Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Musical Mystery

Music is so ubiquitous and ancient in the human species—so integral to our nature—that we must be born to respond to it: there must be a music instinct. Just as we naturally take to language, as a matter of our innate endowment, so must music have a specific genetic basis, and be part of the very structure of the human brain.

An unmusical alien would be highly perplexed by our love of music—and other terrestrial species are left cold by what so transports us. Music is absolutely normal for members of our species, but utterly quirky.[1] Moreover, it is known that music activates almost all the human brain: the sensory centers, the prefrontal cortex that underlies rational functions, the emotional areas (cerebellum, amygdala, and nucleus accumbens), the hippocampus for memory, and the motor cortex for movement. When you listen to a piece of music your brain is abuzz with intense neural activity.

Losing, Finding Language: Audience will be inside injured woman's head as she struggles

Emily Stilson once walked on airplane wings - while the airplane was flying. But long after the barnstorming days of her youth, she suffered a stroke. Now, she grapples with what has happened to her.

Wings, Wake Forest University Theatre’s season-opener, is an exploration of Stilson’s journey - from inside her own thinking and her attempts to understand.

Arthur Kopit, a three-time Tony Award nominee, has described his play as “an adventure, a quest, a mystery.”

Cindy Gendrich, an associate professor of theater at WFU and the play’s director, said, “It’s not a tragedy.” She likes Kopit’s own definition - an adventure.

Saturday, March 15, 2008