“Act like you mean it”, a reworking of Romeo and Juliet celebrating neuroscience in the 400th year since Shakespeare’s death. During this lecture performance, the authenticity of actor’s emotions is investigated from a theatrical and neuroscientific perspective. Each and every one of us has been touched by our favourite actors’ performances. But how do actors convey such complex feelings? Do they really “love” or “hate” their stage partners? “Act like you mean it” reveals both neuroscientific and artistic answers to these questions. Using artistic expertise and results from modern techniques to examine brain activity, Prof. Thomas Grunwald, Medical Director at the Swiss Epilepsy Centre in Zurich and Prof. Anton Rey, Head of the Institute for Performing Arts and Film at Zurich University of the Arts, quarrel over the veracity of actors’ emotions during a performance of the Romeo and Juliet balcony scene.
Annina Euling started performing at the age of five in the opera Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini at the Theater Freiburg. Later she worked in the youth ensembles of the Theater Freiburg and Theater Solothurn. Since 2013, she is studying drama at the Zurich University of the Arts.
Jan Beller studies Drama at the Zurich University of the Arts since 2013. Previously he studied at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Since 2008 he has been acting in a number of acts in Germany and Switzerland.
Prof. Anton Rey heads the research Institute for the Performing Arts and Film (IPF) at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK), Switzerland. Since 2002, he also teaches theatre history and dramaturgy at the Department of Performing Arts and Film. Currently he is working on projects such as Actor & Avatar, an interdisciplinary research dealing with the different perception of live and animated characters; DisAbility on Stage, an exploration of the physical in performing arts practices, and a publication Staging Space. The Architecture of Performance in the 21st Century (with Huang and von Fischer, Park Books, 2016).
Since 2015 he was nominated member of PEEK Board of the Austrian Science Fund (Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung FWF).
Prof. Thomas Grunwald is a Neurologist, specialising in epileptology and clinical neurophysiology and especially in pre-surgical evaluations for epilepsy surgery at the Swiss Epilepsy Centre in Zurich. In addition, he is Senior Consultant for epileptology at the Department of Neurology, University Hospital Zurich and teaches neurology at Bonn University Medical Centre, Germany. His main area of research is cognitive neurophysiology of memory processes, and he cooperates in the study of neurophysiological correlates of artistic and rhetorical communication with the Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland, and the University of Arts and Design in Karlsruhe, Germany.