The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence e-bulletin


“I think therefore I am.”   The philosophical upshot of Descartes’s famous maxim is to split the world in two.  There is the “I” and there are the “I’s” objects.  It’s a fairly apt structural description of the way our brains work.  The problem is it reduces other people to objects.  And great moral thinkers have wrestled with this dichotomy ever since.  In art, we see this split in the form/content duality.  In the act of creation, form and content are inseparable.  But art that is formally inventive and identifiably individual always draws our attention.  And in the theater, don’t we all just love a well-crafted play?  Who is on your list of favorite master craftsmen?  Oscar Wilde?  Caryll Churchill?  Tom Stoppard?  Bruce Norris, perhaps?  Add to your list, Madeleine George.


When I used to teach playwriting in the New York City public schools, there was one exercise I loved to do best.  It always got the most fabulous writing out of kids, whether I was working with first graders or seniors.  It was called "The Object Monologue," and it began with me leading the class through a guided visualization, in which I asked them to imagine themselves inside a room they knew well, and to walk around that room in their mind's eye until an object called out to them.  "Now walk over to your object," I would instruct them, "and get right up next to it.  Notice everything about it.  Now lean in close to your object, so close that your nose is almost touching it.  Now... jump inside your object and become your object."  There was always a gratifying gasp and recoil at this point, as a roomful of third graders with their eyes closed reacted physically to the impact of becoming hairbrushes, Beanie Babies, and basketballs.  "Feel how your body feels now that you are this object," I said.  "Now look around you.  What do you see through your object's eyes?"  After a moment, I told them to write a monologue in which their object expressed its deepest desire.  The writing produced by this exercise was invariably hyper-dramatic – verging on Greek in its keening, single-minded intensity.  "Use me!" the hairbrushes howled.  "All I want is for you to use me!"  "When you come home from school today, please don’t forget to pick me up and kiss me," begged the Beanie Babies.  "If you play with that soccer ball again instead of me, I'm going to let all my air out and lie here dead," the basketballs threatened.



Visit our show page to read more about The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence including bios of Madeleine George, Leigh Silverman, and the cast!

The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence

More and more, I have less time in the morning to take in the news before heading to work, which leads me to websites like (“The Front Page of the Internet”), a thorough round-up from sources scattered all over the world.  This morning brought me to The Guardian, the Hindustan TimesNew Zealand Herald, Democracy Now, and Slashdot all in the course of about twenty minutes, at which point I snuck a peek at Facebook to see photos someone posted of me in summer camp about 23 years ago.  This is the way our daily narratives are formed, not linearly but through networks and associations.  My intake of the world while casually eating breakfast cereal and calibrating my day didn’t follow a straight line (a copy of the Times) so much as a multi-dimensional map that whisked me all over the globe and back-and-forth through decades.


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Let’s say you’re playing Jeopardy!  The category is U.S. Cities.  The clue: “Its largest airport is named for a World War II hero, its second largest for a World War II battle.” 

If you’d asked me, “For whom or what are Chicago’s largest airports named?” I wouldn’t have been able to tell you.  I’d never really thought about where the names “O’Hare” and “Midway” came from.  But when I read the aforementioned category and clue, I thought about pairs of airports in U.S. cities I could name, and when Chicago’s popped into my head, it was clear that one name was a person’s and the other was... and that’s when I remembered my history.  Though I didn’t know the answer, I would have wagered quite a lot on that guess.


post-performance discussions

During the run of Watson Intelligence, post-performance discussions with Madeleine George and Leigh Silverman have been scheduled for the following dates:

Wednesday, November 20
Tuesday, November 26
Sunday, December 1 (following the matinee)

These discussions are an important aspect of our play development process. We hope you can take part!


helpful information



Member tickets to The Watson Intelligence are $35 each (reg. $70) YOUNG MEMBERS: 30&Under Member tickets are $20; Student Member tickets are $10.


SUBSCRIBERS: Order guest tickets for $45 each when you reserve your own.

FLEXPASS HOLDERS:  FlexPass holders may use tickets in your account to bring guests.  Add tickets to your account by calling Ticket Central (Noon-8pm daily) at (212) 279-4200.  Restrictions apply.

MEMBERS: Order one guest ticket per package per production for $50 when you reserve your own.

YOUNG MEMBERS:  You can buy one guest ticket per production. If your guest is 30 or under, the ticket is $30. If your guest is a full-time Student, the ticket is $20.  Proof of age and/or student ID will be required for each ticket picked up.

Age appropriate?

We recommend The Watson Intelligence for those aged 12+. 


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