01.09.18

‘Sudden Savant Syndrome’ – Why Some People Develop Extraordinary Abilities After Brain Damage

There's Eadweard Muybridge, who was a bookseller until a traumatic brain injury in a stagecoach accident led him to become the pathbreaking photographer he was. There's the orthopedic surgeon who suddenly became a talented pianist after being struck by lightning, and the slacking college dropout who became a math and geometry genius after a bar fight. How could this happen? Neurologists have two ideas.

The Problem With Theatre Outreach In Troubled Communities

Nathan Lucky Wood, on watching a play about homelessness performed for homeless youth: "A young man raises his hand. He wants to ask a question. Why have they come here to perform a play which is so depressing? Being homeless is already hard. He was excited to see a play because he thought he could forget about that. But now he had been reminded of it, and he felt awful. He wanted to know, what had been the point? The facilitator didn't have an answer. Nor, having worked across theatre and homeless services for years now, do I."

‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ Is ‘A Shallow Look At Race In Rural America

"Now, no movie is one thing. ... And so Three Billboards is about grief and anger, parental and police responsibility, truth and reconciliation. But it is also about class and race in rural America - and the levels to which [filmmaker Martin] McDonagh doesn't actually investigate or interrogate his own storytelling decisions in that regard are frustrating."

How Dancing Changes Dancers’ Brains

"Neuroscientist Agnieszka Burzynska ... and her team looked at 40 female college students: half highly trained in modern dance, and half non-dancers. They had the subjects do various tasks - from watching dance videos to remembering the location of dots on a screen - and used scanners to look at their brain structure and activity. Here's what they found."

‘Les Mis’ Composer Claude-Michel Schönberg On What Makes A ‘Proper Song’ For A Musical

"Q: You've said that many new musicals don't have proper songs. What goes into the making of a proper song?
"A: To write proper songs for a musical, there are special theatrical things you must master. Your songs must always be telling the story, which is very tricky, and you must learn how to do it. And the transitions between spoken dialogue and music are very hard; you can always tell when these transitions are awkward."