June 17, 2016
I slept until 11:30 today! Glorious.
I got up and took high tea with Jonathan and Alexa, read more in detail in Clean Cup, Move Down.
We returned to the hostel and blogged for a while after this before leaving for our afternoon tour of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. This is the longest continually running theater in the world at 353 years. In that time, there have been four separate buildings. Two of them burned down, and one was demolished. The fourth and current theater stands in the same place that it always has, and you are still able to see some of the original parts of theater, such as a piece of wall from the second building, and the tunnels running underneath the stage and out into other parts of London. The first theater was commissioned to the be built in 1663 by King Charles II. This is where he first met the actress Nell Gwynne, who made her debut on the stage in 1665. In its centuries of operation, David Garrick served as manager for over 30 years, an actor was knighted on the premises, a murder took place, and it is now said to be haunted by more than 500 ghosts.
It was a very fun tour. We had two tour guides who dressed up as different people who were important to the theater’s history and tried to get a scare or two out of us. It was all good fun, and we got to see the some of the set for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which is playing there now and closing later this summer.
After the tour, we had about an hour and a half to hang around before heading to our evening show. A group of us went to a pub right across the street from the Theater Royal Drury and chatted for a while. It was quite nice to sit down and get out of the rainy weather.
At 6:30 we departed from Covent Garden and headed towards the Young Vic theater for an evening performance of Blue/Orange. This play consists of three characters: two very unethical psychiatrists, and one undiagnosed schizophrenic patient. For obvious reasons, this play is not at all intended to be a comedy. This audience, however, found it hilarious. This play is enraging to me on several levels.
First, the unethical practices of these two psychiatrists are not something that still exist in the main stream. This makes me question what the playwright’s purposes for writing such a play. Is his statement that this is something that still exists and needs to be changed? Is his statement that there will always be unethical practices in the mental health field and there is no use in trying to change it?
Second, the symptoms that the patient presents are not textbook characteristics of neither borderline personality disorder (which was his original diagnosis), nor schizophrenia. This is not to say that everyone has to be “textbook” in order to be diagnosed. There is a lot of diversity in psychopathology. I just don’t believe that either diagnosis would be correct for this particular character. The fact that these psychiatrists are hell bent on putting a label on him shows that they only have their own interests in mind and care nothing for the well being of the patient.
Third, why does the audience find this funny? Psychopathology is never something to laugh at. To me, laughing at things like this stem from an unawareness of the true facts about psychological disorders, and only leads to the breeding of more stigma.
With all of that being said, I thought the play was presented well. It was done in arena style, which I thought was fitting for this play because the audience is only observing this slice of life. The set and costumes consisted of only two colors: blue and orange. For me, this served to drive home the idea that this scenario is not real. It is unreasonable, and I do hope that this kind of thing doesn’t ever happen again in the field of psychiatry. I left the show angry at the characters, which means that the actors did their job. Maybe this was the playwright’s intent? Inspire anger, and therefore, hopefully, change.
Two more days to go here, and they are both basically free days. Tomorrow I am planning on sleeping in for just a little bit and then going to Brick Lane Market. I have tickets for a matinee show of Mamma Mia, and in the evening we are all going to see Henry V at an open air theater. Chilly.