Michael, Doyin, Sama, Yaamin, Jack, Noah, Kassius, Tyrel, Serafina, and Segen ask us to look at them - really look at them and judge them. They are not like the many adults that were sat in the audience, their brains, although containing the same number of neurons, are different. They say that their brains are like their bedrooms; messy, but everything is in there. They don't tidy their bedrooms, as they don't know what they should keep or what they should throw away. They show us they teenagers’ minds have a wonderfully developed limbic system, the risk taking rebellious voice inside our heads, and an underdeveloped frontal cortex, the parental pragmatic voice. This is why they are brilliantly moody and take more risks than adults.
I work with a lot of young people and I see that adults and teenagers can seem worlds apart sometimes, and, to be honest, that is why I love working with them. To me teenagers are messy, chaotic, risky, and therefore are brilliant theatre makers. They don't follow the rules, and they don't necessarily break them; they just have different ones. Their brains maybe going through tumultuous changes, with atmospheric highs and crashing lows but I really believe that this is a brilliant time for creativity.
Brainstorm, and theatre like it, is important - in a world where teenagers are sometimes misunderstood and rebuked by the people who have forgotten they were teenagers once - this different world needs a strong voice. What Ned Glasier and Emily Lim, Co-Directors of Brainstorm, have beautifully done is dissect the teenage mind and let the company play with it on stage. It affected me – how quick I have forgotten the messy world of adolescents where I tried to make sense of an odd world where no one understood me. Maybe I have forgotten it for a reason, maybe I have become numb to it, or maybe my limbic system has been ambushed by my pragmatism. All I know is that, ironically, the older I get the more I want to hold onto the risky voice.
At the end of the show the actors told their younger selves about incidents and aspirations that will come in the future. If you could talk to your younger self what would you say?
Hi, you don’t know this yet but....
Created by Ned Glasier, Emily Lim and the company
A fearless company of young people explore the workings of the teenage brain in this deeply moving and life-affirming piece of theatre. Created with leading cognitive neuroscientists, Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and Kate Mills, Brainstorm is a thrilling exploration of the most frustrating, chaotic and exhilarating changes that will ever happen to us.