Play: Placebo Sunrise (& The Tipping Point – take III)

I saw an off-off-Broadway show yesterday (in reality it was just half a block off Broadway, but this isn’t about geography) called Placebo Sunrise. I can’t fully tell you what it was about, but it was certainly entertaining and different. The stage was not the usual, instead, it extended into the distance in front of the audience as a hotel/resort hallway. There was a lot of great movement with the characters coming in and out of doors and side hallways. The use of the stage was incredible and the actors were great at creating certain ambiance without too many props. I also appreciated the use of dance in this piece. It seemed more like a parody and was acted out in a non-chalant way, but in fact, there was some serious dancing.

So what about The Tipping Point, you ask. Curiously enough, the second half of the play started with a section that sounded extremely familiar. I have now checked and yes, one of the main characters discusses an idea that is also covered at length in The Tipping Point (pp.177-180.). It’s an argument by anthropologist Robin Dunbar about how the size of humans’ brains is related to the complexity of their social circles. The focus is on the size of the networks and their exponential growth depending on how many people you know. (In fact, this is where the 150 rule comes from that I have already discussed earlier in my comments on the book.) I won’t ge into it in detail, Gladwell recommends the following for a good summary: R.I.M. Dunbar. 1992. “Neocortex Size as a Constraint on Group Size in Primates” Journal of Human Evolution. vol 20 pp.469-493.

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