Chekhov Lizardbrain" in Philadelphia

The Prof slithered into his seat at the Arts Bank and wedged his scaly self in between the other patrons in the sellout matinee.
Many thanks to Mr. Pink for the tipoff.
Review in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

As the anonymous review from explains:

The performance draws from Paul Maclean's Triune Brain Theory. MacLean noticed that when the human brain is dissected, one discovers a "paleomammalian" layer that looks almost identical to a pig or dog brain; this layer controls breathing, sleeping, hunger, and the startle response. Cutting deeper into the brain, one finds a "lizard brain" in the form of the human brain stem. This area is responsible for emotions, connections between individuals, and territorial behavior. A thrid layer is the "neomammalian brain," our large neocortex, which contains the wiring for symbolic thinking,self-awareness, ambivalence and language. In her bestseller Animals in Translation, autistic author Temple Grandin proposes that her own empathy with animals comes from an compromised "human brain" and a compensating "dog brain" and "lizard brain." Templeton notes, "here's the really interesting part: each one of those brains has its own kind of intelligence, its own sense of time and space, its own memory, and its own subjectivity."

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