Monday, March 24, 2014  

'Frankenstein reborn as puppet theater | J.P. Scott lecture on cognition


Bradford Clark rehearses with the nearly completed Victor Frankenstein.
He's not Boris Karloff, and he's definitely not a Muppet. When the Creature makes his entrance during the BGSU Theatre production of "Frankenstein," director Bradford Clark predicts audiences will feel real shock, despite the fact that what they are seeing is a puppet.

Part of the "magic' of puppetry around the world is its ability to capture audiences and cause them to suspend their disbelief, forgetting for the moment that the characters are not human, Clark said.

Clark, theatre faculty member, puppet performer and scholar, has spent the fall and winter months in a cross between Geppetto's workshop and Leonardo da Vinci's studio, surrounded by woodworking tools and diagrams of human body parts. He has been carving and sanding the heads and hands of all the play's characters, using techniques he learned from Japanese puppetry and Balinese mask making. Recently he was "cracking the heads open to insert the mechanisms that allow them to move their mouths and eyes," he said. Last, rather than painting them, he will stain and finish the body parts like those of Czech puppets.

Opening Thursday (March 27), the show will be performed in the style of Japanese puppet theater, the characters' soft sculpture bodies, mounted on long control sticks, run by two students each under black drapes. Clark has been coaching the student puppeteers on the carefully choreographed movements. In some scenes, the Creature will be portrayed by smaller hand puppets - entailing the creation of duplicates on a smaller scale, elaborate costumes and all. That is a job for costumer Laurel Daman and her students, many of whom also are in the show as puppeteers.


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Evron Collins, 76, a professor emeritus of library sciences, died March 17 in Bowling Green. She worked at BGSU from 1963-2004


Onur Güntürkün
Dr. Onur Güntürkün, a biological psychologist at the Rühr University-Bochum in Germany, is kept awake with questions like: "How does a brain create thought?" or "Can different kinds of brains produce the same kind of cognition?"

Güntürkün will visit BGSU to discuss these questions and more in his address "The Evolution of Animal Thought: Cognition without Cortex in Birds" at 7 p.m. April 2 in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union Theater (Room 206). His talk is BGSU's annual J.P. Scott Lecture in Neuroscience.

Refreshments will be served at 6:30 p.m. The talk is free and open to the public.

Güntürkün has spent years of his life at universities in Germany, France, the U.S., Australia, Turkey and Belgium. He is a member of the German National Academy of Sciences, holds two honorary doctorates and has received numerous national and international scientific awards, most recently the Leibniz Prize 2013, the highest German research honor.

Güntürkün's visit is hosted by the Department of Psychology and supported by BGSU's J.P. Scott Center for Neuroscience, Mind, and Behavior. Founded in 1999, the center is a group of faculty, post-doctoral associates, graduate and undergraduate students studying the dynamic relationships between the nervous system and behavior, with an explicit focus on integrating behavioral research with other sub-disciplines of the neurosciences.

For more information, contact Dr. Verner Bingman, Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology, at