Jane Goodall and The Wild Chimpanzees

May 24, 2008 at 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Acting Like an Animal


A live performance of “Jane Goodall and The Wild Chimpanzees” will be staged at TELIC Arts Exchange as part of Primate Cinema, an ongoing project by Rachel Mayeri. The 20 minute performance will be preceded by talks by primatologists on the topic of acting in the animal kingdom, and a screening of Mayeri’s video “Primate Cinema: Baboons as Friends.” The event is free and open to everyone.

7:00 Lecture
8:00 Screening
8:30 Performance

Jane Goodall and The Wild Chimpanzees
“Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees” is a BBC Nature documentary, produced in 1996, chronicling the lives of the chimpanzees of Gombe National Park in Tanzania. Perhaps the most studied wild chimpanzees in the world, Fifi, Freud, Frodo, Ferdinand and Faustino are celebrities who have their own website and home movies. In the documentary, British primatologist Jane Goodall describes the family saga, with brothers vying for dominance, as a soap opera. Through Goodall’s eyes, we witness the construction of the contemporary meaning of “our closest relatives.”

The live performance Jane Goodall and The Wild Chimpanzees explores what it means to be animal, and how documentary dramatizes nature. The troop includes: Suzan Averitt, Claire Cronin, Penny Folger, Estela Garcia, Dave Johnson, Diane Lefer, Adam Overton, and Joe Seeley. This performance is one of a series of experiments developed in the 3-week workshop, How to Act Like an Animal (for more information about the workshop, visit http://thepublicschool.org/105/how-to-act-like-an-animal/).

Primatologists Deborah Forster and Rebecca Frank on Acting in the Animal Kingdom
Forster’s talk will be on the how and why of acting and motor mimicry in the animal kingdom, examining videos of “walking” octopuses, painting elephants, and aping orangutans. Frank, who researches female social behavior and cooperation, will analyze the group dynamics of a Reality TV show.