May 1: Join Pulitzer Prize Finalist Christopher Shinn for Play/Discussion on Using fMRI to Make Movies

Join Science Writers in New York (SWINY) and Pulitzer Prize finalist Christopher Shinn on Sunday May 1 for a performance of his new play, Picked, and a post-performance discussion.

When: Sunday, May 1

Performance: 3 pm
Vineyard Theatre
108 East 15th St.

Discussion: 5:30 pm
Barnes & Noble
33 East 17th St.

Cost: $45, 3 pm performance

Many actors go to extremes to create a role. Mark Wahlburg trained as a boxer for two years before The Fighter. Natalie Portman danced until her toes bled for Black Swan. Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling lived together in a house for a month before Blue Valentine.

Yet they remained actors, and their roles remained roles.

But what if a director wanted to go deeper, and strip away the gossamer veneer that separates the actor from the role? What if neuroimaging allowed him to do this?

That is the premise of Picked, the new play written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Christopher Shinn and directed by Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle winner Michael Wilson.


The play tells the story of a movie director, John, who wants to push beyond mere acting and build a big-budget Hollywood movie around the authentic emotions, fears and hopes of his leading man, Kevin. John asks Kevin a series of very personal questions while using functional MRI to assess his answers. While John hopes to discover previously inaccessible truths about the actor’s soul, the process affects Kevin in ways the actor never could have expected.

After the performance, we will discuss the play with Shinn; psychiatrist Andrew Gerber, who uses neuroimaging to study child psychiatric disorders at Columbia University; and actor Michael Stahl-David, who plays Kevin.

The discussion will look at advances in neuroscience and neuroimaging as a way of exploring what can and can’t be known about the human soul. We will also look at how artists might interact with a new era of brain research, and what it may or may not tell us about the deepest reaches of human experience.

You can learn more about Picked and the Vineyard Theatre at http://tinyurl.com/3r4j5ny.

Here are the details:

Date: Sunday, May 1

Performance: 3 pm
Vineyard Theatre
108 East 15th St.

Discussion: 6 pm
Barnes & Noble
33 East 17th St.

Cost: $45, 3 pm performance

To order your tickets today:

  • Visit the Vineyard Theatre’s website and enter code HEALTH or
  • Call 212-353-0303 and mention code HEALTH or
  • Visit the Vineyard Theatre’s box office at 108 East 15th Street and mention code HEALTH

One response to “May 1: Join Pulitzer Prize Finalist Christopher Shinn for Play/Discussion on Using fMRI to Make Movies

  1. Pingback: Books » The Nurture Assumption: WHY CHILDREN TURN OUT THE WAY THEY DO By Judith Rich Harris (73124)

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