On Thursday, March 15, Brendan McLeod presented his monologue ‘Brain’ in the Alumni Theatre at TRU, ending this year’s ‘Live at TRU’ series. The monologue was approximately 1 hour and there was a short meet-and-greet afterwards.
This isn’t the first time Brendan’s been to TRU, as he came once before to play with his band, ‘The Fugitives’. His monologue took about 10 months to prepare, including finding what he wanted to say, deciding how he wanted to say it, and lastly memorizing the piece to make it as effective as possible. It explores his personal experiences with mental illness, consciousness and friendship, all while making it humorous, interactive, and thought-provoking.
McLeod’s monologue begins with when he started middle school. He said he was very nervous at the beginning, so he began praying to God everyday and slowly he got obsessed with it. He explained how he would pray during class, before he’d fall asleep and it was the only thing he’d use his thoughts for.
He talked about when he moved to Victoria for university and first experienced marijuana. McLeod said he wouldn’t stop bothering a classmate until he showed him what the world of marijuana was like and the idea of being high was the only thing he could focus on.
After he finally experienced it, he became overwhelmed with the idea that this classmate was going to kill him, which he noted was a crazy thing to think. Yet his mind was so filled with different obsessions that it was suffocating him.
The theatre went quiet when he said he thought about molesting children. He thought to himself ‘Would I do that?’, and although ‘No’ seemed like the 100 per cent correct answer, his mind tricked him into thinking that he wouldn’t be completely sure unless he pictured every possible scenario in his head.
He thought about these scenarios day and night and eventually became obsessed with it, just like the praying in middle school. He couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him, until he was told by counselor that he had obsessive compulsive disorder.
The moment of learning the truth freed him. He realized he wasn’t a monster, he was someone with a disorder. He realized when he said aloud ‘I think about molesting children’, that he would never actually do that.
McLeod noted how no one knows and how we will probably never know, how our consciousness works. He then went into his thoughts about how important his friends are to him and how they helped through a strenuous time in his life.
He left the audience with the message of “you never know when you might be helping someone,” which is truly something to consider.