Executive Dysfunction 2.0 - A Review by Hannah McGregor
Gregor Mackenzie’s work, Executive Dysfunction 2.0, follows the character through a series of 13 short monologues, exploring mental health, neurodivergency, and how these interact with various aspects of their life. Sometimes anecdotal, sometimes poetic, Mackenzie explores what seems to be their own struggles with life, descending into metaphors about swimming pools, floating, static, and rain.
Mackenzie’s video clips are bookended by the introduction and closing videos, but the other 11 clips are displayed in a way which suggests they can be watched in whatever order the viewer chooses. Indeed, there is no through-line of story to be followed, but rather a general theme of internal reflection that continues through all of them. With some interesting video effects to pair with certain topics; for example, the blurry visuals of ‘Static’, giving the narration of restlessness a deliberately disorienting viewing experience, placing the audience in that specific headspace that the narrator is speaking about. The overlay of social scenes in ‘Safe Places’ also gives a similar effect, a video about the experience of the freeing feeling of a night out.
The strengths of this video series lies in its analysis of the experience of being neurodivergent and various mental health struggles. In particular, Mackenzie’s description of depersonalisation/derealisation in several clips is quite moving, describing that feeling of not quite being ‘there’ very poignantly. The exploration of adolescence – or rather, coming
out of it – seems specifically personal, particularly in the videos of ‘A Little Bit of Rain’ and ‘Afterglow’. The project feels like a personal diary entry by the creator, a private anthology of thoughts and fears that we are being invited to look in on.
Some of the clips seem to have the same function and explore the same subject matter as each other; an issue that perhaps some more drafting would have been able to condense, by merging some of these ideas into the same video. Because of this, at times it feels like some videos merge into each other, providing a not so clear distinction between some of the themes. Nevertheless, each one is thoughtfully created.
Overall, Executive Dysfunction is a thought-provoking experience of the inner reflections of Mackenzie’s character, providing poetic commentary to their own experiences. Although at times feeling – oddly enough – static, the short clips feel like pure expressions of joy, anger, sadness, dissatisfaction, and all of the other confusing ways in which humans can exist in our world.
This review was written by Hannah McGregor, as part of Framework's Theatre Writers Pilot Scheme.