Saturday, 10 June 2017

Give Me Your Dramaturgy: Ridiculusmus’ David Woods @ Edfringe 2017

Can ecstasy relieve ex-soldier Zach’s post-traumatic stress?

Seriously funny theatre company Ridiculusmus bring their hit show Give Me Your Love to Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Old Lab, Summerhall

Tuesday 15 to Sunday 27 August at 10.15am

In 2013 seriously funny theatre specialists Jon Haynes and David Woods of Ridiculusmus turned their attention to bio-medical science and exploring innovative therapeutic approaches to mental health. Since then, they have forged a reputation for turning these complex issues into moving and provocative theatre.

The second in a trilogy of plays, Give Me Your Love looks at the healing potential of altered states of consciousness and the use of psychedelic drugs, in particular 3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine - MDMA - for patients traumatised by combat stress.

Company: Ridiculusmus
Show: Give Me Your LoveVenue: Old Lab, Summerhall, 1 Summerhall, Edinburgh EH9 1PL

Dates: Preview Tuesday 15 August; Wednesday 16 to Sunday 27 August (no performance on Monday 21 August)

Time: 10.15am

What was the inspiration for this performance?
See: Some things that may have influenced Give Me Your Love blog post by Jon:

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 
The best - because it’s is a democratic space. The collective public witnessing and reaction is critical to forming, negotiating and discussing opinion

How did you become interested in making performance?
When my Dad was ill in the 1980s - performing to him, not that I thought of it as such at the time, for hours at a time, diverted him from suicidal thoughts

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?
Yes, we have an established methodology that has long form improvisation at its core, informed by meticulous research and engagement
Does the show fit with your usual productions?
Yes and No, it looks unlike anything we’ve done before in that neither of us appear, but as is our contemporary wont we tackle a serious subject with warmth and wit 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
Something of the isolation and horror that is PTSI, an airing of their own hopes and fears around tackling such things and a ray of hope towards re-connection and recovery through dialogue

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
Not appearing at all, isolating ourselves from each other rather than the audience, setting the play in America, giving punters an MDMA capsule. None of these things made it to the finished work.

Inspired by the real-life testimonies of war veterans and informed by groundbreaking medical research, Give Me Your Love is funny, fragile and profound. It tells the story of ex-soldier Zach who has withdrawn into a cardboard box in a kitchen in West Wales. 

His friend Ieuan arrives offering recovery - in the form of an ecstasy capsule
which he claims to have used to successfully treat his own post-traumatic stress.

Parachuted into their recently fractured pasts, Zach and Ieuan (one of them in a box, the other hidden behind a door) swing between dreamboat heroism and woozy enlightenment whilst engaging in disorderly conversation about patriotism, conflict and supermarket shopping.

Research by BBC Panorama found that more British soldiers died by suicide than were killed in battle in 2012. The same is the case in the US where suicide has caused more American casualties than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. During the development of Give Me Your Love, Ridiculusmus talked to researchers in the US about their work on trauma therapy using MDMA. They also spoke to veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan and the Falklands as well American soldiers who had undergone the treatment.

Give Me Your Love is the second show in a trilogy which began with The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland exploring the Open Dialogue approach to psychosis.
The final part, Grief (working title), will premiere in 2018.

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