The Hard Problem 

The Hard Problem is a play by Tom Stoppard, a celebrated playwright whose most famous work is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, an absurdist play about two minor Shakespeare characters. Stoppard was born Jewish in the non-ideal year of 1937 in Czechoslovakia, from which the family fled to Singapore on the day that the Nazis invaded. In 1942, Stoppard’s father sent his wife and two sons to safety in Australia, staying behind and dying shortly thereafter.

The Hard Problem is an insightful and entertaining look at the problem of consciousness. Is consciousness the domain of neuroscience or of philosophy? In The Hard Problem, Themes of determinism, free will, mind and brain, belief and leaps of faith, altruism and survival, science and religion, adoption and heredity are interwoven through the experiences of Hilary, a budding neuroscientist hired by a think tank to look at altruism. Hilary, a religious person who believes that the mind is made of more than matter, butts heads and verbal barbs with her sometimes lover, Spike, a perfect reductionist who rejects all forms of dualism.

This play is thought-provoking and profoundly intellectual as it plays in the vast prairie of questions, steadfastly ignoring the flowery gardens where easy answers are rumored to exist.

If you are interested in seeing this play, please fill out the form below for a chance to join Peggy Mason (Director of the Neuroscience Major) for a preview of The Hard Problem on March 15, 2017 at Court Theatre at 7:30 pm. After the performance, a discussion of the play will be held with Court Director Charles Newell and Peggy Mason.

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