The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland review – ‘A startling piece of work’

The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland by Ridiculusmus

Funny, fragile, unsettling … The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland by Ridiculusmus. Photograph: Tristram Kenton for the Guardian

Earlier this yr, Jon Haynes, co-artistic director of Ridiculusmus, listed on his website several things that “may have contributed” to the company’s new show. A single was reading a guide by the psychiatrist RD Laing as an undergraduate and “discovering the notion of madness fairly attractive” one more, currently being sectioned and discovering that “madness wasn’t so eye-catching after all”. The four characters in The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland are all going through or assimilating psychological illness in approaches that are funny, fragile, unsettling and touching to witness. Madness seems to be perplexing, agonizing, exhausting. It also appears a good deal like ordinary daily life.

  1. The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland
  2. Stephen Joseph Theatre,
  3. Scarborough
  1. Starts 19 March
  2. Until twenty March, then touring
  3. Box workplace:
    01723 370541
  4. Theatre web site

Which is down to the ingenuity of the staging: the audience are divided on both side of two rooms linked by net-curtained windows. In a single, a mom is exhibiting signs of psychosis, to the bemusement of her sons in the other, the eldest son is speaking to his psychologist from his personal state of psychosis, perhaps triggered by his parents’ divorce. Sound bleeds from 1 area to the other, blurring the stories. Even when the audience swaps sides and the action replays, it’s a struggle to place the pieces collectively. If the eldest son – played with deadpan concision by Haynes – is “mad” in 1 area and “sane” in the other, what’s the variation? Is his psychologist – a deliciously distracted overall performance by the other half of Ridiculusmus, David Woods – also hearing voices? There’s something electrifying however oddly reassuring about this expertise: what does it matter if nothing at all tends to make sense?

Embedded right here is an argument for a diverse remedy for psychological sickness, practised in Finland, that embraces dialogue with a community, not just a patient. There is area for the present to produce, but previously it truly is a startling piece of perform that issues how you pay attention and fathom what you hear.

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