This Is My Brain On Drugs
In Review

This is My Brain on Drugs

2.5 out of 5 stars
2.5 out of 5 stars - 'Comme ci, comme ça'
The Exit Theatre, San Francisco
Review by Cy Ashley Webb

Don’t let the title This is my Brain on Drugs make you jump to conclusions. This one-woman show by Gloria Bromberg, which just opened as part of San Francisco’s ongoing Fringe Festival, isn’t about  tedious ‘60’s psychedelic war stories.

Bromberg talks about her progression from 7-year-old existentialist to alcoholic to antidepressant junkie, and her life beyond, with the main focus on those sanctioned pharmaceutical balms (Effexor, Wellbutrin, Paxil, etc.) that a startling number of us use to shape our experience of the world… and the world’s of us.

This one-woman show, directed by Mark Kenward (whose work at the Marsh drew wows last year) has numerous failings. Too confessional by half, it lacks dynamic tension. However, these failings aren’t what will nag at you later – and focusing on them too closely would be dissing the Fringe, whose spirit of “NO RISK, NO ART / NO ART, NO RISK” animates the best of these ventures.

ALSO SEE: Going home: ‘Between Riverside and Crazy’ (Review)

Bromberg’s honesty was what nagged at my mind afterwards, especially as the symptoms that she described plaguing her five years after first opening  Pandora’s pharmacopoeia were similar to those described recently by a friend.

While Bromberg’s material needs work, her acting chops are surprisingly good. You won’t remember the small gaffes, but instead might be awed at the bravery of this unseasoned performer.

The San Francisco Fringe Festival 2015 runs through September 26th. Bromberg herself appears again on September 20th and 26th. Hopefully, she’ll develop this piece further in the future.

Cy spent the ‘80’s as a bench scientist, the tech boom doing intellectual property law, and the first decade of the millennium, aspiring to be the world’s oldest grad student at Stanford where she is interested in political martyrdom. Presently, she enjoys writing for Stark Insider and the SF Examiner, hanging out at Palo Alto Children's Theatre, and participating in various political activities. Democracy is not a spectator sport! Cy is a SFBATCC member.