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Try acting like a scientist

Actor Alan Alda teaches a new generation of researchers how to communicate with the public

Daniel Grushkin
This is what happens when you cross doctoral work with improvisational acting: A line of fifteen PhD students face each other in an imaginary tug-of-war. "Make sure you're all holding the same rope," says linkurl:Valeri Lantz-Gefroh,;http://www.stonybrook.edu/theatrearts/faculty/full_time/lantzgefroh.html their drama coach and a theater professor at SUNY, Stony Brook. "You don't want to hold a shoelace when the person in front of you is holding a python."
Researchers play imaginary tug-of-war as part of the workshop
Image: Daniel Grushkin
The line of researchers lurches back and forth across a lecture hall. "Put a little more elbow grease in there," shouts linkurl:Deborah Mayo,;http://www.stonybrook.edu/theatrearts/faculty/full_time/mayo.html Lantz-Gefroh's colleague. Finally, the young researchers collapse into laughter as one side claims victory. Among theirs is the distinctive laugh of linkurl:Alan Alda,;http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000257/ who's watching the tug-of-war from the sidelines. This strange fusion of serious science and absurd play-acting is the famous actor's brainchild. He believes that it's a first...
Researchers do a mirroring exercise
Image: Daniel Grushkin




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