October 28, 2021

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

Theatre company Ridiculusmus' new show at the Battersea Arts Center explores MDMA's potential to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

person in cardboard box in empty roomBattersea Arts Centre brilliantly and provocatively continues its reemergence from the ashes of last March’s fire by lending its stage to two-man troupe Ridiculusmus, whose current mission is to theatrically investigate innovative approaches to mental health. Give Me Your Love is the second instalment of a trilogy inaugurated by The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland, a critically acclaimed piece whose structural experimentation enhanced and only purposefully mystified its central message.

Second episode Give Me Your Love is an attempt to explore MDMA’s potential for PTSD treatment, which, despite lacking the formal unorthodoxy of the first instalment, remains a successfully eccentric experience. Its protagonist is barely revealed; the welsh Iraq veteran whose traumatic experiences are unearthed with the aid of an ecstasy pill remains symbolically confined to the interior of a cardboard box for most of the hour-long show. Similarly, the remaining characters, a skeptical wife and a friend-turned-therapist, mostly exert their influence in the form of off-stage voices and limbs, whose minimal intrusions remain nonetheless highly effective thanks to Jon Haynes’ masterful voice acting. A focused yet flashy use of sound and space pleasurably guides the spectator through the protagonist’s high; a wonderful rollercoaster that takes us into the depths of his trauma but seems to somehow end too abruptly. In fact, the dive into the veteran’s subconscious ultimately does not do much to illuminate his motives or desires, and, most importantly, does not seem to wholly grasp or elucidate the specificities of ecstasy use, if not in an impressionistic manner. We are left craving a little more, something which an extra half hour would have easily provided.

Nonetheless, Ridiculusmus successfully initiate a much needed discussion about taboo topics through an aesthetically satisfying experience, showcasing a potential that could grow into something truly astonishing in the forthcoming and final instalment.

‘Give me your love’ was on at the Battersea Arts Centre 12th January – 30th January 2016. Want to visit future events at Battersea Arts Centre? check out their events calendar.

Federico Barni is studying for an MSc in Science Media Production

Image: Ridiculusmus