Director of Lincoln Center’s “King Lear,” medical doctor, author, respected artist, and psychoanalytic genius is the general description of Jonathan Miller, who visited campus last week and spoke at “An Evening with Jonathan Miller.” Yet, the simplicity of such a portrayal is quite questionable, for Dr. Miller has led a life that reaches far beyond the constraints of the above accomplishments. With his colorful life has come many experiences that have caused Dr. Miller to become a director, doctor, author, artist, and widely acclaimed genius. After Instructor of Theater Mark Efinger introduced Dr. Miller, a question-and-answer session began. Mr. Efinger and Visiting Scholar in Molecular Biology Dr. Hagler were the first to offer queries to Dr. Miller about his philosophies concerning theatre and science. The first question asked whether Dr. Miller believed in a “test of time,” whether he held belief in pleasing an audience so as to allow his shows to run longer. His answer was simple: “very few things stand the test of time,” and “I do not care about whether things please the masses.” He said that people should create plays, objects, and ideas (all categorized under the title of “things,”) because they enjoy doing it, not solely to please others. “If [the audiences] like it, it lasts longer than expected,” he said as he began to reminisce of his first show, “Beyond the Fringe,” and how he had been surprised by its success. He made a point to note that the play was only remembered by those who saw it; once those folks were gone and the show was no longer in production, time would pass and all would be forgotten. However, Miller showed no sadness in making such a deduction. “Shakespeare stands the test of time because he did something of fundamental knowledge,” Miller acknowledged. However, for other playwrights and productions, he foretold a different future: “[Performances] don’t survive; texts do. After 20 to 30 years, no one recalls my productions. After productions close, that’s it. People die and there is no one to say, ‘You should have seen that production.’” The next question concerned the influence of science on Dr. Miller’s theatrical experience and whether the information he had discovered as a scientist had effected the artist in him or vice versa. His first reaction was to explain how he was simply a “student of science, not an active protagonist.” Even so, Dr. Miller admitted to the connection science and theater have in his life. He spoke about how his experience in the medical field had caused him to pay attention to details of behavior that led to medical diagnoses. Such attention to negligible detail was equally important to him while directing productions, for he believes that sharpened observation during a theatrical performance enhances the effect of the play. Dr. Miller compared directing to “reminding performers of what they have forgotten and to get them to remember…[because there is] little time, [there are] often forgotten details” that sharp producing can bring out. In response to a question about theatrical drive, Dr. Miller discussed how he was puzzled by the human need to make objects and then display them. He illustrated how humans look at artifacts from the past, “unlike other animals,” and then advertise their findings, “presenting rituals to mark events of importance…[and] accompany transitions/rites of passage from childhood to adolescence to adulthood.” With such a philosophy, Dr. Miller established his belief in how performance began before the desire to entertain, and how rituals used to perpetuate and justify important events in life were built into human activity and mentality. Public performance was simply an addition to mark passages from one point to another in a more open form, advertising the transition in the most human way possible. Dr. Miller made a point to say that other animals, such as the bower bird, make bowers and other objects for biological reasons, while “humans like to decorate surfaces” for no reason at all; it is all simply for show. The profundity of the conversation, the meaning behind Dr. Miller’s words, and the truth behind all that he said was astounding to many of his listeners. “I enjoyed listening to Miller’s summary of his unique and inspiring perspective on life because his knowledge spans many different areas,” said Lisa Donchak ’06. “I especially enjoyed his opinions on theatre and directing; as a director, I heard quite a few ideas that I’m looking forward to trying.” Those who spent their evening with Dr. Jonathan Miller had the experience of attending a “show” well-worth watching; for those who did not attend, a show like this is not likely to come back again soon. True geniuses are hard to find.