Being and seeing bodies speak onstage is powerful—it manages to change minds. The seemingly simple ability to watch, understand, appreciate, and be moved by a theatrical production is, in fact, an extraordinary cognitive and biological feat. In this, the final Theatre Circle Lecture of the season, Dr. Amy Cook focuses on the performance of science and the science of performance in Shakespeare’s language, examining how conceptual linguistics illuminates Cordelia’s invocation of “nothing,” in the King Lear’s opening scene and Lear’s desperate attempt to capture some sign of life from his daughter at the play’s end.
Thursday, February 27 | 5:30 pm
2nd Floor, Lee Norvelle Theatre & Drama Center
Corner of 7th and Jordan
AMY COOK is Associate Professor of Theatre History, Theory, and Literature at Indiana University. She specializes in the intersection of cognitive science (particularly cognitive linguistics, theories of embodied and embedded cognition, and empathy), and theories of performance, theatre history and dramaturgy, early modern drama, and contemporary productions of Shakespeare. Her book, Shakespearean Neuroplay: Reinvigorating the Study of Dramatic Texts and Performance through Cognitive Science, provides a methodology for applying cognitive science to the study of drama and performance. With Shakespeare’s Hamlet as a test subject and the cognitive linguistic theory of conceptual blending as a tool, Cook unravels the “mirror held up to nature” at the center of Shakespeare’s play. She is co-chair, with John Lutterbie, of the Cognitive Science in Theatre and Performance Working Group at the American Society of Theatre Research conference (2010 and 2011).
She was a Mellon Fellow in dramaturgy, directing, and dramatic literature at Emory University in Atlanta, where she was commissioned to write a documentary theatre piece on race at Emory University, presented at the Brave New Works Festival in February of 2009. She received her Ph.D. in Theatre and Drama at University of California, San Diego where she studied with Louis Montrose, Bryan Reynolds, Jim Carmody, Janet Smarr, and cognitive scientists Gilles Fauconnier, Rafael Núñez, and Seana Coulson. She got received her B.A. in theatre directing and psychology (a self-designed individual concentration through the Honors Program) from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.