Act like you mean it

Love and other Brain scenarios. A performance – science presentation into the field of emotions

Event Details


October 07, 2013 - October 18, 2013

As one of the most exciting Science & Art Projects in recent years, swissnex China proudly presents a five-act “lecture-performance” – Act Like You Mean It in which researchers explore the secrets of love, both in real life and on the stage.


We have all experienced being deeply touched by the actors and actresses while watching a play, but how do they convey such complex feelings? And do they really “love” or “hate” their partners that much while acting, or do they merely pretend?


Arts and sciences have a long tradition of quarreling over such questions like ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ acting, emotional identification or distant simulation. Using modern techniques of imaging brain activity, a joint research program – Authenticity of Emotion, which the lecture-performance – Act Like You Mean It has evolved from, has been carried out to examine whether top-class actors use emotions in their performances.


The project team of ‘Act like you mean it’ consists of two Swiss researchers: a neurologist, Thomas Grunwald from the Swiss Epilepsy Centre  in Zurich and a dramaturge from the Institute of Performing Arts and Film (ipf) at Zurich University of the Arts , Anton Rey.


Aided by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet balcony scene, research leaders Anton Rey (ipf) and Thomas Grunwald (Swiss Epilepsy Center) present their findings in a part scientific lecture, part performance at Rockbund Art Museum (Shanghai) and Penghao Theatre (Beijing) in five acts. Assisting them are two Shanghai-based professional actors – Ms. Yujiao Gong and Mr. Shichang Jin, both from Shanghai Theatre Academy. Besides, a science lecture on Memories and Emotions in the Human Limbic System and a workshop on Contemporary European Theatre will be given separately by the two professors.


Event Calendar


Shanghai Program


Date Activity Venue Remark
10.8 Tue. Science Lecture

Memories and Emotions in the Human Limbic System


Medical Campus, Fudan University


Free admission, open to public

10.9 Wed. Workshop

Contemporary European Theatre


Rockbund Art Museum


2F, Y.W.C.A Building, No.133 Yuan Ming Yuan Rd.


Free admission, open to directors and actors, 20 participants max.

Contact: Ms. Cissy Yiwen Sun

10.11 Fri. Lecture-performance

Act Like You Mean It

Free admission, RSVP required.


Beijing Program


Date Activity Venue Remark
10.17 Thu. Lecture-performance

Act Like You Mean It

Penghao Theatre


No.35, DongMianHua Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing

Penghao Theatre



Please visit the theatre website for detailed information:

10.18 Lecture-performance

Act Like You Mean It




Thomas Grunwald was born in 1956 in Germany and now lives in Zurich, Switzerland. He is a neurologist, specializing in clinical neurophysiology and pre-surgical evaluations at the Swiss Epilepsy Centre in Zurich. He teaches neurology at the Bonn University Medical Centre, Germany, and 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.


Anton Rey was born in Switzerland in 1959, and has worked as dramaturge and artistic director in numerous theatres and festivals in Germany, France, and Scotland. Since 2002, he has taught theatre history and dramaturgy at the Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland. In 2007, he founded the Institute for the Performing Arts and Film at the university. He is currently editing a book series on the principles of artistic research.


Yujiao Gong

Shanghai Theatre Academy, BA Directing

Acting Productions: 2013 Juliet, Romeo&Juliet, (Director: Lu Ang/ Brian Micheaels)

Directing Productions: 2012 Equus (Author: Peter Shaffer)


Shichang Jin

Shanghai Theatre Academy, BA Directing

Acting Production: 2013 The King, Liao Zhai, 2013 Heisenberg, Copenhagen

Directing Productions: 2013 Rabbit (scripted by Original Group Work), 2013 Ubu Roi (Alfred Jarry)