Alan Alda, the award-winning actor and bestselling author, discusses his decades-long quest to understand the intricacies of communication. With his trademark humor and candor, Alda’s new book, If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating, chronicles communication breakdowns in his own life from a life-changing misunderstanding with a dentist to learning how to make science relatable to the masses as host of PBS’s Scientific American Frontiers. Drawing on improvisation training, theater, and storytelling techniques from a life of acting, and with insights from recent scientific studies, Alda equips himself with a range of tools to relate to others more effectively. Sharing with audiences his strategies to build empathy and improve the way we communicate, Alda will demonstrate the art of conversation as he talks with Lisa Wolpe—a master communicator in her own right as an actress, director, teacher, and the Artistic Director and Founder of the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company.
Alan Alda has earned international recognition as an actor, writer, and director. He has won seven Emmy Awards, received three Tony nominations, is an inductee of the Television Hall of Fame, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in The Aviator. Alda played Hawkeye Pierce on the classic television series M*A*S*H, and his films include Crimes and Misdemeanors, Everyone Says I Love You, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Bridge of Spies, and many more. Alda is an active member of the science community, having hosted the award-winning series Scientific American Frontiers for eleven years and founded the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. Alda is the author of two bestselling books, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I’ve Learned and Things I Overheard While Talking To Myself.
Lisa Wolpe is an actress, director, teacher & playwright, and is the Artistic Director of Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company, which she founded in 1993. Honors include the Shakespeare Theater Association’s “Sidney Berger Award”, “Sustained Excellence” awards from the L.A. Drama Critic and from Playwrights Arena, the Key to Harlem, a Congressional Certificate of Merit; NBC News’ “Local Hero”, Jacob Bronowski Award for Theater Excellence, Whittier College’s Distinguished Artist Award, Colorado Shakespeare “First Scholar” and UC Boulder’s “Roe Green Distinguished Scholar”. Acting credits include Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Shakespeare & Company, Orlando Shakespeare Festival, and San Diego Repertory Theater.