Let “Lethologica’ distort your memory

The student production messes with minds and techno music in its one-weekend run

by Tatum Fjerstad

It’s no shocker that while rehearsing, dancers might forget a step or two and need to be gently redirected. But in rehearsals for the production “Lethologica,” that forgetfulness had a certain irony.

The show’s director, sophomore Ryan Dean, defined “lethologica” as the inability to remember something you want to ” like when you just can’t put your finger on the right word.

“It’s very interesting to not only watch others, but also myself forgetting moves as we rehearse something that is about the mind’s ability to remember things,” Dean, a University dance student, said.

“Lethologica,” running one weekend at The Red Eye Theater, is about memory distortion, a vast theory that includes a wide range of memory loss. It encompasses simple forgetfulness, more intense repression and full-fledged schizophrenia.

Tapping his temple, Dean said, “This is a fragile instrument we have here. No one ever remembers anything just as it happens. They remember snapshots and fill in the gaps with probable events and emotions.”

Video multimedia is also a big part of the piece. Employing the same tactic as the brain to store memories, Dean uses video to flash images like clouds, nuclear tests, military brainwashing, water and time lapses.

“The mind has always been really interesting to me,” Dean said. “Our memories dictate much of our identity.”

Playing off the rapid dancing which causes them to be out of breath, the five-person company jokingly calls themselves the Asthma Division, Dean said.

The Asthma Division dances to the psychological techno of the band Aphex Twin, giving each dance limitless directions.

“This is a really trippy show with a high level of stimulation,” Dean said.

The dance is neurotic and punchy, with rigid spins, rolls, grabbing and pulling. Like the right and left brains, very rarely do two or more dancers perform in synch. While two dancers mimic order and machinery, another flits around in fits of fluid motion.

Memory distortion is a hefty theory and, like the brain, has many different layers and complexities. But Dean said he has made sure it won’t go above heads.

“A lot of dance out there has no substance. It doesn’t communicate to the audience,” Dean said. “”Lethologica’ is readily accessible, and yet I’m not asking you to be a dunce.”

“Lethologica” is sponsored by Crisis Point, a student group dedicated to giving young artists at the University a chance to perform their works in the real world using real topics.

“Everyone will have a different experience, memory and thought as they leave the theater. It will change them a little bit,” Dean said. “And that is amazing.”