“Dendritical achieves something that is surprisingly rare for a Fringe show-it holds the audience’s attention from start to finish.” – Broadway Baby
“I found Dendritical profound, and moving. There were many points where I wanted to hang onto your words and study the deeply sophisticated ideas you presented. Thank you for a thought-provoking experience that will stay with me.” -Vivien Ainley
ChristyAnn Brown explores the heart of all things in Dendritical, come have a heart to heart.
Dendritical – Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh, Scotland
Dendritical – Developed as a Work in Process at Gelato! Art Salon, Brooklyn, NYC
The problem of living well is still paramount, and made into a fulgurated subject through the many and various projects in phenomenology, critical theory, and psychoanalysis in the 20th Century and beyond. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave expressed it best, by cautioning us to become aware of the unconscious factors that structuralize value, language and truth on a social level, but which also create emotive-cognitive tendencies in the unconscious. Against this, the Allegory teaches us to beware of the irrational, emotional bonding we strive for as strategy to overcome the ontological terror of merely being alive. In contemporary psychoanalytic circles, we are warned against sado-masochistic social relations, and reminded of our tendencies to recruit accomplices in the unconscious that preclude critical awareness of hidden ideology and power that operate through language and claims to truth. This split has been challenged by the Scottish philosopher, David Hume, which has led to a Western culture attempting to heal both the mind-body split and the thinking-emoting crevasse. This, of course, has created an immense scholarship addressing the dialectic between voluntarism and structuralism in understanding human agency, critical thinking, and the possibility for transcending harmful social structures.
Dendritical is a performance that I have actually seen, and the script of which I have actually read several times. It challenges the tyranny of the specular through an integrated usage of psychoanalytic meta-psychology, a Badiouian-styled reflection on language, and a direct phenomenological opening (a la Sartre) to ontological space from which we can divest ourselves from unconscious emotional attachment to its characters. The use of real-time processing with onstage camera work was able to create the Z-effect in my own conscious, and therefore trigger a Kafkaesque experience of alienation that kept me from “sleepwalking” through the performance. Instead, I was badgered into an intellectualism that arrested my own tendency toward the familiar, and left at the end, unsettled and irritated, an experience that stayed with me for quite some time and which motivated additional thinking about the possibility of a break from normalized Hegelianism and into a pool of the new. As such, even during the performance I was able to apprehend the Real in a new way, and given the opportunity to formulate new language around various issues associated with power, violence, and gender in the West. The work does not solve the crisis of culture in which we find ourselves; however, it does open up the ontological space that Plato coaxes us toward in the Allegory.
The script and the performance are smart, and I give Dendritical and its cast, a very, very high rating both in terms of intellectual content and the actual quality of its performance. I recommend the work to audiences in both the East and the West.
Prof. Kevin Boileau, PhD, PhD, JD/LLM, Psychoanalysis & Critical Theory
Dean of Faculty, Existential Psychoanalytic Institute & Society
Psychoanalytic Faculty, Global Center for Advanced Studies
Christopher Pelham, Director of Center For Remembering and Sharing, NYC
Charles Matter, Matter and Light Photography
Kevin Boileau, Ph.D.
Sara Jane Sloves
James Dowling, Ph.D.
Prop Assistance from Emily Hall and Janel Woodworth at The Art Attic
Puppet by Abbie at Make Stitch Knit
Garon Peterson at Gelato! Art Salon, New York
Carl Clark, Montana Webmaster Team and BloksDesign