Review: Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland

The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland. Pic: Comp
The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland. Pic: Comp
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THERE’S method in the madness in this experimental black comedy that puts psychosis on stage, an alienating performance that seeks to put the audience in the minds of those affected with mental illness.

* * * *

SUMMERHALL

Set on a stage split by a wall, with the audience switching sides half-way through, it’s a play that’s difficult to distil, which is part of what makes it special.

On one side, a mother looks like she’s in the full throws of psychosis; on the other, a doctor, also apparently the father of her children, tries to understand the schizophrenia of a patient while himself pondering the thin line between psychosis and so-called sanity.

The two sets of characters (four actors in all) speak over each other, melding the otherwise separate plays into one.

Writers Jon Haynes (who was once sectioned) and David Woods clearly empathise with their characters, and the production is partly a rally for an alternative to modern schizophrenia treatment. The eye-catching title comes from an apparently successful ‘open dialogue’ treatment in Finnish Lapland, and while the play deals little with its details, it shows us that understanding the mental processes of those affected by mental illness is the best way to continue to connect with them.

Until 24 August